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How to Stay Motivated During the COVID-19 Quarantine

In Indy, the COVID-19 quarantine has become the new normal. That means we’re finding a new normal for work, exercise, and fun all happening strictly at home. There are a few positives in this situation – more time to connect with family, slower requirements of life, and potentially the first opportunity in a very long time to do some introspection and work on yourself. However, at the same time, staying motivated is definitely a struggle. It is the common theme in our community, and certainly something I’m feeling myself. It is a lot easier to get excited to do a hard workout when I’m by myself instead of with my friends at class. The uneven garage floor doesn’t quite have the same feel to it that being in Summit does. This diminished external motivation carries over to the kitchen, as well. In a weird way the quarantine feels like a bit of a break from everyday life – a vacation in a way – and that’s allowing thoughts like, “oh it’s okay, you deserve the cookie,” to creep in. So, how do we all stay motivated during the COVID-19 quarantine, and not come out of it ten steps back? Here are a few ways I’ve been battling my own motivational challenges, and maybe you can too.

Make your goals reflect your environment.

One of the biggest mistakes I made at the start of the quarantine was acting like everything could stay the same. I could maintain the same effort as before, getting in the same style of workouts, and have the same schedule.

That doesn’t make sense because the reality is nothing is the same. My schedule is completely different. No more 6:00 am workouts with my Summit fam, no more time in the office, and no more evening commute or coaching. My environment is different, so my goals should be, too.

Brute Strength posted a great article about using the quarantine to your advantage, and I love the message they send. For many of us, myself included, it is hard to make yourself not give your absolute 100% effort every single time you workout. But, in order to see the best results, you have to give your body time to recover and heal. That doesn’t mean sitting around doing nothing for a month, but it does potentially mean shifting your goals from new personal records to recovery.

For example, right before the quarantine hit, we were in the middle of a cycle at Summit focused on a two rep maximum back squat, deadlift, and push jerk – the “Summit Double” – so all of our training was aimed toward improving that strength. Without access to as heavy loads, it is going to be tough to hit a new personal best on that. Instead of setting myself up for failure and disappointment, I shifted my goals to be:

  • Sleep 8 hours every night
  • Develop a morning routine
  • Journal for 30 days

All of those goals fit my environment much better and they are giving me a huge improvement in recovery, mood, and how my body simply feels day to day.

Understand where you now have better opportunities to develop than before.

Half of my responsibility at Summit is to be on the floor coaching members, while the other half is to focus on improving our service and what we offer to our community. In reality, most of the time the urgent fires coming up – light goes out, equipment needs fixing, member questions, extra one on one time – eat into the time spent focusing on the business and how we can improve.

With the gym physically closed, I’ve had less fires coming up and more time to think about what Summit should stand for, and how we should improve our services moving forward. It’s been an unanticipated opportunity during this time, and I’m guessing you’ve had your own, as well.

Maybe you are calling your parents every week for the first time in years, or you’re getting time at home with your significant other you’ve actually never had in the history of your relationship. Maybe you finally read the book you’ve been interested in, or you started the blog you’ve always wanted to. Whatever it is you’ve been putting off, now is a great time to start – don’t wait until the end to make it happen!

Create a community – or join one.

I’m extremely fortunate to have my wife to quarantine with. At least daily I think about how tough it must be to be living alone during this quarantine. That would really wear on me mentally, and I feel for my friends who are experiencing a solo quarantine.

To combat this, and even for those of you who are co-quarantining (just made up that word, but I like it) having some form of outside community is so important. You have some options to find your own:

  • Get a group of friends together to play online trivia at the same time each week
  • Use the Netflix plugin on Chrome to watch movies and shows together
  • Have a “family dinner” over Zoom meetings
  • Join a gym with access to a private online community
  • Find a group on Facebook for your favorite hobby and actively participate in the conversation

Even for the introverts among us – definitely not me – having community is a basic human need. It gives us connection and everyone craves it. Find a way to create your own or join one that already exists. It won’t replace in-person connection, but it will be way better than an extended time by yourself or with just one or two other people.

Make some lemonade out of lemons.

I don’t think anyone is going to stand up and talk about how happy they are about being quarantined. But, it’s what we’re all dealing with together. What we can all do together is take some time to focus on what unique opportunities are presented because of the situation we’re now in. Set some new goals, focus on a new hobby or personal development, and create or join a community. In short, make the most of a tough situation.

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