According to self-determination theory, we’re all driven by three basic psychological needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

When these three are in place, we’re much more likely to feel motivated to keep going instead of forcing ourselves forward with raging willpower.

Here’s how to use self-determination theory to help you stick with your workouts.

Autonomy means feeling in control and making your own choices about your training routine and goals. As long as you have the right principles in place, the tactics you can choose are almost endless.

Competence is about experiencing a sense of mastery as you get stronger and see improvements in your training and how it transfers to your hiking. Another reason why you want a solid foundation of training principles to stand on.

Relatedness involves feeling supported by others, whether that’s friends, a community of like-minded people, a coach, or a combination of all three.

When you feel autonomous in your training, confident in your ability to progress, and part of a community, you’ll be driven by intrinsic motivation that makes strength training feel more like a reward instead of an obligation.


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