I’ve trained 1,000’s of group classes and personal clients utilizing the same MO: the motivation to pursue a life better lived starts and ends with you. As a trainer, I can only do so much. Ultimately, the desire to train and work towards any goal comes from within.
You can’t scroll through it.
You can’t pin it.
You can’t it repost it.
You have to create your motivation to achieve your goals. And your motivation needs to correlate to an internal or intrinsic need directly to be successful.
I’m confident that’s why so many people start and subsequently stop workout programs (or anything in life).
Motivation runs dry when it’s superficial.
It’s easy to see a “perfect” body on Instagram and think, “I want to look just like that.” But the image soon fades and gets lost in the clutter of the other content you’re consuming on an HOURLY basis, and before you know it, you’re on to the next thing. Your “goal” can fade into the background, be deemed unattainable, or is decided to be unworthy in the name of instant gratification.
Motivation is cyclical. It’s only natural to hit the ground running when a goal is new and exciting. It inevitably drops after a certain period (usually when the going gets a little tough), and when it does, you’ll need serious willpower. If you’re one of the determined ones that make it through the said slump, you’ll experience a resurgence of motivation again the second those results start to make an appearance.
That willpower, or motivation to conquer your goals, cannot be found, purchased, or given to you by someone else. Therefore you must create it.
Here’s how to do it.
Creating Your Motivation
Find Your “Why”
You have to get a little uncomfortable here. To get to the root of what it is you want you’ve got to do a little soul-searching. Your entire approach to goal setting hinges on understanding your “why.” And in fact, you may even re-evaluate your goal altogether based on the outcome of this exercise.
Goal: To have visible abs
Why: So I can look banging in a bathing suit…okay, if I’m honest, I want abs so I can feel more confident in my body…actually I want to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
Your approach goes from doing 5-minute planks (by the way, don’t fucking do a 5-minute plank, that’s like worthless) to taking control of your health and fitness. Your approach goes from just a workout to working out AND eating right AND making more informed decisions regarding both. See where I’m going with this?
Goal: To workout five times a week
Why: So I can get in shape…okay, really, I want to lose ten pounds…and truthfully, I want to lose that weight so I can be healthier for my kids, and my partner.
Your approach goes from an item on a to-do list to a task with conviction and a purpose. Maybe that causes you to get a trainer to hold you accountable and educate you different types of workouts.
Try it for yourself. What do you want? Why do you want it? But really, why?
Engage and Connect
There’s nothing quite like the fitness community. Most of the time everyone starts as strangers, brought together by ClassPass, MindBody, or a call to action served via email or Instagram. But then what happens is fantastic – emotional connection.
Fitness is personal, it’s emotional, and it’s profound.
I know that may sound dramatic, but it’s true. The person next to you influences you whether either of you realizes it. You push each other; you catch each other’s energy. And you change your bodies together. That’s emotional. That’s fucking cool.
Get to know the person next to you. It’s not awkward. They’ll like it.
The beauty of group exercise classes, personal training, or small group sessions is you don’t have to put together a workout. Your trainer will go through the paces of delivering drills and provides a watchful eye. Not to mention the accountability factor which is huge.
But what about when you’re alone? Or when you’re traveling? Or what happens when your workout buddy is sick? You have to have a base level understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Knowledge is power. And without it, we’re not independent thinkers and therefore are not independent people.
Instead of walking out the door (or leaving the cooldown early, UGH) of your next group exercise class or training sesh take a second to talk to your trainer about WHY they programmed what they programmed. Don’t go through the motions, understand them. And if your trainer can’t explain their format on an ANATOMICAL level, it’s probably time to find a new one.
*Think these websites have nothing to do with you because they’re directed to the bodybuilding population? Think again. To any degree, bodybuilders have what we all want – they lose fat while building muscle. Your goal may have nothing to do with a stage, but if you’re going to get leaner, stronger, fitter, faster, etc., there is information for you on any one of those platforms.
When you’re out of the gym, there are 1,000’s of opportunities to make healthy decisions.
Drinking an additional glass of water
Taking the stairs
Preparing a healthy meal instead of ordering crap
Delaying a craving instead of depriving or starving yourself
Packing your gym bag the night before
One healthy decision cultivates another, and before you know it, you’re making habits left and right. There is an opportunity to better yourself every minute, every hour. Open your eyes, be mindful and present, and take it. Need more thought-starters on healthy habits? Read all about it, bishes.
Write your shit down. See it in print. Put it out there. It sounds kitschy, but it works, if you’re feeling super creative make a vision board. Display whatever it is you make somewhere you can see it and LOOK at it every day. Absorb it don’t just glance at it.
Go one step further and list all of the obstacles you need to overcome to achieve, or outline a step-by-step guide as to how you plan to go about making your goals come to fruition.
Eliminate Sources of Stress
Goals are sacrifices and sacrifice is automatically linked to stress. In some instances, while pursuing a goal, you’ll want something you can’t have. That’s stressful! So eliminate whatever you can.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s stressful when faced with temptation, say a bar, or meeting friends at a restaurant. So cut it out. HEY! IT’S NOT FOREVER. Give yourself a month to focus, let the process do its thing. Once you gain some traction, you can afford to indulge more and more without any major setbacks. Use that time to explore a new workout, go to bed early, pamper yourself, or tackle your to-do list.
Time goes by really quickly. You’ll hardly miss whatever you’re giving up for the short-term once you start to experience some results.
So there you have it.
Motivation comes, and it goes, but it can always be refreshed and rediscovered from within. Revisit your why again and again and I can almost guarantee your butt will be off the couch and walking to the gym (or wherever it is you need to go) in no time.
Because you can, you will; you have to. It’s all in the name of a life better lived.