Use the motivational methods of the US Marines to improve your willpower and sculpt a better physique
Have you ever started a training plan full of enthusiasm but struggled to maintain momentum? If so, there are a couple of things you should know. Firstly, you’re not alone. In one recent survey, 67% of people said that ‘lack of motivation’ was preventing them from being more active. Secondly, there’s something really simple that you can do to make sure that you’re as fired up on the final day of a training plan as you were on the first.
Boost your willpower
According to productivity expert Charles Duhigg, motivation plummets when you don’t feel like you’re in control. To ensure that you believe you’re the master of your own destiny we’re going to borrow a simple trick that distinguished military figure General Charles Krulak used when he restructured the US Marine corps training programme to increase motivation levels among new recruits. Quite simply, it’s to focus on all of the things that you can do to put yourself in control of your situation. For example, you can decide to start a training plan. You can write the training sessions into your diary each week. You can turn up at the gym and you can pick up a weight. You may not be in control of everything, but you’re in control of enough to get started. It’s also important to realise that this way of thinking is a skill and that the more you do it, the easier it will become. “Most recruits don’t know how to force themselves to do something hard,” says Krulak. “But if we can train them to take the first step by doing something that makes them feel in charge, it’s easier to keep going.”
Make it happen: Take control by focusing on the first step.
Build lasting motivation
The second stage in developing lasting motivation is believing that there’s a connection between effort and outcome. Well, we can categorically confirm that there is. The qualifying point is that it’s not automatic. If you’re following an ineffective plan and some dodgy nutrition advice, it doesn’t matter how much effort you put in – you won’t see results. So choosing a credible workout plan and a nutrition system with proven results is an important factor in ensuring that your efforts get rewarded.
Make it happen: Pick a plan that’s proven to work, then get to work.
Take back control of your life
Of course, it’s inevitable that you’ll have the occasional wobble when life gets tough and you can’t face the thought of a tough training session. When that happens, it’s time to ask yourself why. Ask yourself why you’re at the gym. Because each session will take you closer to your new body goals. Ask yourself why you’re in the fruit and veg aisle of the supermarket, rather than shoveling cakes into your trolley. Because smart food choices will help you to make the most of your gym efforts and keep you on track to build the body you’ve always wanted. Simply put, when you’re clear about why you’re doing something, you’ll feel motivated to do it.
Make it happen: Regularly reminding yourself why you started, and what will happen as a result of your actions, will help you to keep going.