This guide has everything you need to know about how to get motivated.
So if you want to increase your will power to get in shape or change any area of your life, you’re in the right place.
I’m a retired soldier and have been a personal trainer for 17 years. Here’s what I know about how to get motivated and develop self-discipline in one 8,000-word (and growing for the book version) article. A lot of different shapes, sizes and types of people were able to get motivated and achieve their goals by using this information.
It wasn’t that way at first though…
Before you continue, remember that learning how to get motivated only gets you in the mood to do things. We have intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation, which are both temperamental and fleeting. Self-discipline will always win the day. And we’ll talk about that.Self-discipline is getting things done, even when you don’t feel motivated.
I believe anyone can learn how to get motivated and accomplish any goal by following these 10 steps
- Understanding The Difference Between Self Discipline And Motivation
- Motivation Begins With A Desire – Focus
- Modeling And Learning
- Making A Plan
- Stacking Instrinic Motivations For Discipline And Habits
- Become The Thing – How To Get Motivated From Dreaming And Visualizing
- Never Give Up – Only Modify The Approach
- Becomimg Patient
- Loving The Work
- Expecting Success
If you would prefer to read this on your digital reader, there is a book on the way. I will email subscribers to the newsletter when it’s published. There is an open discussion on how to get motivated set up in the comments after this guide.
A few years back I had great success personal training people that came READY to lose weight and get in shape. The kind of people that needed to know WHAT to do, and how to do it.
Unfortunately, I was only having mediocre success with the others. Those that needed motivation.
My military approach gleaned from my time in the Army was based on people that WANTED to push through. In personal training, these are “easy” people to train. They do what you tell them and are usually the achiever/athlete types.
What I had to learn, was how to motivate those couldn’t push through whatever it was that held them back.
About that time, I also put my gym into the financial hole. I moved into a new location, with too big a lease payment and no business plan. At the time, this was MY biggest personal failure. Now I knew what it felt like to want something, but feel beaten.
I got the “win” juice sucked out of me on that one, but there was a positive. I learned what it was like to feel defeated. Going through that made me more empathetic. I learned that when we fail at something, the last thing you want is a scolding. You want simple actions, that will produce the results, that will get you out of the shitty situation.
A pat on the back and a little encouragement from time to time doesn’t hurt either.
I also learned that what most people call “failing” is actually running a challenge. Everything you’ve ever achieved was within your current set of abilities. If you really want to improve and take on a challenge, go after the thing you’ve “failed” at… THAT’s the thing that will show you who you are, what makes you tick and what you’re capable of.
Every time you “fail”, think of the hundreds of thousands of others out there that didn’t fail. They didn’t fail because they didn’t have the parts to even try what you’re doing.
So if you’re beating yourself up out there, please take it easy on yourself. People try to beat us down physically, mentally and spiritually every day. You have to be your cheer squad.
Look for the happiness around you. Fixate yourself on it, and start planning to succeed again.
You make mistakes. So what. Fix them, and keep moving towards your goals. If you don’t know how to fix them, then find out by asking someone who does. In our case, when it comes to fitness motivation and how to get motivated to get in shape, I have the answers for you.
If at any time you need to reach me, the contact information on my website is the best way. I can help you with challenges you may face that are specific to you. Challenges not covered in the material I cover here. Go ahead and email me. I look forward to helping you in any way I can through my online coaching program.
Okay… Now we’re ready to go.
Motivation Begins With A Desire – Focus
Pick your objective and focus on it. Do not be swayed by other shiny objects.
This seems such a simple concept. It is not. It’s sneaky.
It’s sneaky because we can be motivated by opposing forces.
Motivation is a feeling. I can be motivated by a desire to eat junk food while being equally motivated to get in shape. Self-discipline decides which motivation wins.
It applies to goals as well. I can really want to gain muscle and burn off fat. The argument of this being possible aside, it’s still more efficient to focus on one goal.
I finally settled on only achieving the pistol squat and handstand. I could now use the power of focus and not waste time on distractions. In the free minutes of the day I squat or work a piece required for handstands. That’s all. This focus multiplies my return.
If you’re not doing something for the fun of it, then you must be doing it for the massive payoff or to avoid a big time pain.
First, let’s get the elephant skeleton out of the closet.
People blame being out of shape on crappy genetics, lack of willpower and no self-control. That’s fairy tales. No matter where you are now, you can improve upon it.
You can do it. You can, and will improve your physical condition. All it takes is doing the right things, long enough and in enough quantity to see the change you desire.
It’s as simple as putting enough “good actions” into the fitness bank to outweigh the “bad actions”. By this measure… there is never a failure. There are only days that don’t take you closer to the next immediate goal. You can eat a 500 calorie chocolate bar if you do 550 calories worth of exercise. If there is no exercise, well, then it was a “no forward” day. You’ll get it tomorrow. You’ll get it as long as you keep trying.
