Motivation is defined simply as: the reason to act.
Seems pretty basic right? If I have motivation, I have a reason to act. If I’m lacking motivation, I don’t have a reason to act and therefore I don’t.
So how does that play out in real life and the world of fitness?
I’ve been spending more time on Twitter lately and it’s been a very interesting experience. I like doing searches to see what kind of things people are saying about fitness, health, nutrition and motivation.
If you do a search for “need motivation” for example, you’ll see people posting every 10 minutes or less on average. Now, this isn’t fitness only, but it still relates.
If you start doing searches about needing a personal trainer, it seems one of the top reasons anyone wants a personal trainer is because they’re lacking their own motivation and need someone to motivate them.
What these are essentially saying is: I don’t have my own reason to act so I want you to give me one.
I see a major problem with this kind of thinking: The motivation is NOT IN YOUR HANDS. In this scenario, the motivation would be in the personal trainers hands. THEY would hold the stick, not you.
If they’re the ones holding the stick and pushing your forward, how are you ever going to build your own motivation? For the rare person, they do build their own motivation, but for most they don’t.
Now this doesn’t mean personal training is bad, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m trying to express is that if you feel you need motivation, getting someone else to push you isn’t going to work in the long run.
What you need instead is to develop your own motivation.
Yes, it’s that simple!
… In theory.
Ever heard someone say: “that’s easier said than done”? Ya, it fits here too.
Building your own motivation can be hard and can take a while. Some days it will be high, others it will be low. Some weeks will be awesome, some will suck. It’s the nature of learning anything, there’s ups and downs.
So the big question should be: How do I build my own motivation?
I know for sure that there isn’t some magical equation that will work for everyone (sorry), but I think there is a guideline we can follow.
Here are 5 steps to building your own motivation:
- Vision – create a strong vision of your goal and where you want to end up. Make a vision board, change your screen saver or post pictures around the house. Having a clear vision of your goal will help inspire you on low motivation days.
- Belief – build the belief that you can. Start slow and start small. Small wins over a few weeks does wonders for self confidence and believing you can succeed.
- Consistency – following through on your goal is huge. Now this is normally where people feel they need the motivation to do this step, but this step can be how you build motivation. Even on the days you don’t want to, follow through with your plan. (this is where it’s very important to start small)
- Reminders – review your vision and goals daily. You’ll need constant reminders to stay focused and not lose sight of what you’re trying to build.
- Expect setbacks – failures, road blocks, set backs and struggle are all part of growth. It’s literally impossible to have growth without them. So stop pretending you’ll be perfect and be okay with the fact that you will have setbacks on your journey.
The final thing I’ll say about building motivation is that it’s often best to reach out to others for support. Even the best of us can use a hand here and there.
Support in my mind is someone who will keep you accountable to your own goals. Someone who can support you to build your own motivation, not be the motivation for you.
I hope this gives some insight into motivation, how we perceive it and where I personally think it should come from. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below.