I have wanted to speak on this topic for a long time. And I think that’s partially because sometimes I feel like people think I don’t experience slumps, or low motivation. Which is hilarious because motivation is NOT how people become successful in any area of life. Discipline and a strong why is how I believe people build success – in the gym, in life, in business, in relationships.
With that, I think we’ve all experienced a slump in life or biz or fitness. You just have no motivation or motivation for the wrong things.
Like you’re motivated to work on creative things but they’re really just busy work and have nothing to do with your essential task. Example – wakes up wanting to create new content for a project that isn’t on the table until 2021…but should really track numbers from your last launch…yes, this was me last month.
Or you go to the gym and just walk on the treadmill instead of getting your lift in (we’ll talk about this).
Or you’re just beside yourself. Not in an angry or upset way. But you’re observing your current state and not digging it? Have you ever been there? You’re not where you think you should be, you’re unsatisfied but not sure why? Something is just OFF.
Today I plan to give you three tools to pull yourself out of the slump and into the RIGHT ACTION – to get you feeling accomplished and proud of your decisions. In alignment if you will.
Before we dive into these tactics I want to make clear that this will take time and effort no matter which you choose. I may be helping you get out of a slump but it won’t be by snapping your fingers.
Also, mind you that these tips are coming from a very systematic, black and white human. So these may be different than what might be best for you. Either way, let’s get to it!
This tip assumes that you have already established a goal, some destination you’d like to reach this year or month or whatever. It assumes you have taken the time to set a new standard, and you’re feeling off track from the original route.
If you have not actually laid out your goal with an action plan…well that’s your new step one.
I’ll share my example because like I said, this literally happened to me a while back. I felt like I was twiddling my fingers and kind of wading in the water versus going to toward a goal with clarity.
It doesn’t take long for me to address this issue because wading in the water is not productive and I hate not being productive.
So, I used tool #1.
I found myself wanting to start a new project – a project I don’t plan to start until 2021 or while we’re home for three months in 2020. THAT is not what I needed to be doing. And it would not have been a wise use of my time. I was aware of that, yet I still felt lost as to how I SHOULD be spending my time.
Enter revisiting the year, month or week plan. Or all of those for that matter.
I plan three priorities for my week. This happens on Fridays, when I review my week – three wins, three lessons, three priorities for the upcoming week.
I learned this practice in my mastermind in 2019 and while it was overwhelming at first, it was SO EFFECTIVE for me. Therefore I’ve kept that habit rolling strong into 2020.
For the week we’re discussing, I’d laid out my three priorities in my journal. It just so happened that I’d already accomplished two of my three priorities – two tasks which had a lot of stress tied to them.
This is likely why I was left feeling unmotivated and a bit drained after completing them. When Thursday rolled around, I was lost. Blank schedule. So why not create something new, right?! NO. Sure, maybe if the top priorities are done. But they weren’t.
So instead of starting a brand new project, I got my eyeballs on the third priority. And that felt UH-MAZING. It had been a top priority to draft up podcasts through the time that we’d be in Patagonia with unpredictable service. That was not really a negotiable – cue why it was in my three priorities.
I had just totally forgotten about that task due to the stress and time involved in the other two priorities. And that’s understandable.
It simply took reviewing the plan in order to switch gears from wading in the water and feeling weird without direction to a clear action plan.
I sat down, looked at my podcast topics through the given time period and got to drafting. And that fam, felt UH-MAZING.
Do you know why that felt amazing?
Not because it was easy. It wasn’t. Drafting podcasts takes effort, creativity and brain power. But I knew that starting that process would make me proud AND it would make my life easier down the road. Drafting those pods was a weekly and monthly priority for this time period FOR A REASON.
I know that whole tip might seem oversimplified or too easy. But it works for me, time and time again. It’s why I LOVE planning, having plans and actively reviewing those plans. Because that’s how I stay the course over and over and over again.
So if you haven’t yet found a planning strategy that works for you, GET ONE. Use some trial and error. Different tactics def work for different people. I am fully aware that some personalities would feel restricted by what I just described. For some people maybe your momentum would literally come from STARTING THAT NEW PROJECT as a creative outlet, then returning to the pre-planned priority. I get that.