All we need is a long-term positive net change. Like the stock market. It goes up and down but you don’t cry or party on an hourly basis as you watch the news. You look for an over all upward trend. You need enough discipline to get a slight, upward, trend.
BUT WAIT… it’s my belief that finding it VERY hard to discipline yourself to do something a certain way is a sign. There may be another way or method you should be pursuing to bring about your desired result. That or your goal isn’t amazing enough to stoke your fires. In other words, at this moment, getting in shape is not the most important thing in your life. Cakes and couches are where it’s at for you and that is not a bad thing. They’re the most important thing to you right now and you’re getting something that you need from them. You’ll have to sacrifice what you’re doing now though, if you want to get something better down the road.
Here’s an interesting thought to toss around. The benefits of pursuing any challenge include developing discipline and learning patience. Not to mention discovering who you are and what makes you tick. These knowledge bombs are priceless. Easy things don’t grant these gifts.
So what if you did this whole fitness thing for shits and giggles? What if you actually found it fun and enjoyed the process?
Your motivation and dedication levels link to how important your goals are to you. If you feel that losing weight is important enough, the motivation to act will take care of itself. If the actions you take are correct, then you will receive positive results and are all set.
Unfortunately, sometimes we start fired up but then fizzle and fade. After not seeing anything in exchange for the effort, we lose motivation . That’s when most people guess they are not talented enough. That they must not have the ability to succeed at this. Not so…
You can improve anything as long as you practice correctly and for long enough. There is a trick though. You. Must. Focus. If you do not, your life will leak in many directions and some things, like time, you can’t get back. So how do you get in shape when your motivation and will power suck?
Many people are smart enough to know what needs doing to move toward their best lives. The knowledge is out there everywhere for every conceivable pursuit. But knowledge is not what makes us succeed or fail most time. It’s putting that knowledge into practice.
So if you know what needs doing to move towards your goals, why are you not doing it?
Besides a lack of self-discipline and an inability to give yourself the kick in the pants you need…
One reason you don’t pursue your dreams is because of the bad habits you do that have put you in your current situation. In other words, you are now hard wired for failure.
You need rewiring.
We all know that most things worth having in life take effort. Find the information you need to work towards your dreams. Then apply your effort without reservation. That’s the easy fix for the self motivated. But that’s not why you’re here.
But for others, it’s easier and more enjoyable to stay where you are now. Some bad habits are enjoyable. It sucks to put in the effort if your not 100% sure you can get there. It’s hard. You’ve tried and failed before. Why?
First, you applied wrong actions. For example; you did all cardio and no weights. Good intentions but no results. Motivation fades. Second, you didn’t persist and give it your real full effort.
Now, you face some choices. Try another approach, which is no big deal if your dream is worthy of your time. Or figure out why you are not giving it your all, readjust, reorganize and prioritize. Then keep going until it happens and expect it to happen, and don’t put a deadline on it. By doing all the correct things you can towards a worthy goal, you can do no more. Keep going and allow the body to respond in correct time.
You will run into obstacles, every one does. All personal development has obstacles. So you take the time to figure them out and learn from them. This is a process of attempts, failures, successes and corrections.
But you’ve decided that getting in shape is worth it, so you persevere.
That personal commitment to yourself is one of the keys.
Excuses tell us where our weak points are. Overcoming these weak points not only gets you in shape but gives you tools to use for the rest of your life. It puts your “personal flaws” under the microscope and shows you how to “beat your flaws.” Now all areas of your life will be unstoppable if you apply what you learned.
Another reason that people can’t break bad habits is because they think they are flawed. Doomed to a life with some sort of shortcoming that makes their dreams impossible. Maybe someone a long ago, said you were a failure. But you don’t have any shortcomings. You and I are exactly the same except I run my brain a little different. It’s different patterns, habits and personal identity. We are getting to how you can run successful patterns too.
Listen. You can get in shape. It’s not that big of a deal. Reset all the buttons and habits and trigger spots. Its time to get tough and take possession of the results you cause in your life.
You have to face the fact that waiting longer is not going to improve the situation. Best-case scenario is that you maintain you current level of unhappiness. Usually things get worse unless you take charge, gain control and change your actions.
Getting in shape is all on you. There will be a lot of big challenges and uncomfortable situations. But you WILL over come them and you will get stronger with each small victory. No matter how small that victory is.
Remember you are rewiring. You take a step forward, make mistakes, reset and move forward again a little better.
I’ve been overweight by 40 pounds. I was 210 and thought I was doing alright. I was in a “bulking phase” for bodybuilding I told myself but it was denial. It took someone telling me I had multiple chins to wake me up. I would have preferred a gentler nudge, but it was what it was.
