It’s time to train but for some reason, you keep putting it off.
You’re ready to go, but the excuses start to roll in.
“You’re tired today…rest up.”
“It’s too cold outside.”
“You trained hard last week, you need some recovery.”
“Do you really feel like sparring today?”
We all know these voices, and they’re simply part of the human experience.
While there’s a part of you that is wired for growth, discomfort and loves to go twelve rounds in the ring, there’s an entirely different part that is focused on staying comfortable and safe.
In this post, we’re going to address the topic of motivation and how to amp yourself up to crush your training, even when you’re not feeling it… AT ALL.
This isn’t about reading motivational quotes or crafting the perfect playlist (although both those things can help) - this is about what truly works to get you going.
Incidentally, these tips aren’t just for boxing or gym motivation, but can be used to get motivated in every area of your life. Whether you’re stuck in a rut at work, feel as if your relationships are stale, or have lost that excitement for life you once had, using these tips can provide that much-needed boost.
8 Tips for Boxing Motivation
1. Differentiate Between Interest and Commitment
Being interested in boxing and your fitness means you’d like to achieve some results, but aren’t “all in”.
Commitment means you’re so dialed in on what you want that your day-to-day feelings and fluctuations in mood don’t impact your ability to take action.
So ask yourself…
Are you committed, or just interested in results?
There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between the two. If you’re simply interested, then your “why” for training isn’t strong enough.
If that’s the case, then you’ll have to…
2. Create a Bigger Why
What’s your why behind your fitness and training outcomes?
You have to repeatedly ask yourself that three letter question to peel back the layers and tap into true intrinsic motivation.
You say you want to learn boxing, but why?
“So that I can defend myself if a fight breaks out in the street.”
Great, but why?
“I don’t want to get seriously hurt. Plus, it was really embarrassing when I sheepishly backed down from that guy that shouted at me and pushed me in public.”
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.
You want to learn how to fight so that you can live to tell the tale – smart. But you also never again want to feel the way you did when you had to back down. Therefore, the underlying reason is self-confidence.
So, next time you don’t feel like sparring, remind yourself of how you felt on that day, and know that by pushing yourself through it, you’ll have the confidence to stand up for yourself next time.
For this technique to work, you’ve got to unearth your real why. Your reasons are never just skin deep - even in the case of vanity - and you’ve got to keep digging to find what turns you on.
You don’t just go on a diet and grind it out at the gym so you can show off your ripped arms and chiseled core. You do it because of the way you feel when your body looks a certain way.
It’s about personal confidence and self-worth.
That is the specific why that stops you from ordering that double caramel, grande latte, or why you haul your ass to the gym when you’re feeling tired.
Don’t judge the why. We’re all different and everyone’s why is different. But be aware of yours and always be reminded of it.
3. Set Goals
Whether you want to learn boxing, lose weight, or build muscle, you first have to set a goal.
Yes, yes, I know. It’s cliché, a bit of copout of a tip, and you’ve heard it hundreds of times before.
However, setting goals is the key to achieving everything you want in life.
Most people set very general, broad goals that can’t actually be measured:
“I want to be healthier” – WTF does this actually mean???
A lack of clarity when setting goals causes people to give up soon after setting them – especially when they don’t see results early on.
The topic of goal-setting is way too large to get into in this post, but there is one thing that is absolutely crucial when setting goals:
Goals have to have a specific and measurable target to be working towards, and a deadline for achieving them.
Your goal could be an event or competition (such as your first amateur boxing match), a physique goal, or anything else that allows looking forward in anticipation of putting yourself out there.
Here’re a couple of examples of motivating fitness goals with the all-important numbers and dates assigned to them:
- By the 22/04/16 I will look and feel amazing at my ideal body weight of 65kg.
- I am getting stronger each day and by the 6th June 2016, I will be able to bench-press 100kg six times.
Now there’s no way of wriggling out of these goals. They are specific and measurable. You either achieved them, or you didn’t.
And if you’ve followed tip no.2 and picked goals that are connected to a strong why, you’ll have no problem battling tiredness and pushing through fatigue to achieve them.
4. Record Your Progress
Goals are not something you set and forget. It’s essential that you constantly read your goals and record your progress in achieving them.
Logging your results in a gym diary or chart not only keeps you accountable to the goal you set, but it is also a POWERFUL MOTIVATOR.
Many times we’ll underestimate how much progress we’re actually making and by tracking, we’ll be able to reflect on how far we’ve come.
It’s important that you celebrate the wins along the way - even the small ones. Most people in life sit on the sidelines. You’re taking action on what you want, you’re moving forward…embrace that and celebrate it.
A good idea is to reward yourself with something that will help you achieve the goal - perhaps new training equipment or clothes?
5. Action Creates Massive Momentum
Most of us work long hours and have busy lives, and it can be difficult to get excited about boxing training after a hard day.
When you’re feeling tired, sluggish, or unmotivated, it’s simply a reflection of your emotional state.