But either way, TRY SOMETHING, and move forward accordingly. I can tell you right now that just sitting in the weird, unmotivated feeling, scrolling Instagram is NOT how to get out of that slump.
In the gym this looks like THE GRIND. Follow the plan.
Don’t worry I’ll discuss other options as well, because sometimes sticking to the program is not actually the best decision for getting out of a slump.
But for training especially, tip #1 looks like reviewing your goal and current phase. THE WHY – and then trusting the process that your coach has given you, or you have given yourself.
I have two clients currently each focusing on one specific goal. One is taking a break from deadlifting and doing more of a fitspo program. More isolated movements, more exercises per workout, less big compound movements. This is due to her current life and body situation. So, when she feels like she’s getting “weaker” – then we need to remind her of the current goal. The current goal is not beast mode. It’s a completely different style and purpose of training.
I am working with another client to bring up her upper body pulling strength. Therefore her normal pressing exercises are coming LATER in her workout. The pulling is the current priority so that comes earliest in the program. When she gets discouraged or feels like her upper pressing in a rut, we review that the goal is to maintain if anything. This is due to the fact that she’s more fatigued when she gets to her pressing exercises. THAT MAKES SENSE.
Hopefully you can see the power reviewing the FACTS – the plan. It has the ability to bring you back to solid ground with a clear vision.
Let’s move on to tip #2
Yes. #2 is the exact opposite of tip #1 and it has been just as effective for me in many instances.
What are you motivated to do? What sounds fun? Do you have a creative outlet if you’re an entrepreneur? What type of movement is your body craving TODAY? Low intensity cardio and some mobility? Sprints? A CrossFit WOD?
Sometimes when we feel unmotivated and out of it, you need a little reset. Perhaps you’re not completely out of alignment. You still want to stay the course for the most part, but you need a little switch up. You need a reset, a break from the normal plan. Again, you’re not dropping the goal, or completely changing direction. You’re just shaking it up for a short period of time.
In business this looks like me writing a crap ton of Instagram content or editing travel photos when I “should” be doing something else.
In fitness this looks like dropping the daily plan and strictly listening to your body.
Then, get back to the plan.
If you know me, you know I am a firm believer of the brain dump and journaling in general. Especially for women. We can hold so many things in our brains and often, just need to get them down on paper.
I love the power of writing and the natural processing that takes place.
Brain dumping forces you to SLOW DOWN and recognize what’s on your mind. You may just realize what you need to do once you get it all out of your head. Maybe you’ll see what is causing the slump?
Is it something you need to release, that someone else could be taking care of you? Maybe it’s that too much headspace is being taken up by something that isn’t even in your backpack. This is the power of the brain dump.
So, if you don’t know what a brain dump is, it’s you and a blank piece of paper without distractions.
Write down literally EVERYTHING that is on your mind. This could be tasks, goals, conversations you need to have, upcoming events, stressors, vacations, ANYTHING. If it’s taking up headspace, write it down.
You’re feeling off, unmotivated and in a slump. There is some sort of resistance that you’re experiencing. A brain dump can bring you some clarity as to where that resistance is coming from. It can make sense of the slump. Like OOOOOOOHHHH that’s why I am feeling this way!
You could also do a specified brain dump in relation to whatever topic you’re experiencing the slump in. So the gym, or biz for instance.
What you’re feeling, thinking about, worried about in those areas.
So, I am guessing you’re not surprised that all three of my tips involve action. I think action is where things happen. It’s where change takes place and it’s where we LEARN.
Maybe you need tip #1 sometimes, or #3 other times. You won’t know if you don’t try. Through taking action, sticking to plan, listening to your body, changing it up or writing it all down, you’ll learn what you need and what works best for you.
Either – review and follow the plan and reground yourself in your WHY and top priorities.
OR – listen in and do what sounds fun NOW. What sits right with you TODAY? Do that, then head back to #1, review the plan and proceed after you’ve fulfilled your current desires.
And then of course you can always brain dump it all out. JUST. LET. IT. ALL. OUT. And choose a path from there.
Here’s to working through the slumps, the weird feelings, the lack of satisfaction, and sense of resistance.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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