Now, I’m 170 lbs. and not “fighting to keep the weight off” or “maintaining my weight loss.” I’m a fit person. That’s all there is to it, and I’ll continue to be that way because that’s who I am now. That’s how I am wired now. It doesn’t take much effort to stay this way.
So I was in denial. I thought I was doing okay. Where are you right now? Do you know for sure where you should be and how far from that you are? I’m asking because, sometimes when you face the reality of the situation you get a “holy sh#t” moment. It lights a fire under your butt. Weddings have that effect on my clients. It’s amazing how motivated ladies become after that dress gets picked out.
But know that you’ll never be 100% satisfied.
Nobody ever reaches the peak of their personal success pyramid. Weight loss and fitness are a part of that. We all strive to be our personal best. Some can get close, but no one achieves full self-actualization. Self-actualization means a complete understanding of who you are. It’s a sense of completeness, of being the best person you can be. YOUR BEST. It’s something you strive for because not looking, will leave your feeling depressed.
You’ll always want to look and feel better than you do now. That will not go away. That is human nature. We like to become better. Get to a place of working towards progress but being happy with what you are NOW. Then the whole process of getting in shape is a lot less panicked and self-demeaning. You stop beating yourself up so much. Beating yourself up is a VERY unproductive thing to do for several reasons we’ll get into in a bit.
Motivation is a slippery subject because it’s mental. It’s a slippery fish inside your head and there isn’t too much of a users manual on this brain thing.
Let’s keep digging
Making A Plan
Goal – Plan – Modeling – Habits – Identity
Let me explain.
My biggest secret to getting in shape is consistent application of the tried and true principles. These are; resistance training 3-4 times a week at a fast pace. Increase activity outside the gym like walking more. Cut back on the processed foods.
Simple right? It’s the consistent application that is hard.
Goal = Get in Shape
Plan = Resistance training, increased activity, cut out junk foods.
This leaves us with habits and identity. You need self-discipline long enough that your actions become habits. These habits then become who you are.
The Master Key To Unlocking Self-Discipline: Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
Intrinsic motivation is doing something because you want to. It is one of two main types of motivation. Intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Understand these motivations. They explain why some people achieve effortless success from an outside perspective.
Intrinsic motivation is when people engage in an activity for its own sake. There is no obvious external incentive that pushes them. A hobby is a typical example.
A Hobby Is Intrinsically Motivated
Hobbies are something you do because the sheer act of doing them makes you feel good. It’s the guitar player that loves the sound of the music and didn’t even know that people make money doing it. Regardless, he practices all the time for the simple joy of hearing the instrument. Feeling the vibration against his chest is enough of a reward.
Intrinsic motivation has no wish of receiving an external reward for time spent on achieving a certain proficiency.
When you ask someone who is intrinsically motivated why they do something they say things like “Because it’s fun.” Or “I don’t really know why, I just do.” Intrinsic motivation does not have to be “born in.” It could be something from your childhood. Like father playing the guitar as you went to sleep. Now you “want” to hear the music. So you play.
The flip side of intrinsic motivation is extrinsic motivation. This type of motivation is like a carrot and stick. Extrinsic motivation has motivated employees, citizens and slaves since the beginning of time. It’s the tool of overlords.
It’s do or else.
A Big Stick Is Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsically motivated things include paychecks, avoiding pain, promotions, praise, public recognition, and goal achievement. It’s extrinsic motivation when you want the end result but not the process.
Losing weight is a prime example. People want the beach body but don’t enjoy working out. They want the outcome but don’t enjoy the process.
Extrinsically motivated people can be avoiding negatives and not just seeking a reward. For example, getting punished, looked down on, or scorned. These situations hurt very much and are motivating but in a negative way. Extrinsic motivation disappears when the sting of the pain goes away or you collect the reward.
It’s extrinsic motivation if what you see in the mirror hurts so bad that it causes you to work out. Because when you lose 20 pounds and don’t hurt any more, you start eating junk again and sitting on the couch more. The weight comes back and you are right where you started 3 months ago. Same place, except this time you feel like even more of a failure because you actually HAD IT but let it go.
This is where you could feel something inborn prevents you from ever being a success at what you try. This is where you could figure you are not the type of person that can climb to the top. However… this is wrong. You can. It takes rewiring through continuous practice of a new set of thoughts and habits.
What Drives You?
Drives and desires are needs that activate behaviour toward goals or incentives. These are unique to the individual. External stimuli may not be required to encourage the behaviour. Deficiencies such as hunger and pain avoidance are basic drives. More subtle drives are the desire for praise and approval. These motivate a person to behave in a manner pleasing to others.
If the process towards the goal feels good you’ll be motivated to apply yourself. If doing something lessens pain, you’ll also do it. But once the pain is gone, you’ll probably cease the action that rectified the situation. Until the situation arises again. UNLESS the memory of the bad situation or pain stays vivid enough that you never want to go there again. The other is that you feel so good where you are now, that you never want to lose it.
