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Sustained Fitness Motivation and Consistency For 2021

I’m Iain Lucas, the Founder of Kickstart Fitness, and today I’m going to help you on your journey of finding sustained motivation and teach you how to achieve consistency to stick with your January goals for the whole year!

Iain Lucas

January is the time of year when everyone dusts off their running trainers, squeezes back into their kit and sets out with the goal of getting ‘fit’ this year!

It’s great to see people find their New Year’s ‘sparks’ and the motivation to reach new goals, get healthier and aim for a better version of themself, however, sadly this doesn’t normally last very long and people are left feeling like they’ve failed, for yet another year.

Don’t let that put you off setting yourself New Year’s goals, because today I’m going to be your guiding light helping you avoid January burnout and instead find sustained motivation.

Motivation

Everyone’s motivations are different, however, there are two subgroups it will fit into… these are intrinsic (an internal goal e.g. chasing the feeling you get after a run, the runners high) and extrinsic (an external goal e.g. running to win a medal from a race). It is important before you set off chasing your New Year’s goal to establish, what is your why? And which category it fits into?

Often, you’ll find that when someone’s goal is intrinsic it is easier to sustain long-term, compared to extrinsic motivation. This is because intrinsic motivation comes from within, you’re invested in the task because you enjoy it and get satisfaction from doing it, it’s a lot more sustainable than completing a task for external reward only.

With that being said, it isn’t inherently bad to have extrinsic motivations. For example, when you first start exercising you may be aware of all the benefits it has but that alone might not be enough for you to do it and enjoy it, in this scenario extrinsically motivating yourself with an external reward could be the first step you need to get motivated, over time, you can try transition to being more intrinsically motivated, finding a deeper, more internal ‘why’ behind your goals to help you stick to them for the long term!

Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are key to behaviour change and both have a place, but make sure you understand each of them in order to utilise them best!

A common issue with sustaining January motivation is that it is easy to set yourself a colossal goal (which is great, and we need!), but then not take the next step to figure out how you will get to that end goal. Myles Challenges are a really fun way of setting goals, but even with an amazing app like Myles to use, you still have to stick with the goals you’ve set to reap the rewards. I find the best way of achieving this is by breaking the challenge down into small manageable chunks, break it all the way down to a day-by-day level where you can say “this is what I have to do”, and be confident that you can achieve it!

For example, in Janary you’ve set yourself the goal of completing the ‘Unofficial London Marathon’ on the Myles Challenge app, depending on how many days you want to split this across you can plan a day-by-day guide for kilometers on each day and when you’re resting to assure you feel confident that you can complete the challenge.

Consistency

This leads me nicely onto consistency. Consistency is the one underlying principle that will control whether or not you reach your goal. One thing I preach to all my clients at Kickstart Fitness (online and in-person) is how beneficial having a ‘consistency calendar’ can be. I know what you’re thinking, “what does a calendar have to do with me reaching my goals?”

consistency calendar

A consistency calendar is a physical daily reminder of what you have to do to reach your goal. We take the majority of your energy away from what the end goal is (that we don’t really have control over) and put all that energy into your daily tasks (that we do have control over). Throughout the day you can tick off whether you managed to complete your daily tasks (e.g. nutrition, water, workout or rest!). When it comes to the end of the month we can look back at the calendar and see how consistent you were with all of your tasks. If you are getting 80% consistency or over you’re doing amazing and will make great progress towards your end goal! However, if your consistency is only 50% then you can’t be annoyed you’re not making progress as quickly as you’d like. Instead, next month focus on improving that number aiming to get to or above 80% consistency with your daily tasks.

The topics I’ve talked about today aren’t just for January, you can implement this way of thinking to the whole year, to the rest of your life even! It’s vital to have solid foundations in place to keep sustained motivation and consistency, and what we’ve talked about today will help you set them into place.

Good Luck with your goals and challenges in 2021, if you enjoyed what I talked about today I encourage you to sign up to the Kickstart Fitness weekly email to hear more from me about all things health, fitness and nutrition. I normally work with people who are trying to improve their health and lose fat, if that is another topic you’re interested in (or maybe the reason you’re running in the first place) then could really benefit from the emails!

If you have any questions about what we have talked about today or anything else health and fitness-related you can reach me on social media or via email!

Stay safe and go get your goals.

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