Desperate Measures – Mind Tricks for Motivation Meltdowns
You know the times. You get home from work late or the alarm squawks at you way too early. You feel tired, sluggish, and certainly in no mood to train.
No fear. Thanks to these tips, you will now be able to conquer the slumps that every single athlete has to battle.
Here’s the plan:
1. Do the warm up, then decide. I never make a call on a session until I have done the warm up. Once that initial bout of oxygen hits your muscles, you normally feel a whole tonne better. Starting is often the hardest part! So tell yourself it’s just 5 minutes, and keep that as your first and only goal to start with.
2. Baby steps. Tell yourself that you're going to just do 5 more minutes or 1 more set. Promise yourself that after that you can either A) stop or B) keep going. When you reach that mini-milestone, your brain will register a feeling of achievement, and release a small amount of the feel-good chemical dopamine. Once that’s in place, there’s a good chance you may decide on another 5 minutes…
3. Tell the world. Not really feeling it? Then take to social media! Once you’ve stated to your friends that you’re going to do something, you’ll feel inclined to do it. Simple, but very effective. To keep your pages cool and hip, you may not wish to post every workout – but desperate times call for desperate measures.
4. Strike a deal. Especially effective in hard sessions. When you’re struggling to really push as you should, make the deal. Either you work really hard and get the session done in good time, or you add some time/reps. The motivation for getting a session done quicker can provide an immediate performance boost.
5. Use imagery. There is a big difference between wanting something and being prepared to go and get it. It’s a great idea to have a few images of your end goal stuck to a wall or in a book, that you can pull out to help refocus when your mind goes off-kilter. Staying consistent is the only way.
6. Power words. Make positive statements continually. Negative thinking is common; everyone has those inner demons. Become aware of these thoughts early on. Don't fight with them; simply acknowledge their presence, and then substitute positive power words. When you're thinking: "I can’t do it", actually say out loud to yourself “I can" and you’ll find there’s a small switch-around in your mind. It’s so simple, to the point of sounding absurd, but it really can work.
Rack up these small wins, and you’ll find working out when you don’t want to just became a whole lot easier.