Fear Of Loss Motivation
Fear of loss is strong in bodybuilding. Knowing that you can lose hard earned muscle by skipping workouts drives you to get back in the gym. This extrinsic motivator feels like a slave driver living in your head. Yet, if you love the pain of lifting, the pump and winning against progressively heavier weights, the motivation becomes intrinsic.
Your motivation will come from either seeking the pleasure of something or avoiding the pain of something else. You need to set new patterns and thoughts of correct behaviour.
I spent 15+ years trying to get my perfect body. It ended when I won my weight class at a bodybuilding show. I thought once I was “perfect” then all the girls would be at my beck and call. I also thought guys would respect me. Neither was true but I didn’t know it until much later.
Day in and day out I weighed and measured my food. I choked down dry chicken breast and drank tuna and diet pepsi shakes. Sometimes I made myself physically sick while training. I drank enough coffee to choke a horse trying to jack myself up to train as intense as possible. I actually got nervous knowing my workouts were coming up later in the day.
One day I tore my biceps. It took me six weeks to recover. I lost all the muscle I spent 15 years developing. So I said screw it. I stopped eating protein. I became a vegetarian and started doing lots of mobility and gymnastics work. I’ve since come back to the middle and now enjoy my eating, training and life in general much, much more. The reason is that now I do a lot of eating and training for the sheer pleasure of it. This means I now look forward to it and do it a lot more. A positive state of mind is intrinsically motivated.
In retrospect, tearing my biceps was one of the best things that ever happened to me. It knocked me out of my obsessive rut. It freed me to be who I really was.
Now what if there is no way to find some joy or motivation in something you HAVE to do? Let’s hypothetically say you hate exercise. But you’ll die of a heart attack if you don’t eat better and lose weight. If this is the case, then you are going to need heaps of self-disclipline. It’s the hero of your whole story.
Self-discipline is needed any time you need to take an action regardless of your emotional state.
In other words, even if you don’t feel like it, you’re going to do it anyway because you have set your mind to it.
If you are intrinsically motivated one direction but the action that needs to take place is down another road, then you need short term self discipline. Self-discipline comes in every time you choose between two foods of different nutrition values. It comes into play every time you have to choose between couches and crunches.
The thing about self-discipline is that when you use it, it gets stronger. If you haven’t used it in a long time though, you’re going to have to get the wheels moving again. Start with the smallest action and continue to do it until habit takes over.
So if you have say 100 pounds to lose, often people will try to change their diets completely. Start working out twice a day, six days a week and lose a steady 3 pounds a week. It sounds great but that’s a lot of self-discipline for someone that hasn’t had to show any in a while.
Work those self-discipline muscles out slowly. Try instead of completely changing your diet, make sure you drink 3 liters of pure water a day. Instead of crazy, two a day workouts. Try going for a walk at least 4 times a week. You can always build on success. Soon, you’ll be unstoppable.
The secret to success is to do what you can. Right now. Then pat yourself on the back for having done it. When what you did no longer seems challenging, try something a little more.
Whatever you do, don’t look at what other people are doing, achieving, or even suggesting. They don’t know you. YOU know you.
If what you need to do right now is try to walk the stairs in your house 5 times by the end of the day then that’s awesome. If you actually do it, then you are a rock star. That is a total a “plus one” victory.
Squatting 100 repetitions to me feels about as hard as walking those stairs to you. It’s a challenge, but not unmanageable. But if I asked you to go from doing nothing to doing 100 squats right now, you might not get around to it! It’s too big a jump. For now.
When you finally decide to go for the future of your dreams, the person you are now will no longer be sufficient to the tasks ahead. You have to become more to have more.
Learning self-discipline is a personal commitment. There is no external method of tricking yourself. Learning self-discipline is making a contract with yourself and not letting yourself down. It’s expecting the best of yourself.
To recap, you have a goal and a plan. Now you do the smallest step forward. And once you start moving toward your goal, don’t stop. Do something every day to move you closer toward your goal.
Now that we’re moving, don’t get discouraged. The process is giving you rewards. And you’ll spend a lot more time in process than at the destination goal. The size of the goal or the amount of time required to accomplish it don’t influence you. It’s not about winning or losing, but going the distance that is the victory.
It’s easier if you don’t have to think or plan once you get going. While initially planning, break down the goal into small daily activities. Things that you know you’ll do. And do them.
This way every day, every week, every month you make progress. You complete your predetermined daily activities, and you move forward towards the goal.
This feedback loop grows stronger.
This is why the most important single quality for success is self-discipline. With the power of discipline you do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.
Let’s recap what we know about self-discipline so far.
1) Self-Discipline is the ability to “make yourself”. You use strength and willpower to force yourself into motion. Your strength breaks the power of inertia that holds you back.
