Tricks to boost motivation

7 January 2015 by
First published: 14 January 2015

Struggling to get your butt into gear this January? Check out hypnotherapist Chloe Brotheridge‘s mental tricks to boost motivation for the gym.

December presents a difficult dichotomy; wanting to look and feel our best to enjoy the festivities to the maximum while at the same time being distracted away from exercise and healthy food by all the the season has to offer. But now that Christmas is well and truly over, it’s time to get into gear. If you need a little helping hand, try these mind tricks to keep you motivated in the gym through January and beyond.


Nearly all top athletes visualise themselves doing well in preparation for events. Sports stars like Jessica Ennis and Usain Bolt have gone on the record to say they use visualisation to improve their performance. To practise this, close your eyes and imagine yourself as you would like to be; fit, strong and motivated and enjoying every minute at the gym. By creating this new mental image of yourself, you’re making it easier to create it in real life.

Anchor it

Anchoring is when we link together a feeling and a stimuli. Our minds do this naturally, for example, when a smell or place can trigger a memory or feeling. It’s possible to create our own ‘anchors’ to use in daily life to help us to feel motivated. To create one, relax with your eyes closed and imagine a time when you were really motivated and driven at the gym. Build up this image as vividly as you can, imagining the sights, sounds, sensations and emotions. Now pinch together the thumb and forefinger on one of your hands for 10 seconds or so, while holding on to the feeling of motivation. Having linked together the feeling of motivation with the stimuli of your fingers pinching together, you can bring back that feeling whenever you need to, by simply pinching your fingers together.


Picture a person who inspires you and imagine what they would say to you to get you moving and giving your all at the gym. Perhaps you imagine Ryan Reynolds cheering you on as you deadlift, or Beyonce running beside you on the treadmill!

Set realistic goals

Setting goals for yourself can be one of the most motivating things of all, and studies show that if we share our goals with our friends or family, we’re more likely to stick to them. Write down a goal that’s measurable and achievable and stick it somewhere you’ll see it. By doing this, the goal will seem more concrete and your friends will be able to hold you accountable.

Discover your intrinsic motivation

Focus on intrinsic motivation. That is, a motivation that comes from within ourselves, from a sense of doing it for ourselves because it’s enjoyable or rewarding in itself. On the flip side, there’s extrinsic motivation, which relates to feeling or sense of reward from other people. What higher meaning could exercising hold for you? What does it give you at an emotional level? How are you fulfilling your own potential through it? Focusing on these things could be more motivating that thinking about how it’ll make your body look to others, for example.

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