Do you know what Monday Fever is?
It’s a term a friend of mine and I came up with that describes that initial rush of excitement and enthusiasm you get from saying you’re going to restart your fitness goals come Monday.
I tease her about her Monday Fever all the time.
That saying of “Monday I’m going to start again, and this time…THIS TIME I’m gonna be disciplined and stick with it no matter what!“
Yeah. That’s what Monday Fever is.
That intensity you feel as you swear to yourself once again that you’re going to commit and stick with your fitness goals this time.
I know there are many people out there who struggle to stick with their fitness goals, I know I did for 21 years.
It’s very easy to get frustrated, fed up, and lose your motivation when you aren’t seeing the immediate results, or at the very least see the progress you’re after. This is why I never advise relying on motivation to stick with your workout routine. It’s based too much on how you feel, and most times you won’t feel like working out.
Watching a fitness video on Youtube, scrolling through other trainers you admire on Facebook, or looking on fit and toned men and women on Instagram isn’t going to help either. These are all based on emotion as well, hoping you feel inspired to get up and do something.
This isn’t me bashing you. I just want to help you gain greater clarity so you no longer try to rely on external factors to help you start, stick with, and in this case restart your workout routine.
Your success or failure is solely up to you. Always look internally for the way.
This is why I focus a lot on the psychology of how to stick with your workout routine.
The good news is I can not only empathize with you because I’ve been there, but I can also help you. Even though I’ve been pretty consistent and disciplined with sticking to my own routine in the 12 months, I’m still human too. That means I’ve also had to restart a few times myself.
Why Restarting Your Workout Routine Seems Hard Without Motivation
Before i get into how to restart, let me first help you understand why it may have been challenging for you to restart. This is important because your psychology or mental state plays a bigger part, and influences whether or not you’re able to restart your workout routine.
1. Thinking you have to restart where you left off
There’s nothing scarier than the thought of how far you’ve come, stopped, and then thinking how much work you’re going to have to put in to get back to where you were.
If you’ve only been consistent for a week or two then restarting may not seem like a big deal. However, if you’ve been consistent for a year or two, or even a month or two, then things start to get interesting.
What your brain is going to do is focus on the amount of work that you’re going to have to put in from the start to get back to where you left off when you stopped. It’s going to get overwhelmed by the thought of doing all that work from the get go. It will now associate pain with working out, and so it creates greater resistance for you to follow through.
As far as your brain is concerned this is painful, and it needs to ‘protect’ you from that pain.
2. Thinking you won’t get any results as before so it’s pointless
Maybe you were being consistent with your workout routine, but you weren’t seeing immediate results, and for some reason you stopped.
The thought of restarting again, especially after you weren’t seeing results can be troubling.
This creates feelings of doubt about yourself and doubting the process.
We build belief through small wins (small results). This let’s our subconscious feel and know we’re on the right path. Therefore, if you didn’t see results before you stopped, then it’s very easy for you to interpret and assume that you wont see results after restarting.
3. Remembering the pain of your workout
As mentioned when our brains link working out with pain then it will resistance wanting to follow through and do it, which makes it harder on us.
One of the reasons why you may feel a bit scared, or at the very least intimidated to restart your workout routine is because you’re remembering how painful it was for you before.
If something causes you pain, or is perceived by your brain that way, you can see why being super anxious to jump right back in may not seem so likely for you.
Why would you want to get back into something that’s causing you pain right?
4. Afraid that you’ll fail again
Raise your hand if you ever failed…at anything?
I’m 100% positive your hand is raised now, whether for real or in your mind.
We’ve all failed in something at one point or another in our lives. This creates feelings of doubting ourselves, and that we’re not good enough.
In this case if you’ve failed to stick with it before, it creates a negative image of your self, which lowers your self -esteem and self-confidence. This now creates specific identity in this area of your life that you now begin to see yourself as. In this case it’s being a failure at working out.
The experience of these negative feelings creates a fear of failing, and with that fear comes the perceived pain that comes with failure of pretty much feeling like crap all over again.
Since you dont want to have to experience these feelings again, the first thought is to not go through with restarting.
5. Feeling overwhelmed by too much information
I’ve realized this is a really big one for most people when it comes to their workout routine and goals.
Because there’s so much information out there as to what to do and what not to do, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and go into what’s known as paralysis by overanalysis.
This happens when you consume so much information, that it keeps you from starting (or restarting), because you just don’t know what you should do first.
The scary part happens because you go into perfectionist mode, where you don’t want to fail, make a mistake or mess up. You want to be able to get it right the first time and not feel like you wasted your time doing something that won’t work.
The irony of this is the only way to figure out what’s the best workout routine or diet plan for you is by doing more than researching.