2) It’s the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it. This means that you make a plan, set a schedule, and then do what you say you’ll do. You do it when you say you’ll do it. You keep your promises to yourself and to others.
3) Another definition of self-discipline is doing what needs to be done whether you feel like it or not. Motivation is action because you have to or want to. Self-discipline is action no matter what. It’s got to get done, so get on with it.
Self-discipline is getting “it” done when you’re not motivated.
You see, anyone can do anything if he feels like it. It’s easy if he wants to do it because it makes him happy, if he is well-rested and has lots of time. However, the true test of character is when you do something that you know you must do whether you feel like it or not. Especially when you don’t like it at all.
In fact, here’s how you can tell how badly you really want something, and what you’re really made of. Can you take action in the direction of your goals and dreams even when you feel tired and discouraged? Even when you’re disappointed and you don’t seem to be making any progress? Very often, this is the exact time when you will break through to great achievement. Because when the night is darkest, the stars come out.
People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. Strive to increase order and discipline in your life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. But when you do it you feel like a boss. You rule yourself. You’re free.
Now that’s what self-discipline is… here’s how to develop self-discipline so you can kick ass at whatever you want:
1) Set deadlines
2) Discover and do what you do best, and what’s important and enjoyable to you
3) Focus on habits. Replace your bad habits and thought patterns, one-by-one, over time, with good habits and thought patterns.
4) These habits become your identity. Who you are. Then they start to become intrinsically motivated. Meaning you need less self-discipline to push yourself forward.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
The truth of the matter is that learning self-discipline is not easy. Self-discipline is NEVER an easy thing. It’s disciplining the self. Becoming your own taskmaster. It’s ruling the kingdom of your life with an iron hand.
But it’s your iron hand. Your iron will.
The job of learning self-discipline is never over. It doesn’t let up and that’s why it’s an admirable trait. People stand in awe of someone that can do what is required, even when they don’t want to do it. Self-discipline is a very close cousin of courage. Because it’s acting despite, and that’s hard for most people. But you can grow it by doing what we discuss here.
Never Give Up Just Find A Different Approach
Let’s focus back on fitness motivation. How do you get motivated so you can stick with an exercise routine long enough to see results?
My answer is you can try enjoying it. I don’t need to motivation to workout. Why? Because I don’t do the types of exercise I dislike! Neither should you.
Cut back on the self-discipline and motivation required by finding a path to the goal that you enjoy more. There are always several different ways to achieve something. Finding the one you like best makes things easier.
I’ve found what sort of physical pursuits I enjoy. For me that is running in the woods occasionally, may 2-3 times a month. I enjoy working on freedom of movement. Things like yoga, dance and handstands. I also enjoy movement-based workouts. Things like making myself better at getting up and over a wall. I like learning to jump further distances and occasionally lifting something heavy. Wait a minute. That sounds a lot like playing around. EXACTLY. For me, it’s fun.
The side effect of all this fun is staying lean, muscular and strong.
People often tell me they know what they like to do and what they don’t like to do. The problem is they can’t keep a consistent routine. There will be days where they’ll do really good and others where they talk themselves out of it.
But what they think they like and don’t like is actually, “What I can tolerate and what I hate.” Consider this; people like eating chocolate. I’ve never had anyone pay me $80 and hour to force them to get in an hour of eating chocolate. For some reason it doesn’t seem to be a problem getting that done on their own. WHY? Because it’s fun.
Perhaps they are choosing between free weights and machines. Or the treadmill and the elliptical. They’re choosing between four options at the gym to get in shape. But the gym atmosphere pisses them off. Maybe they love running in the woods. Maybe they’ll run the rest of their lives if only the mind thought of it as an option.
So keep looking for activities you enjoy. Don’t worry about the science of sets, reps, volume and loading patterns. As long as you move and have fun and eat more nutritious food then, YOU’RE REALLY GOING TO DO OK!
Now if you feel that what I just described is not the kind of method that will ever work with your nature, I get that too. I spend 15 years training as a bodybuilder, not enjoying my workouts 100%. But I got them done no matter what. The headspace I was in at that time was that it was work, a job. You want the prize? You pay the price.
Most people go to work for the money. Not because they want to. When it comes to getting your exercise in, if thinking of it like work is what it takes, then schedule it in. Get the work done so you can collect your prize. It isn’t going to be fun but it will most definitely work for you.
You may be the kind of person that needs to keep dangling prizes. Do it then. Maybe along the way, you’ll discover enjoyment in an area you don’t know of yet.
Extrinsic motivation is why military boot camp works so great for getting in shape. People go into the army and either get in shape or basically collapse and die. Not really, but you get punished. Not getting punished is the prize. Finishing boot camp and battle school is the prize. If you don’t get in shape, you’re rode into the ground, punished with crappy jobs and ridiculed with every name in the book. It works. However I can tell you from experience that when the threat is gone, the motivation is too. For some though, personal pride and self-discipline show up. These people can excel anywhere.
