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Have you lost your motivation and fitness, and how we get it back?

Motivation is an incredibly challenging aspect of our make up. One minute you can be riding high on the crest of a wave, with everything going your way, and that feeling of invulnerability, pumped up to face any challenge, and the next, you’re crashing at the bottom, wondering what went wrong, why did you even bother, and is there any way back from it. This happens in all areas of our lives, home life; work life; and especially when it comes to our health and fitness.

But why is motivation so important to us and how can we better control it, especially when it comes to our training??

As I’m sure we all know, motivation is a extremely powerful force that often lifts and drives us to achieve our goals and aspirations. However, all individuals at some point in their lives may experience lapses in motivation that leave them feeling uninspired and lacking the drive to pursue their dreams. Causes such as boredom, stress, burnout, feeling overwhelmed, and a lack of clear goals can lead many people to a lack of motivation. There is nothing wrong with hitting a motivational bump in the road, but, its important to realise what has caused that lack of drive, and how can we go about rectifying it?

Small Steps

Setting small, achievable goals, in realistic time frames can be a great start to getting your mojo back. We all set long term goals - in martial arts, it's usually to get to Black Belt - but remember that long term goals are just that, LONG TERM. It is incredibly important to break down those goals into more manageable and more readily achievable challenges for the short term. This way we can look at each small step as part of the bigger journey, and make each step an achievable challenge to overcome. We should be motivated to complete each small step, and be proud of ourselves when we succeed with each step. This helps keep you invigorated on your journey towards that end goal, which for most of us is that illusive Black Belt.

Find a Buddy

When we look at health and fitness, almost all except the most hardened of athletes struggle to keep going at 100% all the time, and there is nothing wrong with losing that drive with our training. The important part is how we lift ourselves back up. Keeping motivation with our health and fitness is incredibly difficult to do on your own, it's a lonely, often upsetting activity to achieve solo. There is nothing more inspiring than going on the journey with others. It can be uplifting and motivational to see how others push forward, while at the same time humbling to see how those same people also struggle with their training, just like you. You both don’t need to be psychologists to understand how to help lift your training partner's motivation. Sometimes a simple smile and nod, a pat on the shoulder, or a big “well done” when someone hits an achievement on their journey, can be enough to lift the spirits and keep them going. Martial Arts is one of those amazing activities, where everyone stood around you is on the same journey as you, maybe at different stages, but they are facing the same hurdles, and overcoming the challenges in the same way you are. They know what you are going through because they are probably going through it themselves, and what better way to be lifted than by our peers.

Eat the Elephant in Small Mouthfuls

Remember with our fitness to set small achievable goals, it may be to learn a new technique, it may be to loose a pound of weight. Don’t set unrealistic goals that have end target years down the road. Look at what you want to achieve next week, next month, and focus on that. Tell your friends and fellow students what your goal is, and help them to help you to reach our goals.

Dance to the Rhythm of Life

Another way to improve your motivation especially with your training and fitness, is to try to get a good consistent rhythm in life with your progress towards your goals. A study from the European Journal of Social Psychology found an average of 66 days was required to turn a regular activity into a habit, but it can range in different people between 18 and 254 days. Notably, these researchers also found that skipping the behaviour once didn't have a big impact on habit formation if participants picked things up afterward. So look at planning your training into your life, not so it is all consuming from the start, but make it manageable and something to look forward to in our week. If you have tried more training in the past, and failed, don’t go too big too fast, maybe look at adding an extra day once a month, then over time move it to once a fortnight, and then finally you will feel its not to big a step to move the extra training to weekly, and if you miss a session due to poor health, or work commitments, don’t let it be the excuse to stop you going back at it again.

Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat

So a lot of improving our motivation and success comes down to repetition and small progress. Change your goals in life, but change them small and slowly, this way you cannot be overwhelmed with the task ahead, and disappointed when we hit those difficulties, and remember you are not alone in this. Everyone else  around you will experience these same challenges in their life, especially with their training, so be there for them and they will be there for you……… what better way to push and progress, than in the company of friends.

Kyo Sa Nim Nick Ogden

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