Motivation 101

There are a lot of barriers to a winning exercise mentality, none more so than the ones that come from your own mind. Self motivation is challenging at best, we meet roadblocks that leave us asking: ‘why didn’t I workout all week?, ‘how did I miss that shot?’, ‘why did I quit during spin class?’.

Use these psych tricks to turn negative thoughts on their head and unlock your winning mindset. Failure is no longer an option.


Stop trying to multitask: Your brain is designed to focus on one activity at a time. Working through your ideas for the morning meeting on the treadmill is all well and good, but if your goal is performance, and not relaxation, you need to pay attention.

Did I really earn a tick: Forget your to-do list, excellence should be your end goal. Write: ‘I will push myself for another kilometer after the pain barrier,’ or ‘find two more reps after failure.’ When you achieve it, tick it off a list. ‘Good enough’ isn’t enough.

Success is sure if I endure: ‘Our biggest excuse for not signing up for races and challenges is anxiety about the event itself. But your performance is dictated by the weeks of consistent effort, not just what happens on the big day,’ says Mark Beaumont, record-breaking cyclist. Commit to training and finish-line glory will duly follow.

Health is a must: Training isn’t a selfish use of your time. Your wealth, job, family and happiness all depend on your well-being. Exercise isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Treat training as integral to the rest of your ambitions and you’ll be less likely to cut it from your schedule.

Name the pain: Negative emotions release the stress hormone cortisol, which can increase fat storage. By labeling the feeling, you can reduce the intensity of it and refocus on your goals. Do you feel angry? Fine. Recognise this and channel the emotion into your workout.

I am a chooser: Avoid categorising yourself as either a winner or a loser. Instead you should think of yourself as a chooser. The word affirms that you alone are the master of your destiny. If you’re flagging at the gym, remember that you made the choice to get fitter. What’s more, should you decide to quit, you’ve made the choice to deny yourself your goal.

Get your revenge: Remember that teacher that said you’d never amount to anything? Or the ex who humiliated you? Revenge can be a great tool. But you don’t have to set out to hunt down your adversary; remember them, then rise above them.

So what if I couldn’t: Bear with us here: Imagine yourself in a wheelchair. Consider the loss you would feel if you weren’t able to exercise. Awareness of your good fortune helps you pit more into your training.

Everything is my fault: You have a choice, be excellent or make excuses, you can’t do both. Champions take ownership of their training. Instead of complaining about the weather of bad luck, they look for ways to deal with it. It’s not the situation that counts, but the way you react to it.


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