Physical activity is the #1 way to change your emotional state.
We’ve all had those days where we didn’t want to train but decided to hit the gym anyway, and then had one of our best workouts ever.
You felt electric and ready to take on the world when you left the gym. Your muscles were pumped, and there were glorious beads of sweat dripping from your body.
The simple result of taking action can re-frame your entire day and experience.
So instead of thinking about going to the gym, simply go and see what happens.
Tip: Just Start Shadowboxing
On the days I’m feeling particularly uninspired; I slowly shadowbox in front of the mirror. I promise myself that if I do just five minutes, I can call it a day.
It’s really not taxing as all I’m doing is flinging combinations slowly and checking my technique is correct and my guard is tight.
Before long, I’ve raised the tempo, and I’m really starting to enjoy it. I’ve shifted my mindset, and I’m now in an energized state and ready for class.
Even if I don’t make training, I’ve done twenty minutes of shadowboxing which is better than vegging out on the couch.
6. Habits Over Willpower
Willpower, like the battery on your phone, comes and goes.
Some days it’s going to be fully charged, and others, it will be teetering on the brink of empty.
You see, motivation and willpower are limited resources.
Even if you’re Tony Robbins, your motivation for a task will ebb and flow depending on your energy levels, your interest in the task, and what other stuff you’ve got going on in your life.
When it’s high, it’s easy to choose to hit your training that day. When it’s low, we’ll make excuses.
We suck into our willpower every time we make a decision and take an action.
That’s why relying on willpower only lasts so long. The key to consistently conquering your fitness goals (or any other goal), is to build your lifestyle around automatic behaviors.
Having your training and fitness decisions run on auto-pilot plays a foundational role in your success and results.
By forming habits, you create small, daily wins that make you want to keep going because they not only feel great, but also drive you closer to your goals.
There are two fundamental points to habit forming:
By taking the time to plan, you can set up a sequence of events that automatically trigger the habit.
For instance, if you want to form the habit of running in the morning, lay your running gear beside your bed. That way, you’re literally stepping into your running shoes as you get out of bed and you’ve no time to make excuses. In time, you’ll automatically associate getting out of bed with a morning run.
2) Uninterrupted Practice
It takes 21-45 days to build a new habit. You have to keep practicing your habit every single day without a break until it until it becomes a part of you.
Now you know the secret to habit forming, what new habits do you want to form? Sleeping 7-8 hours a night? Drinking a gallon of water a day? Eating a nutritious breakfast every day?
7. Accountability Is Everything
Have you ever wanted to pull out of a prior commitment but you had arranged to meet someone and didn’t want to let them down? Sometimes you can’t force yourself to do something, but your commitment to others can.
That’s accountability, and it’s the secret sauce of results.
Accountability can come in many forms, but the most common is training with others to elevate your results.
Simply by having someone else around, you will be more motivated to give it your all. You can push each other through encouragement and friendly competition, which can be a lifesaver on the days motivation failed to show up for training.
Training in a class setting or having a training partner also adds variety to your workouts. You’ll be able to hit pads or do some sparring, instead of sticking to the same old bag routine, which helps to keep you motivated.
Find a training partner, a friend, or a group of people that force you to show up, and see the positive effect this has on your training.
8. Hard Work and Dedication Is All You Need
I remember watching a boxing motivation video on YouTube that featured Mayweather doing roadwork in the morning when it was still pitch black outside. He kept chanting the same words over and over again.
“Hard work. Dedication. Hard work. Dedication. Hard Work. Dedication”
Later on, those words were still playing in my mind and I came to a profound realization.
Hard work and dedication is all you need to achieve whatever you want in life.
It is a tried and proven formula for success.
The thought of hard training sessions might not be motivating in the short term, but it’s definitely motivating if you take a long-term outlook.
Think about it. It doesn’t matter what skills you start with or how fit you are. If you are willing to work hard and you keep showing up for training every single day, you will eventually become a great boxer.
Yes, we are all different, and it may take some longer than others. But it doesn’t matter if it takes you one, two, five, or ten years. The main thing is getting to whatever skill or fitness level you desire and achieving your goals.
If you choose to adopt and live these two values, you will eventually get there.
Motivation, we’ve all felt it – it’s when we take action, feel on fire and get things done with such intensity and focus that there’s zero doubt we’re going to succeed.
It would be great if we were always in that peak state when it comes time to train. However, we all have days, weeks, or even months, when we lose that spark and training becomes a struggle (and even an outright chore).
But remember, there’s someone else out there who is perhaps less skilled, has had less sleep, or is dealing with some other circumstance, but who is crushing their training.
Let this be a lesson to you that life waits for no man. If you wait until you felt inspired before you train, you’d quickly become out of shape.
Applying these motivation boosting tips will help you get back into the zone, and most importantly, stay there.
If you’re still reading this… you need to stop.
It’s time to get out there, take action, and get results.