Re-Igniting Motivation

I’ve been thinking about motivation a lot lately. Mostly because I’m lacking it. Do you ever have days where life feels like one big obstacle course? Maybe it’s just par for the course when you’re in the throws of raising little ones, but distracted is way too common a feeling I have right now and I can’t seem to pray my way out of it. As I refuse to become one of those grinches who finds life to be one inconvenience after another, I am working on finding my motivation and focus once again.

My search has caused me to consider the several kinds of motivation—in hopes of reviving my excitement for exercise.  However, it’s becoming clear that ‘motivation’ is a fluid stimulus that needs to be evaluated and reconsidered every few months. At least.

What may have motivated you three years ago, three months ago, and even three weeks ago, may not motivate you anymore.

We all know the common types of motivation include:

  • An event with a specific date (wedding, birthday, reunion, vacation, etc.)
  • Health scare
  • Post-partem/wanting pre-baby body back
  • Lifestyle change

But, if you’re like me, once you’ve been dedicated to a healthy lifestyle for awhile, and are starting to grow bored of the same-old same-old, where can one get motivation?

I’ve been asked a few times in the past week why I’m not posting that much on Instagram or my blog lately, and the truth be told, is it’s all so redundant I don’t want to bore you too! I eat the same clean things. I do the same circuit at the gym. I’m still taking Zumba. The number on the scale still says the same. exact. thing. YAWN!

That’s not to downplay how successful one should feel when they’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but even the most regimented healthy routine needs new life breathed into it. 

What are some ways to re-ignite motivation? This may be biased, but I think trying to re-motivate takes deeper soul searching and effort than the initial trigger that launched a healthy lifestyle. When you’re starting for the first time, everything is new and exciting. But when you’re just trying to maintain or lose 5 lbs or less, it gets monotonous. So here are some ideas for finding new motivation:

  1. Find a WHO —  Find a group exercise instructor, personal trainer, or a friend who not only pushes you to higher limits but who, most importantly, makes you feel good about yourself. Consistently take their classes or sign up for one-on-one PT sessions. When it’s someone you admire, you’re less likely to skip your workout with them. 
    • Maybe you’re the type who needs to be yelled at a la Jillian Michaels, in order to be motivated. Or you need a more tender approach. Maybe appearance plays a part too. For example, I’ve recently discovered that I am NOT motivated by the group exercise instructor who looks perfect all. the. time. You know the type…the one who is always done up with makeup and a ponytail that somehow looks fancy. Who has on size 2 running tights and an equally form-fitting top where there’s not a wrinkle or skin fold to be seen. It’s not that I’m discriminating against naturally thin, fit people, nor am I ridiculously suggesting they can’t be good teachers, but for me, in the midst of a class, it makes me feel bad about myself. And that’s not what working out is supposed to be! It’s supposed to be empowering! I’m finding that it’s the strong, size-10-but-all-solid-muscle beauties are the ones who best rock my fitness world because that feels achievable for my body. So WHO motives YOU? 
  2. Try a New Class— Mix up your routine and try a completely new format or genre of fitness. Better yet, try one that scares you.
    • I recently tried Les Mills’ BodyCombat for the first time. It’s a combination of martial arts, kickboxing, and, for lack of a better word, kicking ass. Literally. You beat up an imaginary person in front of you the entire time. Now that I’ve been to that class a couple times, it’s opened up a whole different genre of exercise to me. It was also a great reminder that in the majority of fitness classes you can expect to see an entire spectrum of fitness levels represented. And most people are way too fixated on themselves to even notice how many times you’ve messed up.
  3. Learn The Machines — The reason the cardio machines are so popular is because they’re the simplest to use. Strength training with free weights or resistance machines can actually result in a bigger weight loss than cardio, so try something new next time you’re at the gym. 
    • Did you know you can simply ask a trainer or someone at the fitness desk how to use a machine and they will show you? I always assumed that would be considered a personal training session, but gyms are required to provide that service for free. It only becomes ‘personal training’ once you start asking for a program to follow, or how many reps you should do. At the gym I work at, those working at the fitness desk LOVE showing people how to use the equipment because it means less time folding towels!
  4. Switch Gyms (or buy a new DVD if you’re not a member)  — Sometimes just a change of scenery is all you need to get excited again.
    • You could even go tour another gym just to compare. Sometimes when we see what else is out there, it makes us appreciate what we have even more. Or maybe you’ll discover that there are better amenities, staff, and motivation elsewhere.
  5. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone! — What scares you? What have you seen people do—whether on Extreme Weightloss, on Facebook, or in-person at the gym—that makes you think you could never do that? 
    • When I recently asked a friend how she has such amazing shoulders and strong, lean arms I was all prepared to hear her say “BodyPump” or “kettlebells” but instead she said “swimming laps.” Learning to really swim is on my list of things I want to do, but I’m nervous! It’s not that I couldn’t swim to save someone in a pool in an emergency, but to actually jump in a lane pool and swim laps (other than the doggie paddle) is intimidating to me. BUT just think of the rewards, not just in body, that overcoming a fitness fear would reap!
  6. Find a New WHY — Maybe your impending 30th birthday was your original motivation, but now that that’s long since past you’ve forgotten why you’re eating clean and working out. It’s time to come up with a new why. Why do you want to continue working out? Why have you kept going? Why will you KEEP going? 

How do you re-ignite your motivation? 




Meridith Oram
Meridith Oram is an ACE-Certified Health Coach at Love Yourself Towards Healthy where she helps women heal their relationship with food, fitness and body image. She is also the creator of Gain Wellness, a 5-week behavioral change program to unlearn diet culture, stop negative self-talk and set wellness goals---not appearance goals. Follow Meridith at @loveyourself2healthy on all social channels.

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