One of the biggest complaints I hear from my friends is that they find it very difficult to stay motivated and hit the gym on a regular basis. If that sounds familiar, you are not alone. Getting motivated is the easy part; staying motivated is where the difficulty comes in for 99% of new muscle builders.
It’s All About Maintaining Good Habits
You ever hear the saying “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going”? Well there’s more to that saying than just a cheesy feel good line. There is some real wisdom behind that saying.
Every New Year, the whole world gets motivated and decides that this is the year they will change their physiques. A few weeks later that motivation has fled and the gym has returned to normal for another year. This is because going to the gym is more than just being pumped up and excited to go; it’s about developing a habit.
There comes a certain point in your fitness life that staying motivated is no longer a problem. If you make the effort to go to the gym every day, it will eventually become a habit like any other habit you have. For most people, it takes a long time to develop habits because they don’t know how.
How to Develop And Maintain Healthy Habits
There are a couple of tricks you can use to develop healthy habits. One of the first tricks I always recommend is to just get tougher! Get your ass in the gym and stop making stupid excuses. There is always time for the gym; anything else you tell yourself is a big load of steaming horse doo-doo.
If Arnold Schwarzenegger found time to work out while serving 18 hours a day as an Austrian army tank driver in 1965, you can find time on your way home from the office.
Now that we have that out of the way, here are a couple of actual tips for developing healthy habits:
1. Be consistent
In the early stages of forming a habit, consistency is vital. Try your hardest to go to the gym at the same time every day and eat at the same times every day. This will get your body used to the routine that it craves.
2. Don’t do it all at once
Don’t try to go on a crazy new diet, start waking up early, going to the gym every day and stop smoking all at once. Take it one thing at a time so you can actually stick with your new routine. That way a single misstep won’t screw up your fragile new lifestyle.
3. Get back on the horse every time you fall off
No matter how bad you mess up, get back on the horse. In my personal experience, this single tip right here was the most important thing in the world. No matter how many times I messed up, I didn’t just give up. I always got right back on the horse and went back to my routine as if nothing had happened.
For example, if you go on a long Thanksgiving break, gain 10 pounds of pure flab and then come back to reality and feel terrible about it, do not give up! Giving up is complete and utter defeat. If you get back on the horse gain, you will be back on the right track and feeling good in no time.
I had to get back on the horse dozens of times before I finally got as serious about muscle building as I am now. I have gone from working out every day for a year to skipping the gym for six months straight and drinking three times a week. But the one thing that saved me from a life of fitness mediocrity was the willingness to get back up and do it again and again. Eventually, the habits just stuck on their own.
Eventually It All Comes Together
At some point, your entire workout routine will become just another habit. Instead of getting up and taking a smoke break or going to McDonalds like the average person, it will just be ingrained in your body and mind to eat something light and go to the gym.
It seems like it takes forever to get to this point, but I promise you that you are 100% capable of getting there. And take heart in the knowledge that it won’t be a complete grind until you get there. You will have a lot of motivation along the way as you see results, receive compliments and generally feel better about your health.
So to sum it up: be consistent, add one new good habit at a time and get back on the horse every time you fall off. Eventually, every good habit you have ever wanted will actually become a part of your life. One day in the near future, you will find it harder to skip workouts than to complete them.