I want to talk a little bit about motivation and why, in my humble opinion, it’s the most over-rated and ridiculous concept out there! People ask me all the time “how are you always so motivated to train and eat well?” The truth is…I’m not! I’m disciplined, and that is a vastly different concept. I have a very clear and distinct reason for doing what I do and living the way that I live. So when the alarm goes off at 5am, it’s not my motivation that gets me out of my warm cozy bed, it’s my self-discipline. In my eyes, discipline amounts to self-love. How much do you love yourself? Enough to accomplish what you know is best for you? Enough to push and strive and work towards what you know you want? Self-love and self-care can be seen as selfish acts but fulfilling your potential and living a healthier, fuller life is about as far away from selfish as you can get. We need to start standing up and being our own cheer squad.
Ah yes, motivation. The be all and end all to being fit and healthy, right? wrong! so very very wrong. Motivation is absolutely fantastic, that feeling of productivity and drive to smash your to-do list and train as hard as you can is priceless but, for most people, it doesn’t last. Motivation is fleeting, it will always come and go. I’d go as far as to say that I run off about 10% motivation. Roughly 10% of the time I really feel like training and planning meals and being organised. 10%, that’s it!! If I relied on this, I wouldn’t get very far. So what do we need to do? Set some goals, focus on a really strong why and then get into a routine of exactly what we know we need to do and take little steps to get us there. I know for certainty that my end goal will be completely worth any struggle that it took to get me there. Even if the end goal seems like way too much of a distant dream, we all know the amazing feeling that exercise, good food and looking after ourselves gives us. So enjoy the process and it won’t feel like such a struggle.
Developing a strong why is so so important! This is what’s going to get you up an hour earlier, make you say no to the third and fourth biscuit and force you to walk that extra mile. If your why amounts to anything along the lines of “to look better” or “to fit into that dress”, then it will most likely only keep you going for so long. Instead, try and focus on something slightly deeper and more important. Most people want to get healthier and fitter for reasons far greater than just “the dress” even if that’s all they’re thinking about in the beginning. I’ve seen it so many times, the people with the drive and the focus will always be doing it “to run around with their kids more” or “to increase their mobility” or “decrease their pain”. It’s these driving factors that will keep you going time and time again. Your why moulds your level of discipline. It shapes your routine and gives you that little dig in the ribs when you need it. With that in mind, take the time to really think it over and discover what has you at the starting gate in the first place.
So next time you think that someone has it easy or is just born permanently motivated, STOP, re-asses and know for complete certainty that they are there because they know what drives them and they have built and developed their own self-discipline. Further more, take comfort from this because if they’re doing it then so can you! It’s not meant to be easy, it’s not meant to happen all by itself but you don’t need me to tell you that it will always be worth it. In case you’re starting from scratch, I’ve popped my favourite tips to building a routine and discipline below.
- Plan your exercise. Whether it’s a walk, a run, a class, a gym session, whatever….just plan it. Pick a day, pick a time and write it down.
- Set goals and make sure they’re measurable, specific and realistic. Having a goal of ‘getting fitter’ is good but having a specific and measurable goal of running 5km is fantastic and much more likely to keep you on track. I don’t care what it is but be exact, make sure you can measure it and give yourself a realistic timeline.
- Plan your meals. Just like with your exercise, write it down and plan ahead.
- Set an alarm. ONE alarm, not 10 all at 5 minutes apart. Stick it away from the bed if you need to, but set one and get up the first time round.
- Have your exercise clothes set out and ready. If you’re training first thing in the morning or straight after work, have your gear ready to go so you’ve no excuses.
- Make a vision board. This can be anything from a fancy wall of hopes and dreams or a page stuck on the fridge, either way have something visual you can look at to remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
If you’ve any more tips and tricks or experiences with waning or flourishing motivation, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. As always, thanks for reading 🙂