By Soji James, CPT, CSCS
It’s crowded at the start of any race. Excitement is usually at an all-time high, and moments of potential adversity are usually an afterthought.
Now marathons aren’t my thing, but competition inspires me. Especially modes of competition that truly pit an individual up against themselves. Whether you hit the pavement for 26.2 miles of glory or you lace up your sneakers for weightlifting, it’s always “You vs. You.” This is true no matter who is in front of, beside, or behind you. Whether you are into running or not, you can’t help but be inspired by the capabilities of the human mind, body, and spirit. Running a marathon is a grind—and when it comes to achieving our health and wellness goals, there are a lot of similarities.
At the start of any race, some people explode out the gates with seemingly unlimited motivation. The same thing usually happens around New Year’s Day, when droves of people decide to get into their best shape possible and pack the gyms.
With the passing of time, however, things begin to change.
Those same people who started the race off with reckless abandon usually get picked off through injury and exhaustion—and end up quitting altogether. Similarly, most gym-goers won’t end up making it past February and will table their aspirations for the following year.
On the other hand, the individuals who pace themselves effectively—in the race and at the gym—come out successful. They outlast the initial honeymoon phase of motivation and derive their strength from something more meaningful. They have prepared for adversity in their training, so they understand that it is just a part of the process. They couldn’t care less what the person to the right or left of them is doing; the focus is on being the best version of themselves.
Whether you’re running a marathon or making regular trips to the gym to reach your fitness goals, here are 3 ways to stay motivated.
Motivation comes and goes. When you focus on building effective habits and routines, however, you are able to get things done even when you don’t feel like it. Small is the new big! Huge goals can seem unattainable at first, but after you break them down into smaller, devourable actions that you can be consistent with, that’s when the magic happens!
One of my favorite books (definitely one of the most comprehensive pieces on the topic of habit building) is James Clear’s Atomic Habits. If you read one book this year, this needs to be it. We are the sum of our daily habits, and if you are trying to transform your body, there are a lot of factors that will dictate your results that extend outside of the gym. If you are truly on the hunt to take your health and fitness to the next level, purchase this book here.