I’m having an off day.

You know what I’m talking about. I didn’t get enough sleep, didn’t feel motivated during my workout, finished all the cookies in the house (mmm… cookies).

For long term health and training goals, motivation can sometimes be tough, not to mention the guilt afterwards. I’m very hard on myself so the guilt really gets me. But I’ve learned to tell myself that it’s ok – everybody has off days.

Here are some motivational tips that usually work for me:

1. Remind yourself: It took more than one day to get this far – it will take more than one day to regress. So even if you do eat more than you should or miss your training completely, your body can take it as long as you get back on track.

2. Make yourself accountable. To an extent, this blog keeps me accountable. It gives me the general feeling that people are watching and I shouldn’t screw up. Telling someone about your goals, or finding a work out partner can make all the difference. Everybody needs support.

3. Sleep. Your body may be telling you that it just needs to rest. If I get overexcited and go too hard on the training, I end up stressed out and exhausted. That’s not the goal.

4. Slap a slogan on it. Come up with some sort of motivational quote or slogan that works for you. There are countless to choose from. I know some runners who recite their slogans over and over again in their heads during a race. My personal favourite is a little long, and from the Bible:

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NLT)

5. Listen to music. Whatever you’re into. Sometimes I just put on my mp3 and I suddenly feel like running.

6. Go through your routine anyway. Sometimes motivation comes after you’ve already started. Or at least you’ll feel good about pushing through the rough days. I still went to the gym today even though I felt sluggish, and it felt good afterwards.

7. Review your goals. Write them down. Say them in your head. Envision them becoming reality. You’re working towards something, not just wasting time.

8. Look good. Get some real training clothes. New training shoes. Dress like you’ve been an athlete your entire life. Now look in the mirror. You look fabulous; you feel great. Suddenly you can’t wait to get started!

9. Remind yourself: You’re the boss. Nobody can influence what happens to your body besides you. What you put in your mouth, your level of activity throughout the day … we all have responsibilities, but the ultimate choice is yours. Make the right one.

Tonight I’ll choose to go to bed sooner, trade my regular workout routine tomorrow for something more fun and exciting. I know I won’t eat any more cookies because there aren’t any left. There’s always a tomorrow.