Don’t Waste Time Beating Yourself Up
This may sound familiar…”The last couple days were a disaster. We had relatives staying for a big birthday weekend and I WAY over ate. Then on top of all that we had drinks as well.
All day, today, I kept thinking “I blew it” so I don’t even want to go to workout because I feel so gross in my workout clothes. I just feel like giving up.”
I get it, but here is the thing. If you burn your hand putting it on the stove, the quickest way to stop the pain is to take it off. The sooner the better. If you feel disgusted with yourself for falling off your diet then the best thing you can do is get right back on track. Eat better now and start moving. It’s as simple as salad and situps.
On top of that, think about what you did over those last couple of days AND ENJOY HOW MUCH FUN YOU HAD. That’s right. You had a couple days off with good people, good food, and good times. This is life and it’s not all about achievement.
Did you gain some weight back? Yes and who cares. You’ll take it right back off once you get on track again. No big deal. This is a life long thing any way. Birthdays and get-togethers like this only happen once in a while. Getting in shape and losing weight is to enhance the quality of your life. It shouldn’t make you feel like a loser every time you have some fun.
A lot of people bail on their goals when they hit the first stumbling block. They jump ship at the first sign that forward progress has stopped. The thing is that the body is a very complex and dynamic system. It does things that we have no idea why. You can’t control outcomes day to day. There’s water retention, hormones, sleep patterns and plane travel. All you can do is keep doing what you know are the correct actions. Let the body respond the way it wants until you get to where you want to go. A couple days here and there where you get out of sync are no big deal. That’s life. It rolls up and down.
However, if you have not seen any results for a month then something you are doing is way out of line. That’s fact. You know the difference between making a mistake versus not even trying to stick with the program.
Don’t try to control the time frame of your outcomes. Only concentrate on the correct actions you should take. Your deadlines only dictate how rigid and intense your actions are. The results are out of your control after you do the right things.
Tips For When You Have Absolutely No Motivation And Want To Give Up
First things first. I haven’t seen too many clients lose motivation when they were getting results hand over fist. If you wake up every day feeling better about yourself, then the motivation to hit the gym and keep eating healthy food magically appears.
If there is absolutely no motivation then you’re probably not getting any results. That sucks. Nobody wants to waste their time.
Here’s the facts. Take in an adequate amount of food daily for your bodyweight. Some say that is roughly 10 calories per pound of bodyweight. I say if you don’t eat processed foods, then eat as much as you want. Love eating. If it’s natural foods, it’s very hard to overeat. Then do some form of physical activity that gets your heart pretty elevated 3-4 times a week. Do that and you’ll be laughing.
If you say you are doing both then here is what’s going wrong. You are either mistaken in the amount or quality of food you are taking in.
Next. The training. If you have been moving 3-4 times a week like a mentioned and your eating is great then you need to either move more frequently or more intensely. That’s it. That’s as complicated as it gets.
For questions outside the realm of what I just stated above, contact me though the website. I will even be your online coach if that’s what you feel needs to happen. Look at the top link marked “online fitness coach.”
People tell me about when they were younger, had no kids, were in college, didn’t have shift work. They exercised and ate healthy because they had a trainer, a friend, the stars were aligned. They lost a ton of weight and everyone that saw them said how awesome they looked. Positive feedback was everywhere. Life was good. Then all of a sudden the weight started coming back. First it was 5 pounds, then 10 and finally to right back where they started PLUS 5 EXTRA POUNDS!
The normal response from most people? Completely give up on your self and fade into depression. At this point, you don’t want anyone to get close to you. You’re embarrassed of your body, and you feel completely unattractive.
You’re depressed and angry with yourself. You want to feel motivated to get going but for some reason…NOTHING. You’re stuck. It’s too much. You don’t care any more.
Or do you? You’re depressed, disgusted and angry with yourself right? Then you do care. But like you said before…it’s too much. You’ve slid too far. There is so much that needs to be done from here.
Yet, working towards a goal no matter how timidly, still feels better than sitting in idle despair.
There are a couple things that could happen here. You could spontaneously decide that you are going to do the right things from sheer mustering of will power. It sometimes happens. You could also hit your bottom, where the pain of what you have let happen is so great that you can’t stand it anymore. Or you could try to feel A BIT BETTER. Forget about everything and try to feel A BIT BETTER.
What does that look and feel like? First, I need you to forget about the bad stuff. That’s going to make you feel worse. I want you to feel better. Maybe think about the fact that if you DID want to go for a walk you could. You have two legs. Having two legs means you’ve got a pretty stacked deck compared to some people.
