If you’ve been experiencing a lack of motivation lately, you are not alone. We’ve had to spend so much extra energy over the past couple of years to “pivot” at our jobs, to take care of our families, to learn new ways of interacting with friends and the world in general… We feel so exhausted and burnt out that the motivation for taking on new habits, or returning to habits we had before just isn’t there. You might think that as a fitness coach I’ve never felt unmotivated, but I definitely have.
Caleb and I are part of a fitness business mastermind group, and we met up with this inspiring group of gym owners from around the world a couple of weeks ago. We all share what is going well for us so that we can learn from each other, and then we share our biggest challenge so we can help each other. Our biggest challenge is that for the past two years since the pandemic, while we have been so lucky to keep many of our amazing members, we have reached very few new people. As we began to take a deeper look at this challenge, we realized the thing holding us back from moving forward was us!
Of course we had a host of “reasons” why we couldn’t possibly be the problem. During the height of the pandemic, our most important job was to continue helping our current members and be a support to them through this challenging time. As we were able to start seeing people in person again indoors at the gym, we became extremely protective of our members and prioritized keeping them safe. How could we know if new people would be as careful and as conscientious as our loyal crew? If someone reached out to us, or came as a referral, we were overjoyed to have them, but for us to be actively marketing felt so strange. Gyms were portrayed by pretty much all media sources as an unsafe and dangerous place to be regardless of the type of gym and how it is run, and even though we’ve never had even one case of Covid spreading in our studio, we felt awkward and embarrassed about pursuing new people to join, as we didn’t want to appear not to care about the pandemic.
Sure, all of those “reasons” were true and valid for a time. But as happens so often, time goes on, and reasons turn into excuses. You probably haven’t experienced this exact scenario of being a gym owner, but maybe you can relate? Maybe there is something that began for a reason, but you find yourself unmotivated to make a change - even if it’s for something you really want?
The truth is, I don’t think people are “unmotivated” as often as we might use that word to describe how we are feeling. I think we just don’t know what steps to take next, or we keep doing the same things and expecting a different result. So, let me share three things that have been helping me with my motivation makeover:
1. Make it as easy (and fun) as possible - As part of our focus on growth, we want to be known better in our community. But, the idea of “networking with other local business owners” sounds very non-specific, and kind of boring. So we started choosing a small business near the gym to visit on Saturday afternoons. We make it easy by visiting places we can walk to, and we leave right after we close for the afternoon so it doesn’t feel like something extra to make time for. Tasty lunches, mani/pedis, and browsing boutiques have been really fun ways for us to get to know and support other local business owners.
Maybe you’ve been struggling to get back into a regular training routine? What are some ways you could make it easier and more fun? If early mornings are your best chance for making it happen, you could pack your training bag, lay out your workout clothes and set your coffee maker the night before. Or if you train after work, bring your workout clothes with you so you don’t have to go home before getting to the gym. Buy yourself a new outfit to make it feel fun. Make a pre-workout playlist you can blast in your car on the way to get you energized!
2. Enlist a support system - It’s a well documented fact that we are most successful when we have both professional and social accountability. Our business coaches and gym-owner peers know what we are working on, and we check in with them regularly because we want to stay on track. To make our “Small Business Saturday” plan even more successful, we’ve invited family and friends along to not only make it more fun, but make the commitment even stronger because we have social support.
Our Breakthrough members have both professional accountability with their coaches, and social accountability with each other. But there are lots of things that happen outside the gym that we might need help with. Recently we’ve had a couple of members begin carpooling to their training sessions to make it easier to train more consistently - it’s easy to say “tomorrow” when you are on your own, but if someone is waiting for you, you don’t want to let them down. Or, let’s say cooking more meals at home is something you want to do. Could you get the whole family involved to help make a weekly meal plan? Maybe get together with a friend once a week to grocery shop together or even do a little meal prep together?
3. Reframe - Changing your language can change your mindset and your whole attitude about something. Caleb and I don’t have to network with local business on Saturday afternoons. We get to go out to do something fun on a Saturday afternoon, and support local business in the process! You don’t have to go to the gym to workout, you get to celebrate your strength and know you are improving your quality of life! You don’t have to go grocery shopping, you get to fill your home with fresh and delicious foods!
The other thing about reframing in this way is that we begin to realize just how many things we get to do that a lot of people don’t. The amount of gratitude we could experience for all the things we get to do is boundless and profound.
Obviously the ideas inside these three bullet points are the just tip of the iceberg in terms of what you could come up with. Use them as a starting point, let yourself get creative, and don’t try to do it all alone.
A bonus idea that I can’t not share is remembering your “why”. Our why for wanting to reach more people is the same as it was for opening Breakthrough 7 years ago: We want to help people experience how feeling stronger physically helps you feel stronger mentally, and spiritually as well. And we want to help people experience that what you accomplish in the gym is all in service of living your best life possible. When you connect to your why, you’ll find it’s stronger than any reasons that have become excuses, and you’ll find that motivation and drive to do the things you want to do.
Take one step today, no matter how small, and know it’s enough for now. You’ve got this!
Strength & Love, Kati
PS - Breakthrough is absolutely welcoming new members, so if you are looking for professional and social support, as well as expert coaching and programming we’ve got you! Reach out here!