Motivation: You've Achieved Your Fitness Goal, Now What?
You’ve successfully run a marathon, hiked to Machu Picchu, lost 10kg or *insert awesome achievement here*. Congrats!
But… now what?
With the finish line behind you, how do you fuel your motivation and keep on track of your fitness journey?
Soak in the view
Once you've climbed to the top, take some time to be in the moment, soak in the view and reflect.
Appreciate obstacles that challenged you, milestones you crossed and how the hardships have made you stronger. You may not look upon all parts of your journey with joy – and that’s ok, as perfection itself should never be the goal.
the positives – your personal growth, the skills you’ve learned and how you
successfully took action to shape your future. Above all, celebrate yourself
without guilt or conditions.
Check in with yourself
After the initial euphoria fades, the completion of a major goal is often accompanied by a feeling of loss. You may feel like your sense of identity, purpose or direction has been cast adrift on the road, leaving you flat or empty. It’s important to check in with yourself and reconnect with the why that drives you.
Know that your goal is a part of you, but it isn’t who you are.
For many of us, it’s the anticipation and process of striving for the goal rather than the accomplishment itself that brings long-term, self-fulfilling satisfaction and a sense of self-worth.
into your next goal can help maintain momentum and allow you to rediscover a
current or new passion, but don’t forget to first soak in the emotional reward.
Emotion-based positive reinforcement will encourage you to complete your goals all the way to the finish line in future, and help you cement in healthy habits.
Stick to healthy lifestyle choices
If you had a weight loss goal and have hit the magic number on the scale, you might be busting to get out of the 'diet prison’ and back to your ‘normal’, potentially self-destructive eating habits.
Remember, the healthy eating and exercise habits you developed during your weight loss journey are just as significant in keeping the weight off - helping you feel vibrant and energised now and in the future.
To break free from the mentally and physically stressful cycle of yo-yo dieting, it’s important to focus less on the 'D' word and its negative connotations, and more on positive, healthy lifestyle choices you can maintain for the long-term.
You may require slight adjustments to your food choices and intake to transition from 'weight loss' mode into ‘maintenance’ mode, and your nutritionist can provide guidance on this based on your personal needs and exercise schedule.
You've come this far - allow your own journey and strength to inspire you going forward.
Similarly, if you’ve joined a running group or group fitness class, don’t drop out once your goal is complete – allow them to be a continuous source of inspiration to keep you on track and maintain your fitness.
Share your post-goal insight with others to ‘recycle’ your motivation and positivity. Alongside achieving your own goals, elevating the motivation of others is uplifting and can inspire you.
Expand on or re-evaluate your goal
To stay motivated, it’s critical to always have something to strive towards. Fitness is for life and if you don’t continuously challenge yourself, you’ll quickly plateau and loose motivation.
Let’s say you’ve just completed a half marathon – and over the past few months of training, running has inspired you and reawakened your sense of self-confidence. Now that you’ve raced across the finish line, you may feel a daunting gap in your schedule and wonder how to fill it.
You may wish to expand on your goal, continuing to grow and apply the physical and mental strength you’ve developed into a more challenging but related experience like running a marathon and in turn, an ultra-marathon. There is no limit to how high you can climb.
On the other hand, you may feel satisfied with completing your half marathon running goal and eager to discover new challenges and new passions. Perhaps you’ll still run recreationally but also find joy and balance in a new fitness goal.
If you were solely committed to cardio training as you climbed your goal staircase, strength training and flexibility exercises offer a fresh change of pace. You may be motivated to set a new goal that allows you to challenge underworked muscle groups and learn new skills – anything from weight training to Pilates.
Choose goals that inspire you and that you’re passionate about. Living healthy is a goal for life, but many of us can steer off track without a more quantifiable goal.
A personal trainer can provide goal-setting advice to cater to your specific needs and fitness aspirations.
Enjoy the process
It’s easy to become fixated on an end goal without appreciating how far you’ve come or the journey itself.
Practicing mindfulness as you hit the pavement or gym may make you feel more satisfied and in tune with your body, allowing you to find the joy in the process.
Being able to temporarily disconnect from work and social stresses and focus solely on you and your body can be an invigorating and empowering experience - something to look forward to as you work towards your larger goal.
Concentrate on how it feels as air enters and escapes your lungs - helping anchor you in the moment and to find a natural flow to your workouts. Feel your muscles stretch, run or lift.
Check in with your senses and the world around you, whether you’re drawing in the salty air on your beach runs or connecting to the hard pavement beneath your feet to feel liberated in the moment.
No matter how much you put your end goal on a pedestal, it’s important to appreciate the grit-building process of rising after every fall, to celebrate the milestones that get you there and most importantly, to respect and value the power you have in your body and mind.
"Focus on the process rather than the end goal. You'll be happier and more present each day. Take away the pressure, gain control, and ENJOY the JOURNEY." - Hannah Davis, Bodybyhannah (personal trainer)