Feeling dejected, depressed and sapped of all energy? What’s a better feeling from here? Believe it or not, it’s a little anger. At least anger has teeth. From anger comes determination, which is a little aggression mixed with positive expectation.
We all have some triggers that can take us to the level of emotion that is one positive above the one you are at now. Don’t jump levels unless you have some special sure-fire technique. It’s too much of a jump to go from depressed to unconditional optimism. That will feel like a lie. Like you are faking it. When you’re depressed, the overjoyed, optimistic personal trainers are the ones you want to punch in the face. But I guess that’s good because that’s anger and it’s a step up from depressed.
I once read that, “Thoughts lead to actions, which lead to results.”
That quote has stuck with me through the years. What does that saying actually mean? It means, the drive to succeed comes from a big enough ‘WHY.” As in, “Why am I bothering with this goal?”
How you’re going to achieve the goal can be figured out. The ‘HOW’ is the tool. It’s like this information which I’m giving you right now. It’s a part of your overall plan. As a tool, it could be a hammer. But there’s lots of ways to get a nail into a piece of wood. You don’t have to use only a hammer. You can use a shoe or a rock or whatever. Information you can come by easy.
The ‘WHY’ is what is most important because the ‘WHY’ is the motivation to take the right action and to get what you want. It all comes down to big enough reason why.
As I mentioned earlier, that “why” can be intrinsic or extrinsic. It doesn’t matter.
Here is an example.
Why should I bother working my legs and stretching today? The answer is because in 2 months you have a vacation in mexico. You want to be able to walk without pain. To engage in activities and not hold everyone up. You want to enjoy your hard earned vacation.
That’s what pops into your mind when the couch is strong.
Key #1) A Big Enough Reason Why.
If you want to achieve something for a big enough reason why, then you’ll start thinking about a plan to make it happen. The big reason why, gets you to thinking about what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s the reason why you would even want to use a hammer to put that nail in the wood in the first place. There is a reason why, or you wouldn’t even bother. You start planning how to get what you want and you start taking action to get you there no matter what method you use.
The thing about fitness motivation is that, if something that is important enough to you, if it’s a big enough ‘WHY’, then you’ll self motivate. You’ll already have the reason why inside. But if you don’t have a big reason why, perhaps you just think you should, then it’s kind of a lost cause. “Should,” doesn’t cut it long term. The truth about a “should” is that you’d rather do something else.
A deep personal fire on the inside is the best. Remember that intrinsic vs. extrinsic stuff we talked about earlier?
Fitness motivation from an external source is a ‘SHOULD.” It’s a trainer, or a friend or a spouse. These are only good for jumpstarts. A little kick to get going. For long term success, you have to have a personal reason why.
Key #2) Your Habits Become Your Identity
When you’re ready, you’ll do it because you want to. You’ll need to on a personal level. You’ll reach that point where you’re like, “Enough is enough. This has got to get done.” So you’re going to set a destination and then take the proper actions. You control the destination and your actions, but not the time to completion. The key is doing what is right and then the results will come as fast as they can.
You take the right actions long enough until they are habits. The habits done long enough become who you are. First you force yourself to run. Then you develop the habit of running. Then people call you a runner. Runners run, and not going is no longer a thought for you. It would go against who you are.
Key #3) Do The Best With What You Have, Where You Are.
All or nothing is a very slippery slope. It makes you quit when you don’t quite get it right or when you have messed up a little. NO ONE gets it right all the time. We PRACTICE good habits. We make conscious decisions about when to do something outside the plan. Like party and eat junk.
A lot of times people berate themselves when they slip up. Because now everything’s not perfect anymore. They feel like they completely failed on their eating plan or their exercise routine. It’s so much better to do what you can, and always try to be a little bit better. Leave well enough alone if you don’t.
As long as you can accept the “slow down” in results that come from your negative actions, then you’re good to go. Doing what you can, is better than doing nothing at all. Always.
If squats are best and you never squat, then leg extensions will give better results.
So, do the best action that you can in any given circumstances because that’s all you can ever do, right? And, you should be proud of it too, because if you want a couple of chocolate bars, then do it. You know that it’ll have to be burned off later to get you back on track. Accept the fact that you’ve slowed down on how quick you reach your goal enjoy the treat. You’re calling the shots. There’s no race. You’re always in control. YOU ARE IN CONTROL. There is no judge. There are actions that cause certain results and you are going to be a by-product of the actions that you take.
Simple. You choose the action you take and you get a result. No right or wrong. Just changes in the amount of time it will take you to reach your goal.
Now, your internal dialogue and your self-talk is the software that’s running you. Thoughts lead you to actions. Like a software program that creates outcomes in computers. If you change thoughts, you change your actions. If you think you’re too tired to work out then of course you are. But thinking you’re unstoppable even when your tired, will get your running shoes on.
