Where’s my Mojo?

160417-Melissa099(1)Photography by Ben Crowther



Have you ever been in that situation where you’ve started a new workout plan, you’re eating healthy, you’ve managed to exercise nearly every day for the last two weeks, you’re feeling good, making progress… then BAM. You wake up the next day and you’re as flat as a tack. You head out into the kitchen for breakfast and instead of reaching for the oats, you reach far into the dark depths and rip out the hidden packet of Tim Tams. You devour three of them. You get through the day dreading the thought of going to the gym. You force yourself to go. You say to yourself “I’m just not feeling it today”. Then you go home, eat dinner and polish off the rest of the Tim Tams.

The next day is no better. A chain reaction has been set off. You’re no longer on a roll. You’ve lost your motivation. You’ve lost your MOJO.

So what exactly is motivation?

Motivation is described in the dictionary as ‘Desire or willingness to do something; enthusiasm’. Okay. So that’s pretty easy to understand, we’ve got that bit.

But we also need drive and determination. Without drive and determination to succeed at reaching our goals, everything else that contributes to reaching our goals is somewhat useless.

But how do we create that drive and determination, that desire and willingness? And how do we keep our motivation day in day out?

These are far more complex questions.

There are two primary types of motivation… Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation. Extrinsic Motivation is geared toward external rewards and reinforcers. Intrinsic Motivation is geared toward internal rewards and reinforcers.

Generally when we start an exercise program, we rely heavily on Extrinsic Motivation. We look for and need external factors to keep our motivation going. This might be relying on the way you look, fitting into a certain dress, winning a competition and so on.

It can take many weeks and often two to three months until we experience Intrinsic Motivation; when you start to want the exercise because of the way it makes you feel. If you find exercise energising, fun, pleasurable, exciting or satisfying, you are experiencing Intrinsic Motivation. And this can be a strong driving force that gets you out of bed, eating the right food and hitting the gym.

Without getting into too much depth with the psychology of motivation (I’ll leave that one to the psychologists!), I wanted to share a few things that help me stay motivated!

Let me start by saying that motivation is not something that we just wake up and have there all the time. Many people ask me ‘How do you stay so motivated?”. Well this is something I continually work on. If we don’t work on motivation, it falls by the wayside… and so does your healthy eating and exercise regime.

  1. Firstly, you must set goals. Of course they should be realistic, somewhat measurable, and achievable. Set yourself a long term goal (e.g. where you want to be one year from now). Set a short term goal, one that will help you get to your long term goal (e.g. Three months from now). Then you need to break it down even further. I find that setting a goal for the week is essential. An example might be to drop half a cm off my waist measurement. And then I set daily goals that will help me get to my weekly goal. For example, do my weights session, hit my macros for the day, drink 2 litres of water today, take the dog for a walk etc.

  2. Write all these goals down. I’m a bit of an old school type. I love to physically write down my goals using ink and paper. I feel that doing this helps me connect with the goal a lot better. Seeing my own handwriting helps me take ownership of that goal.

  3. Put your goals in plain sight where you will see them often! I put my long and short term goals, handwritten, on a pinboard in my office. My weekly and daily goals are written onto sticky notes and stuck to the pantry, the fridge and my bathroom mirror, or I write them in my diary. Yes diaries still exist! See I told you I’m old school.

The three step process above is your starting point. Now what to do from here can involve anything at all that helps you connect with your goals.

Remember Extrinsic Motivation is an external influence. This is where a Personal Trainer or Fitness Coach may come in handy! They are part of your reason to get up and out to the gym. But because I train myself, this is where I use other things such as following my favourite fitness competitors, reading my favourite fitness magazine (Oxygen!), booking in a photoshoot, or focusing on a competition. I will sometimes hang my bikini up (or a favourite outfit I want to wear soon), and have it in plain sight in my bedroom so I see it every day. It’s a constant reminder of what I am working towards. I’m quite a visual person, so I love looking at other fitness physiques to keep me inspired too, so I regularly check out a little fitspo on Instagram.

I also find it helps to internally connect with the feelings you get from exercising. Out walking one morning? Think about how the scenery makes you feel. Breathe in the fresh air. Connect some pleasant feelings with the scenery, admire the birds, the trees, the clouds… smell the ocean air… feel the cool breeze on your skin. It feels amazing and energising right?! And this will make you want to go back for more.

Finished a hardcore sweaty workout at the gym? Endorphins will be flowing freely! Take a moment to feel them and actually say to yourself, “I feel so much better now, I’m really glad I trained today”. We’re reinforcing the intrinsic factors here… taking a moment to realise why we like to do this and how that workout made you feel.

Something to remember is that motivation is not always there. It certainly isn’t for me. It ebbs and flows like the tide and we have to continually work on ensuring the motivation is flowing freely. If for some reason you wake up one day and it’s just not there, well that’s okay. You know what to do though. Just go ahead and do what it takes to get you to your goals anyway. You might feel like you’re going through the motions a little, but at least you are still moving in the right direction.  And if you’re really stuck for a few days or a few weeks, set some new goals and soon your MOJO will be back again!

Set goals, take action, train hard, eat healthy, feed the motivation and you are well on your way to success!


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