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How To Find Workout Motivation When Hard Work Isn’t Paying Off

So, you start off really excited, determined and motivated with your health and fitness goals.

You seek all the right resources, help, and tools you need to get going.

You tell yourself, “I’m going to do it this time.”.

Then somewhere along the way. You stop. You lose that crazy determination you started off with because you feel like you’ve made no progress moving forward and you got lost along the way.

This can happen for a number of reasons and as a Personal Trainer, I see it every day. I can also personally relate to this feeling. We are human after all.

There are some things you need to know about. Like why it can happen, so you can keep an eye out for your own triggers. Also, tools I think you will find useful so you can push through it.

Find workout motivation

How To Stay Motivated When Hard Work Isn’t Paying Off

There’s a reason why people like Michelle Bridges say loud and clear that motivation is “total CROCK”. It might get you started, but it’s not always there when you need it.


One reason this can happen is because we often set unrealistic goals. We often set unrealistic timelines and/or measurements. When the bar is so high it means that even with the small progress we are disappointed. Even though it’s the small progress that gets us to our “big picture goal”.

Following on from this, we can forget how to appreciate the small wins. One of the first things I ask my clients (second to what their goals are) is:
“What is something you do in your day to day activities that makes you think, I’m not fit enough or strong enough?”.
Examples include; running late and running upstairs where you feel more puffed than normal at the top, feeling the leg burn at the snow and it’s not even midday yet.

ACTION STEP: Write down something have you done recently, where you thought to yourself, “I need to improve my health and fitness.”?

Thirdly, in my experiences as a Personal Trainer, people set unrealistic expectations about their whole life changing when they achieve their goal. For example, “When I lose weight I’m going to be so happy I will never ever have anything to complain or be sad about”. The reality is that you’ve still got to kick on with life. Even if you “lose the weight” you still might get upset, frustrated or dissapointed, this is not a reason to write off your achievements.

This doesn’t mean your achievement hasn’t worked. It can still be valued and appreciated. It just needs to be valued and appreciated in the right way. Back to the weight loss example; “When I lose weight, it will mean that I have more confidence in myself and it will give me more time to adventure with my friends, partner or even family and kids. Helping not only me but the people around me live the best lifestyle”.

Last reason I have to share is fear of failure and comparing yourself to everyone else around you. Perfectionism often underlies fear of failure. What’s that age old saying? “Don’t compare your chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20”. We’ve all heard the other one about that fact that no matter how slow you go you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.



Set realistic goals and breaking them down into smaller more achievable goals to appreciate your progress along the way. For more on how to set realistic and achieveable goals.

Practice gratitude daily. It’s a seriously under-rated practice and science has shown amazing results on happiness for something so simple. If you want to read up more on it including the research check out this post.

Example, if you go through a breakup and you feel like nothing is good in the world. You could write down how grateful you are for your family and friends and their support. Forcing your brain to look at things differently is magical and despite science saying it works, I’m vouching from personal experience too.

ACTION STEP: Use an app on your mobile (I use DayOne) or write in a journal. Record one thing you are grateful for, for that day. Do it every day for one week and see if you notice a difference in your attitude.

Measure your progress. There are a number of ways you can do this here. You have to learn to pick options that work for you (not against you mentally).

Lastly, challenge yourself regularly. It significantly improves your confidence and ability to tackle whatever comes your way, fitness related or not. It will keep your brain well exercised and challenge you to grow in new ways. Great examples of this include (I give you permission to use):

  • Learn a new skill
  • Do something you are scared of
  • Get in front of a couple of people and speak
  • Post a photo on Instagram that screams confidence
  • Dance in public
  • Join a Group Fitness Class you haven’t tried before

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you found some valuable tips in this post. If you know someone who would appreciate it, don’t forget to send it to them. I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Train smarter so you can spend more time doing activities and adventures that you love. For services, get help even faster by emailing Kate.

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