3 Fail Proof Ways To Keep This Fitness Motivation Going And Take Your Weight Loss To A Whole New Level
You’re all jacked up right now, but this is only the short stick of fitness motivation. Those first couple of days when something grabs you by the collar and makes you want to change your life.
We’ve all experienced it. It’s that amazing episode of our famous weight loss show. You’re jacked. You want to get after it. You hit it hard for a week and then completely drop the ball. It’s another situation that PROVES you have no will power or self-discipline right? WRONG.
We have the short tail and long tail when it comes to self-motivating. One is like oil and the other is like gas.
Those couple of days, maybe a week, the desire burns hot and intense. But it goes quick and then we slow down. The intensity drops and often we stop as we try to light the slow burning oil. What can you do to succeed next time?
Trick #1) Stick The Plan And Do Anything On It No Matter How Small.
Commit to the decision that you’ve made and follow the course until you succeed. Believe me, is only a matter of time.
When you don’t lose focus or switch methods and continually persist… you achieve things.
Go shopping and get the good foods you need. Throw out the majority of those big offender foods or better yet, donate them. Give them to somebody else. Get rid of that stuff in the packaging with words that you can’t pronounce. If you can’t say it, you’re body can’t assimilate it. Get rid of the diet pops, the sweet drinks. Only consume water, coffee and tea. Go to the only things that should be going in you for fluids, with water taking precedence.
Now figure out time chunks for your exercise as well. Figure out if it’s going to be three, 10-minute chunks every day. Maybe you’re going to take 30 minutes a day in one shot. It could be 60 minutes, three times a week.
30 minutes right now, focusing on what you’re going to have to set in place to make this work will help lay things out. It will give you a solid plan of action. From this plan decide on your daily actions that will become habits.
Treat your time schedule with the same importance you give a doctors appointment. I mean, once it’s set you’ve got to show. Include times for shopping and food preparation. This way when you’re over the top hungry, there is always something healthy ready to go.
Get yourself a workout journal. Any lined notebook will do. You’ve got to keep track of your sets, reps and exercises that you do, and on what days. It’s also a great place to journal what you feel mentally and physically each day. This way you can repeat the actions that make you most productive and happy. Keep track of those winning strategies. Keep building on them until you get this list of super empowering things that make you happy and productive.
Check out the house and plan your workout if you won’t be hitting it in the gym. What I mean is look around the house and imagine what you will use and where you will workout. Figuring this out means that you will be ready to go the moment you’re free or if the mood strikes you.
A chinup bar in the door way. Squats when you go in the bottom cupboard. Pushups when you play with the dog. Life has endless opportunities for fun.
So, when you say, “It’s time”, you’re not going to go, “Nah, I don’t know what to do first for legs.” You’ll start lunging down the hall.
Also, tell your family what you’re doing and why it’s important to you and your future family’s happiness. You’re going to need their support and help to make this happen. At first they may not understand and will often resent your new behavior patterns. It’s hard enough to battle your own demons let alone the rest of your family. So get that squared away too.
Trick #2) Rejoice In EVERY Small Victory As You Go
I can tell you with absolute certainty that you will never be fully satisfied to sit on your laurels once you start seeing progress. Your idea of success will shift and morph the closer you get to your original goal.
Millionaires are never happy once they strive and achieve the first million. Clients of mine are never happy once they get to their goal weight. Now they MUST do a half marathon. There is nothing wrong with this. But take a moment to appreciate how much you’ve done and accomplished so far.
Take this fitness motivation guide for example. Did you know that only 10% of people that buy a book actually finish it? That means that if you read this part, you’re pretty much a super star already for getting this information into your noggin. Pretty cool.
This is the push. You came looking for fitness motivation. This push carried through becomes momentum. Once you get the momentum going, you’re going to be unstoppable. So get ready to feel awesome again because you have to remember this is not only about you. When you feel awesome, you’ll be happy. Most people like being around happy people more than depressed ones.
This is what being motivated and self-disciplined does. It makes you better for yourself and that leads to better relationships with the ones you love.
Self-discipline gives you the control and the power to become better against the standard that you hold for yourself. To protect, play, and love those around you, you need to be able to move and be healthy.
Health is number one for everything so let’s get moving today. You’re in control. You’ve got the wheel and you can do this.
No one is coming to save you. No personal trainer can bust your hump forever unless you have unlimited funds. There isn’t a magic pill to take the weight off by itself. When you are ready to take charge even ONE STEP towards the progressive realization of a worthy goal means, you’re succeeding.
Here to help,
While you are excited and fired up to get started, I’ve set up a free workout, with video instruction included, that you can do anywhere, any time, without any equipment, even at home by joining our community of like-minded movers and groovers below.
If you have any suggestions to help make information better or if there is something you would like to see in the next edit, please leave it in your Amazon Review Of This Book if you decide to pick up a digital copy.
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