How to get mental energy and motivation to work out

This time of year, most of us seem to be somewhat sluggish. Crazy busy, of course, with work and family and pets, rush-rush-rush, then at night we can’t wait to drop down to the couch and just zone out.

And all our plans to exercise more, eat healthier or lose weight are abandoned, mostly. With the nagging sense of failure.

I hate it when it happens. I’d like to give you some tips to manage your energy level and positive attitude and keep working towards your new year’s plan.

Choose your friends carefully

In 2010, the United States Air Force Academy decided to figure out why some of their cadets increased their fitness levels during their training, and some don’t, although they all went through the same training.

Well, the difference they found was in the attitude of the least fit person in their training group.

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Source: Val Vesa on Unsplash.com

If the least fit cadet in the group was motivated and eager to improve, his enthusiasm spread to the others as well, and their fitness level increased over the years.

If the least fit cadet, on the other hand, was indifferent or negative, he dragged the whole group down.

Conclusion: choose your friends wisely! Listening to a negative coworker who complains all the time about being chubby but never does anything… It is not only annoying but it can diminish your motivation and slow down your own progress as well.

Conversely, if we look for the company of people who are enthusiastic about their health and work for some similar goals than us, we have a lot better chance to succeed. 😊

Simplify your life

Did you know, that decision-making and self-control uses up tons of mental energy and willpower?

Even if it is just mundane grocery shopping, or deciding what to eat, or resisting those chocolate chips cookies. Those little things waste our energy, and there’s none left for the big stuff that really matters.

One helpful suggestion is to simplify our lives.

This is the reason why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same T-shirt every day. Einstein, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama are all known to wear the same type of clothes all the time, too, for the same reason.

How to eliminate decisions?

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Source: chuttersnap on Unsplash.com

Here’s some examples and ideas.

  • Streamline your wardrobe. Girls can do that, too, even though the examples are more difficult to find!
  • Use a weekly menu. Plan it, shop it, cook it once a week, done, no more decisions on what to eat.
  • Have a daily schedule. Do the same activities around the same time of the day. For example, exercise always at the same time. No decisions plus creates a nice, easy habit. Two birds with one stone.
  • Focus on one area of your life. For example, if you are going through a tough time at work with tons of projects and hard decisions, don’t change your diet. Just skip eating pure sh*t for now, and revise your diet when you can give it your full attention.
  • Cut back on social activities and volunteering if they not related to your BIG GOAL.
  • Stop being a perfectionist about secondary stuff. Let it go. Who cares.

Work with your energy levels

Not only decision-making can deplete our energy. There are night owls and larks, extroverts and introverts, low and high cortisol stress types. It is important to be aware of our natural ups and downs, and deal with them. It will help to stick to our diet, go to the gym, make better choices through-out the day.

  • Schedule your exercise in sync with your energy level.
  • Give yourself a break from people if you are an introvert, or find a way to connect with someone if you are an extrovert.
  • Find the right snack, low in sugar, high in protein, to give you energy when you need it.
  • Low cortisol types, eat breakfast and move a little! These will start your engine better than living on coffee until lunch.

Just do it

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Source: Matias Saw on Unsplash.com

Well, this one is dead simple. Show up.

To quote writer James Clear from the book, “The single greatest skill in any endeavor is doing the work. Not doing the work that is easy for you. Not doing the work that makes you look good. Not doing the work when you feel inspired. Just doing the work.”

And dependably, the fun will come. I will start enjoying my laps although I didn’t feel like getting in the cold pool on a freezing winter day… And I will start enjoying my run, although I was dragging my feet out of the house first, purely out of habit.

You don’t have to be super-women all the time. Sometimes just doing the bare minimum is all we can manage.

As long as you move 15 minutes, you did enough for today, girl.

So don’t wait for the best mood. Just go and do the workout. You’ll be so proud and happily tired when you are done. 😊

Don’t beat yourself up

I was listening to my health coaching teacher the other day. She talked about how we feel we should do this, should do that, but sometimes we cannot. We are dead tired, totally drained after the days’ work, and kids and all that. And then we beat ourselves up for not having enough will-power, not being strong, not being good enough.

Sounds familiar? I know that every single woman I know tells this to herself.

If you are hard on yourself like this, too, I want you to stop it. Now.

You are doing your best. You have a lot on your plate. Give yourself credit for the work you did already today.

And for tomorrow, you can pick an idea from this post and try it.

Maybe it saves you enough energy to take a baby step toward your goal.

Take care,

Livia

Resources

Stulbers, Brad; Magness, Steve: Peak performance