5 Steps to Restarting Your Workout Routine After Losing Motivation
Now that you know what may prevent you from restarting your workout routine from a psychological angle, now let’s actually go through the steps of how to do it without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by the process.
1. Think about how you will benefit by restarting
The first thing you want to do before even getting back to it is think about the benefits of the end result you’re after, and why those benefits are important to you.
This is important because focus creates emotions.
What I mean by focus creates emotions is that what you focus on will determine the emotions you feel, whether pain or pleasure, fear or courage.
Therefore if focusing on pain makes your brain resist, then it’s only logical that thinking of the benefits, and the pleasure you will feel from those benefits will have the opposite effect. Meaning instead of your brain resisting, your brain now becomes a bit more willing to follow through with it.
The key to this is you want to make it as easy as possible for your brain to go along with it. Think of it as trying to get your kids to clean their rooms, or your team to feel motivated to work, or getting your spouse to agree to what car to buy, or trying to convince a client to choose your product. If you can show the benefit it’s much more likely for you to get the behaviour and desired outcomes you’re after.
Your brain is no different.
2. Set the Standard & Expectation
This is VERY important! If it’s not at the top of the 5, it comes in at a very close second.
When I say set the Standard and Expectation I mean a). What standard are you committed to live by where your workout routine is concerned and unwilling to compromise, and b). What will you expect from yourself in terms of taking action, sticking with it, and following through?
By setting the standard for yourself (and committing to it), it reduces the chances of making excuses when you don’t feel like following through. Then if your expectation for yourself is to to follow through every day on this commitment, you start the process of training your mind to always follow through.
It’s a way for you to let your subconscious mind know what you expect of it (and yourself) when the time comes to execute. This lessens the exhaustion of decision making, which decreases the chances of your brain resisting, increasing the chances of you following through.
3. Decide to Do something before the day ends
Now that you’ve identified the benefits, why they’re important to you, and the standard you’ve set to follow through on, now you have to make a decision to get it done before the day ends.
This is important. Going back to following through on the standard set, and what you expect of yourself in this situation, it’s not enough just to say you’re going to do it, you have to decide to. A real decision is made based on the fact you’ve actually taken action.
The reason why it’s key to get it done before the day ends is the longer you wait to follow through on your commitment and take action, the less likely it is that you’re going to get it done. The reverse is also true about getting it done asap.
A good way to ensure you get it done is to think about what you typically do at the end of your day that you enjoy doing. Whether it’s watching tv, having a drink, or spending time with your family. Now decide that you won’t allow yourself to do any of these activities you like until your workout routine is done. This ensures there’s a consequence or pain attached to not getting it done.
By the way…
Realize that we’re at Step 3 of the 5 steps and I haven’t mentioned anything about actually doing the routine. This is because sticking with your workout routines is 90% psychology (the mind) and 10% practicality (the doing or action). So we have to take care of the 90% first, to mentally prepare you, and ensure you follow through and stick with the 10% once you restart.
4. Start small and simple
Now that we’ve gone through the mental, now let’s talk about the actual doing.
When restarting it’s important to never push yourself to do too much too soon, or try to get yourself back to the level you left off. I know you’re anxious to get back where you were. However, if you push yourself beyond what your brain is ready for, then your brain will automatically begin to link working out with pain, and as discussed it will resist and push back.
Understand the psychology of how this works. By starting small and simple it ensures that you slowly work your brain back into becoming accustomed with the routine.
The challenge isn’t that your body may not be ready or willing. The challenge is your mind, the 90% may not be. Take care of the mind first and everything else falls into place.
5. Commit to never missing a day
Finally, you have to commit to never missing a day.
By focusing more on following through on the daily routine of working out, rather than the results, it makes restarting easier.
Going back to what was mentioned earlier. One of the reasons why restarting seems so scary and hard is because you’re thinking you wont get results. This creates feelings of overwhelm.
However, if you’re focused on the routine, and celebrating yourself for taking action each time, it minimizes feelings of overwhelm, and increases feelings of enthusiasm.
This increased feeling of enthusiasm, means your brain now sees working out as pleasurable, and therefore more willing to follow through.
Additionally, never missing a day also creates feelings of pride and accomplishment in yourself, which increase your self-esteem and self-confidence.
In other words never missing a day creates positive emotions, and positive emotions make you feel good, which creates the desire of wanting to follow through.
It’s important to also understand that results comes with CONSISTENCY in taking daily action.
The best way to ensure that you are consistent and stick with the routine and daily activity long enough to start seeing results is by focusing on never missing a day.
Even without motivation it’s possible to restart and stick with your workout routine. I’m putting together a free guide to help you restart your workout routine to achieve your fitness goals, even if you’ve loss your motivation.
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