It’s true that the last mile is always the hardest. Hands down this past two weeks of uni have been very difficult for me in terms of my motivation. I am a very motivated person, but something is happening in these last couple of weeks – and I know for a fact by the memes people are sharing on social media that I’m not the only one! :’)
I’m hoping this post will also be relevant to those of you who are close to completing something that you’ve been working hard on, or that you’re looking forward to finishing. Below are a few of the things that I think about when my motivation is running at an all time low!
Don’t let your effort be for nothing.
You’ve worked so hard for this, so don’t even think about taking your foot off the gas pedal because of the way you’re feeling currently. I’m a big believer in living life with no regrets – so don’t regret your lack of hard work in the lead up to something great. You may feel tired, you may feel drained, but these are all temporary feelings which will soon be over. Don’t wish that you had of worked harder.
2) It will all be over soon.
Within no time this will all be completed, you would have achieved something great, and how you feel now will be a distant memory. Bare this in mind, you’re so close to completing something great, its a matter of short-term pain for long-term gain. I find it also helps to think about how you will feel once it is all over, use this feeling to get you to the finish line!
3) Keep sight of where you want to be.
On a beach living the free life, please 😉 The only thing that is going to get you there is your present self. Work hard now, and your future-self will thank you later. Nothing worth having comes easy, so put in the effort now. Remember why you started in the first place – you’re closer than you’ve ever been to achieving this.
Keep pushing, because now is not the time to stop…
Probably one of the most important blog posts that I’ve written, and I think this is something that needs to be said. Along with the fitness lifestyle comes the association that those who dedicate themselves to living this way, are self-centered, self-obsessed, and vain. Here’s why this simply isn’t the case.
First of all, I feel that there are far worse things that someone can dedicate their time to, and a healthy lifestyle is by no means one! This lifestyle is seriously misunderstood, and although it may appear that going to the gym frequently, being mindful of what you eat, and generally investing time in your own health and wellbeing, is ‘self-obsessed’, I question if this really is the case? Arguably, a healthy lifestyle is time-consuming and requires a degree of focus, but I don’t feel this warrants a person being considered ‘self-obsessed’ for trying to become a better version of themself. This to me is a fault in our society, that we feel the need to comment on another’s healthy lifestyle just because it is different to our own.
Having taken my fitness and health seriously in the past two years I have seen first-hand the benefits it can bring to your life, not only do you feel physically energised, stronger, and fitter, but I feel this way of life does wonders for your mental health. Exercise is a proven way to help better manage stress levels, it can also act as a distraction from anxious feelings as during your workout you are essentially practicing mindfulness by focusing on the present and forgetting about any worries.
However, in truth, I think the stereo-type manifests from what people see online, and by this, I mean certain Instagram accounts. Admittedly, Instagram is full of ‘progress pictures’ posted by fitness influencers and accounts, which involve sharing the physical progress that someone has made. This is where I feel confidence gets confused with arrogance. I understand the importance of progress pictures as, depending on your fitness goal, the scales only show an increase due to the muscle mass gained (especailly if you are into weightlifting). Therefore, progress pictures make a great solution for this as they give you a physical reference to compare against to see how you are doing in relation to your goals. Moreover, when you live, eat, and breathe this lifestyle it can be very hard to notice your own progress as often we can become so fixated on a goal that we forget to recognise the milestones that we have passed. Below are two progress pictures that I took. The righthand picture was taken in my first year of university, and the lefthand picture was taken towards the end of my second year. If I didn’t take these two pictures, I wouldn’t have recognised just how much my body has changed over the past two years.
Personally, I see no wrong in sharing your achievements through progress pictures when it comes to fitness, as it is so much more than an ‘arrogant’ picture, it’s symbolic of the hours of time and effort that someone has put into this lifestyle, and this should only be encouraged.
I guess the main point of this post was to give an insight into the level of commitment required to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I feel this dedication should only be encouraged rather than tarnished as arrogant and self-obsessed.
I think we have all experienced a time where motivation levels reach an all-time low. A lack of motivation can make you feel so far from your goals, but this is most certainly not the case and a simple change in your outlook can help almost immediately. Hopefully, this post will help you to get out of a motivation rut, and back to feeling unstoppable.
It is okay to feel unmotivated. I think when people feel unmotivated they fixate on this rather than the solution, or cause, but change how you choose to view your lack of motivation can easily overcome this feeling. Try and think if there is anything that might be directly affecting your level of motivation e.g, work stress, life changes, tiredness, no matter how big or small, any reason is valid. However, it may also be the case that you can’t think of anything that is negatively affecting your motivational drive, and again this is fine – motivation is not constant, and thank goodness not too, as we’d all be exhausted! It may be the last thing you want to do to try and rebuild your motivation, but to have a break from the gym, and thinking about fitness/goals can be the best thing. This time out will allow for you to feel refreshed, and ready to smash some fitness goals!
