I have a problem staying motivated. It seems like as soon as I start seeing progress I find a way to stray off course. I have almost lost hope that I can stay with a workout program. Do you have any tips for staying motivated?

Staying motivated and consistent is one of the biggest challenges in fitness. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to be in shape. You have to cultivate that on your own. I cannot make up a reason for you to want to be in shape. You have to sit down and take a personal inventory of your reasons for wanting to be in better shape. While you are doing this, have a pen and paper handy and write these reasons down. This will give you a concrete list of reasons that you can look at to remind you why you are doing what you are doing. This is a huge first step to success.

Your next step will be to evaluate what your current level of fitness is. This is easily done by simply weighing your self, getting your body fat tested AND taking picture of your self in a pair of shorts or a swimsuit. This will probably be embarrassing, but do it anyway. These three measurements will let you know exactly where you are and also let you determine how far you have to go to get where you want to be.

After determining where you are, now you will need to figure out specifically where you want to be. What do you want to look like? How much do you want to weigh? How much body fat do you want to have? These are things you will need to write down. Write them out in very specific language. Don’t write down I want to be lean and muscular. Instead write down, “I want to be 190 lbs with 8% body fat”. Next write out what it will specifically take to get there, “I am going to lose 20lbs of fat and gain 5lbs of lean mass”. After this you need to add a deadline to your goal so it reads like this: “I want to be 190 lbs with 8% body fat. To achieve this goal I am going to lose 20lbs of fat and gain 5lbs of lean mass by July 4th 2009.” Now you have a goal and a list of reasons to achieve this goal, now you need a way to monitor progress.

Monitoring progress is extremely important because it lets you see if what you are doing is working or not. A word of warning: DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF EVERYDAY. I am very serious when I say this…its a huge no no! Weighing yourself everyday is the quickest way to get frustrated and give up. When Im dieting I weigh myself once every four weeks; I also take new pictures and get my body fat tested at this time. If you absolutely cannot hold off for four weeks, then once a week would be okay, but do it on the same day same time every time. This should give you the most accurate reading. Still remember to take new pictures and get your body fat tested every four weeks.

The last thing I use to keep myself motivated is a nutrition journal. In this journal I record everything I eat and what time I eat it. I also record the amount of water I drink and what supplements I take. At the top of each page I write down my daily goals. I try to write down at least five goals that I must do for the day, it usually ends up being about ten, but five is a great place to start. For example, my five goals for today March 24, 2009 look like this:

1. 45 minutes cardio morning ES (empty stomach)

2. Lift Chest and Tris

3. Eat and record all six meals.

4. Answer Question and Answer for 1st

5. Go grocery Shopping (make list)

6. Go to Pets Mart (make list)

I cross these off as I get them done. Doing this will allow you to build yourself a sense of confidence that you CAN do these things. This list will also motivate you to get done what needs to get done. After a while getting these items crossed off will become a game to you and your sense of accomplishment will be tremendous, I promise.

So there you are, I hope these tools will help keep you motivated to stick to your fitness plan. Always remember that there are going to be unexpected things happen that may force you to deviate from your plan. This is okay and completely normal. You just have to remember to get right back on it and don’t let these little “deviations” ruin your quest for fitness. What if the first time you fell off your bike you just gave up? Sounds pretty sill doesn’t it? You get the idea.

To recap what you should be doing to help you stay motivated.

1. Identify your personal reasons for wanting to be fit, on paper.

2. Evaluate your current level of fitness: Weight, body fat level and pictures.

3. Figure out where you want to be: Weight, body fat level and pictures of people who have the look you might want.

4. Write out your specific goals that you’ll need to accomplish in order to get where you want to be.

5. Monitor your progress every four weeks by weighing, taking new pictures and getting your body fat tested.

6. Get a journal and track your nutrition.

7. Set five daily goals everyday and cross them off as you go.

I hope this will help you stay on track. Always remember that fitness is about consistent effort, not 150% effort for three days. It’s about consistent effort over the course of months. Stick with it and the rewards will come.