#49: How do I Stay Motivated? Hint: I don't
Updated: Mar 11
Since I began sharing more of my life on social media, I’ve been asked more than once how I stay motivated. I wish I had an inspiring response, but the truth is that I don’t have a good answer – probably because going to the gym and making an ~effort~ to eat well hasn’t been about motivation for a long time now. It’s a habit.
I don’t wake up and decide if I’m going to the gym. I wake up in the morning and ask myself when I’m working out. Usually, I wake up for the purpose of going to the gym. There are still plenty of days that lifting is the last thing I want to do, but I know that it’s essential for my mental and physical well-being. I can either spend the day upset with myself that I didn’t go, or just go. It’s become part of my identity.
What about when I first started? How did I stay motivated to turn it into a habit? The main reason is that I enjoy the process. I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) do this the way that I do if I didn’t absolutely love it. From the day I started until now, I’ve enjoyed the process of working on myself and the feeling of accomplishment from hitting a new PR (personal record). I was lucky that time wasn’t a rate limiting factor when I started lifting. Most people struggle to find more time in the day, but I admit that this was a time in my life when I was struggling to fill my time.
Another reason that stayed motivated enough to turn lifting into a habit was because there was no self-sabotage. Every single cell in my body wanted to lift. When it comes other tasks, I’ve gone through phases where a part of me had other priorities or felt forced into something, so I let myself self-sabotage. I struggled with my diet for so long because I wasn’t 100% committed. Even when I was motivated, there was some part of me that wanted to sit on the couch and eat Oreos, so I was constantly fighting myself to succeed. Even if I made it through one day, I was bound to fail within the next few because I didn’t want it badly enough. I’m not sure if there’s a way to get yourself to want something badly enough to stop fighting and become fully dedicated.
That’s how I succeeded in changing my eating habits too. During the time that I lost the weight, I was 100% committed. There were days I wasn’t motivated, but I whole-heartedly wanted to achieve the goal badly enough that I didn’t let myself give up. I was able to dedicate 100% of my energy towards success at my goal rather than losing energy trying to convince myself to stick to the plan. If you have any doubt about being 100% committed, unfortunately, there’s a good chance that you’re not.
Honestly, this is probably why I struggled to reach my nutrition goals in the last few months. My goals are very reasonable, but time and again I’ve come up with excuses and ways to self-sabotage because I wasn’t 100% committed. If I was committed enough, the goal wouldn’t be daunting because I’d know that I would get there.
If you’re looking for a magic secret, I’m sorry that I don’t have one. I guess the “secret” would be to find what you want to achieve more than anything else and then just do it. It’s never going to be easy, but if it’s a realistic goal and you want it badly enough, you’ll get there without thinking about it.