2) Change your workout routine
Often, when we get settled into a fitness routine, it is very easy to become complacent. Ironically, comfort zones can be dangerous places! If you’re doing the same workouts day, in day out, it is inevitable that your motivation will decrease. Not only will this cause mental complacency, but your body will stop responding the way it used to, as it also becomes used to the same routine. You will notice the benefits of mixing up your workouts as the body responds best when it is challenged. There are so many ways to change the way you workout such as training with a friend, trying a new workout, even changing the time you normally train can make a difference.
3) Setting realistic goals
Having a goal to work towards increases my motivation so much! Make the goal specific to you, and really focus on achieving this. The goal can be anything from a new personal best, to simply going to the gym a certain amount of times in a week. It is also important that the goals you set are achievable whilst still have an element of challenge to them. Fitness journals are a great way to record your progress, goals, and achievements, as it can be so easy to forget how far we’ve come!
4) Reward yourself
Closely related to setting goals is rewarding yourself when you achieve them! All work and no play is most definitely not fun, so when you reach a goal, give yourself a reward. My reward always seems to be new gym leggings, you can never have enough :’)
4) Take it back to the beginning
What made you start your fitness journey? How motivated did you feel when you first started getting into fitness? It’s about rekindling that initial drive that got you started and reminding yourself exactly why you do what you do. For me, I always try and be the best version of myself that I can, when I workout it’s a celebration of what my body can do!
Thank you for reading, and I hope this post has helped you in some way,
For me going on holiday involves relaxing, exploring and enjoying all things food. I Have not long returned from a lovely holiday to Gran Canaria, where I most certainly did all of the above! However, often the hardest thing is about finding the balance between staying healthy/maintaining your progress whilst also enjoying and indulging in all things food and culture.
For me, the key to finding this balance is in fact quite simple: take things back to their basics! This applies to many things such as exercise, food, treats, sleep, and relaxation. If this balance is achieved you’ll have one feel-good holiday. For example, I ensured I ate good food, went for lots of strolls (even if that was only to the shop to get some chocci ;)) had a good nights sleep, and importantly allowed some time to chill. I will be sharing with you my tips on how to have a great holiday and feel on top of your game at the same time.
Healthy airport snacks
I love the buzz of the airport. For me, the holiday starts as soon as I’m in the airport. This is the time that I’ll buy my snacks for the plane because who doesn’t love snacking on the plane?! Typically I’ll buy a protein bar, a packet of nuts and a small sweet something, this way you’re less tempted to fall for the sugar-filled plane snacks. To the right are a few of the snacks I purchased.
Be as active as possible
By this, I don’t mean spending hours in the hotel gym (because let’s face hotel gyms can be seriously hit or miss 😂) or even going for a 5 mile jog. I’m talking about making smaller changes such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to the nearest beach or having a stroll around the local area. It just so happens that there was a massive hill (called Lomo de Tabaibales) near my hotel which of course I had to walk up, and I’m so glad I did as the views were stunning…even if it was in unpractical pretty sandals. I love going for a morning or evening walk as I find it really relaxing, and it encourages mindfulness – something we could all focus on more.
If you look closely, you’ll see the cross!
Plenty of good foods
Firstly I’ll visit the local supermarket to buy my essentials and to see what foods are available. Then I’ll do a rough plan of dinners that are full of micronutrients, protein, carbs etc. I don’t plan lunches or breakfast as I like to eat what I fancy on holiday, but I find planning dinner helps me to reach my macros. For example, some meals that I cooked this holiday include tuna and wholemeal spaghetti with olives, noodles with sardines, tomatoes and chickpeas, and a chickpea and egg Buddha bowl.
An example of some of the foods I purchased once I had completed my meal plan.
For an all-inclusive holiday, the temptation can be a lot harder when it comes to meal times what with the never-ending buffet full of yummy desserts…so tempting! For breakfast I’ll go for foods high in good fats and protein, and also carbs e.g scrambled eggs on toast with an avocado or oats with some fruit. For lunch and dinner I will always put my side salad on my plate first, then find a healthy protein source and some carbs, and of course, if there is a dessert I like, I’ll have it (in moderation!)
Below are some of the dinners I had whilst on my holiday:
potatoes with mackerel in tomato sauce, with olives and tomato slices.
An egg and chickpea salad.
Sardines with noodles, chickpeas, tomatoes and olives.
Pack a few things from home
As I know my protein intake tends to be lower on holiday, I pack some of my favourite protein bars from Grenade and Fulfill, which you can also buy from the airport. Also, instant oat pots such as those from ‘Oomf’ are great for a protein boost. Another thing I’ll pack are mini bags of salt, pepper, and other spices/ herbs to really add flavour to any food that I cook.
Oomf protein porridge pots are the perfect size to pack in your suitcase.
A selection of protein bars that I also packed.
Eat healthily, try to be active, and make time for you to unwind. Ultimately you’re on holiday, so of course, you have to indulge in a few drinks and nice food, but the key is to balance this out by making healthier choices elsewhere. Your progress and hard work will not be ruined over the duration of your holiday, in fact, you’ll probably return feeling full of energy and ready to smash some more personal bests!
I hope this blog post has proved that you can have your cake and eat it…quite literally 😉