The 4 Most Common Motivation Killers

Over these last weeks you’ve no doubt formed some new exercise habits and are noticing some welcome changes. Hopefully you already feel stronger, look a bit more toned and just feel happy about how much you’ve achieved.

But do you still have times when you just can’t motivate yourself?

If there are times when exercise just seems too hard or too boring, then you’re probably running one of the 4 most common motivation killers in your head – Read on to find out which one is holding you back from success …

Let’s say you’ve chosen your main form of exercise to be doing evening classes at your local gym. So you’re at work feeling pretty exhausted after a stressful day and before you know it, you’ve talked yourself out of that night’s exercise and you’re driving home and picking up your favourite takeaways for dinner.

Sound familiar? Perhaps you will recognise that you use one of the following Motivation Killers …

1. The Inner Dictator:
Do you tell yourself you have to do your training, you really should go to the gym, you absolutely must avoid chocolate, you have to lose weight, you’ve got to do something about that bum … you have to … or else …!

Motivation is easily crushed when you tell yourself you have to/you must/ or you should do something. Often combined with a harsh tone of voice (the one in your head) it’s no wonder that you feel bad, feel like a failure, decide to rebel or simply get put off.

2. The Drowning Technique:
This is your motivation killer if you think about your exercise and then immediately start thinking about how on earth you are going to reach your ultimate goal, all the things that could go wrong and everything that lies in your way.

You might think about all the kilograms you still have to lose, how nothing has ever worked before, how far away you still are from your goal and how you have two weddings to go to and how will you stay on track with all that yummy food around?!

You’re using the Drowning Technique when you look at all the details and future steps you will have to take, instead of just focusing on the little step that lies in front of you. While drowning yourself in these details, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. Your goal will feel impossible to achieve … and then of course you might ask yourself “Why bother?”

3. The Backwards Runner:
If you are running in a race, you run towards the finish line, right? And you run facing the direction in which you are running, right?

The Backwards Runner is the person who, while running towards their goal is focusing the whole time on what they don’t want to happen. For example – focusing on all the people behind them that they don’t want to be overtaken by.

In the case of getting fit and losing weight, you’ll notice you’re a Backwards Runner if you focus on things like how you hate feeling overweight, how you want to get rid of your big thighs and stop wearing baggy clothes to hide yourself.

It’s a fact, when people focus on what they don’t want and try to get motivated through this alone it won’t happen … or it’s just bloody hard work for them! More often than not, being a Backwards Runner will make you feel depressed.

4. The Sufferer:
When you’re trying to motivate yourself to do something you don’t naturally enjoy, one of the worst things to do is to fully imagine how it will feel to do it. But this is exactly what The Sufferer does.

Let’s say they hate running in the rain. Tonight’s their ‘running night’ and guess what, it’s raining. The Sufferer on seeing the rain starts to imagine the experience in full detail: how cold it will be when they start, how it feels with the wet clothes flapping against their skin, how they can’t see properly with rain on their glasses, how it sucks when cars splash dirty water onto them … and exactly how disgusting they feel all wet and uncomfortable.

Save this “full body experience” technique for times when there is something you are looking forward to – e.g. a hot date … that’s when it’s a great idea to imagine all the details and how it will feel and … well you get the picture, right! Just don’t imagine the experience fully with all its details if its something you don’t enjoy – it will only make it worse than what it is when you actually get around to doing it.

So do you run any of these non-motivating motivation techniques? What’s your experience?

You may be saying “Yeah I do one of these … but I still go out and do my exercise. It doesn’t stop me.” You’re right, you might do one of the 4 Motivation Killers and still stick to your exercise plans, however when you learn how to effectively motivate yourself, you will be easily drawn towards your exercise and it will be a lot more fun and energising.

All the details and how to do that next time …

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To your lasting success and happiness,


Jan & Maree nWow! Counselling & Coaching