As we celebrate 10 incredible years of Xtending our limits and reaching into our challenge zones, I thought I would share with you some motivation for staying engaged in your progress and focused on consistency, to achieve whatever goals are next for you!
I get health and fitness related questions on a wide variety of topics daily, and I thrive on sharing what’s worked for me, and offering insights in the spirit of spreading wellness. The question I get asked the most is, “How do I stay motivated?”
Motivation can certainly be a tricky and complicated thing. I see it as a perpetual cycle that begins with what I call, just “pressing play”.
Here is how I boil it down
Motivation comes from doing the hard things, which leads to results, which generates motivation. In other words, the cycle doesn’t begin with motivation, it begins with simply doing, or “pressing play.”
Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active stimulation that produces momentum. Think of it as Newton’s First Law applied to habit formation: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Once you press play, it’s easier to continue moving forward.
The good news is, you have the power to create your own mindset to press play. But of course, sometimes that takes a little nudge, something we are great at helping with at Xtend Barre.
To be clear, there are days or times when I find it daunting to do the hard stuff. I don’t wake up every day ready to hit the ground running. But I do wake up every day with the want and desire, with the grit and determination to do what’s right – for me, for others, and for my body. I think most people generally want to spend their time in a way that’s productive, and creates movement toward being the best version of themselves. Sometimes, it just takes tapping into that desire and grit to stir up the energy to “do.”
To that end, I want to share with you some things that have worked for me, in hopes that you can find some golden nuggets.
Here are 10 ways to press play!
1. Decide to Abolish Negative Self-Talk
There is no place for negative self-talk when it comes to moving toward a goal, and it is 100% within your control to shift those thoughts toward positive ones. When thoughts creep in such as, “This seems too daunting,” or “Can I be bothered with that PIlates or Barre class” or “I am not up for this and might not succeed,” simply stop and turn them around. You decide what you think and what you tell yourself. You can be your own worst critic, or your own best cheerleader. Choose cheerleader!
2. Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Tap into the words that resonate with you and inspire you, and say them out loud. Tell yourself that you can do it and you will do it. That you believe in you. That you are fully worthy of this goal and wholly able to achieve it. I use a great app called “Think Up”, which helps you to create self-motivation pep talks… and helps you to think up!
3. Break It Down
Looking at an aspiration you’ve set for yourself can seem daunting and exhausting. It can wipe you out before you start. What works for me every time, is to break it down into bites. Identify one,two or three things you know you can do today, to move toward your goal and execute. Get them done, be proud, then go to bed and do it again tomorrow. I personally always try and include a Barre class.
4. Perpetuate the Positive
Along the way there will be dips in motivation, and the negative self talk can sneak right in. One creative and simple hack you can do to avoid this is to be prepared to perpetuate the positive! Prepare your positive thoughts on a simple message on your phone, or a sheet of paper next to your bed, or that you carry with you throughout the day. Even a sticky note on the mirror. Whatever works for you. Just keep pushing toward positive.
5. Write a Mission Statement for Yourself
Taking this notion one step further, create a simple paragraph or two, encapsulating where you want to go, why, and how you will get there, can act as a simple agreement with yourself. Writing something down gives it weight and significance. Make a deal with yourself and sign it, knowing you have to stick to your end of the deal.
6. Create a Vision Board
When you form something clear and concrete in your mind and can visualize it, it feels more real and attainable. Creating a vision board can be very effective. It can help you to form an emotional connection with your goal, and a visual inspiration to refer back to.
7. Try the 5,6,7,8 Method
As a dancer, we were always taught to prepare for movement both mentally and physically, with the simple phrase of 5,6,7,8… this was four seconds of preparing to move at your most full out, optimal level and it left very little room for over-thinking or self-doubt. So, the next time you find yourself falling into that over-thinking mindset, just say “5,6,7,8” and get MOVING! Whether it is an Xtend Barre class, Xtend Pilates, Circuit class or one of the many other classes on offer to transform your body and your world.
8. Stretch it Out
Stretching is not only a wonderful way to improve your flexibility and mobility, it’s also a fantastic way to shift your energy and get your body into a mood of movement. On the days you just don’t feel like working out, start with just a few minutes of stretching. After 5 minutes of stretching, you are more likely to want to gear up and get to the studio or press play on your Xtend @home class! Our signature Xtend program includes Stretch or Yoga classes to stretch it out!
9. Team Up
We all know how much more fun things are when we are surrounded by friends. The same goes for working out. Not only will a friend provide more support during your workout, you can hold each other accountable and help one another stick to your goals. I highly encourage you to team up with someone who you know will push you and help you to be at your best and stay consistent!
10. Affirm Your Success – say it out loud
I am a big believer in putting things out into the world and creating positive future thoughts to affirm your success. This can be as simple as writing in a journal or typing out an affirmation that you put in multiple places around your home. Focus on digging into the emotion you will experience once you have accomplished your goal… believe it will happen, visualize it, affirm it in writing, then go work your derriere off to get it! At Xtend we believe our classes will open, strengthen and tone your total body, refresh your mind, and release our ‘soul’.
Above all, know that motivation is very fluid. Some days or moments are easier to press play than others. Life is a constant balance between the ease of giving in and the challenge of finding the discipline to move forward. The moment you don’t feel like doing the work, is a challenge to be accepted. Acknowledge it and try out the tips I’ve outlined here to refresh your mindset and enjoy the ride. These tips should help you in keeping your body’n soul performing to the max – making you feel strong, energised, ‘beautiful’ and ready for anything. Understanding and working through the Motivation Cycle only makes you stronger to face the next goal!