What Is Motivation And Why You Can’t Rely On It

When you got up this morning, did you have grandiose plans on getting certain things done? Something like this “tomorrow, I’m getting up first thing (when my alarm first goes off) to workout'” only to find yourself hitting snooze or endlessly scrolling on The Gram. It’s not like this doesn’t happen to everyone, it does. I am here to show you how to continue making weight loss or improvements in strength or size, without relying on it. You will understand behavior.

What Is Motivation?

Defined, it is the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. Pretty simplistic definition and you likely had something close to this in your head, even if you din’t know exactly what it meant. Motivation is always a hot topic, especially in exercise and fitness, as people are always looking for ways to channel their internal motivation. Fitness enthusiasts are either looking for inspiration, staying motivated, or learning motivational tips. For some, it can be as easy as finding motivational quotes or a song that gets them in the right mindset for their next workout. 

Intrinsic And Extrinsic Motivation

There are two types of motivation; intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is easy, this is reward based motivation. You work hard at work as good results get you a bonus. Intrinsic motivation is about doing something that does not get a reward. Think of it as you like doing it or find what you are doing interesting. These are two very different things but both can motivate us toward a specific fitness goals. 

We Are All Motivated In Different Ways

What works for me may not work for you. Anybody can perform physical activity, when they’re motivated. What really separates those who have success in their health journeys is the dedication to strength train or perform aerobic exercise whether they are motivated or not. The truth is, motivation ebbs and flows and you cannot always depend on it being there. “My friend, motivation, where are you?” 

After a period of time, it’s no longer about motivation techniques. You may think those who have built amazing physiques or large muscles have motivation to spare. You may be surprised to hear they face the same issues on motivation level. Just ask anyone who is in contest pro prep how high their motivation is weeks before a show. They are in a significant caloric deficit, low on energy and surely motivation levels are lower than when they are not preparing for a show. You may say they are motivated as they are preparing for a show but this is just their “why.” 

You Have To Find Your Why

The reasons we all workout are certainly different. My reasons are not the same as yours and that is why you have to find your why. Just like the bodybuilder or power lifter who has a goal to compete in a certain weight class, you have to know why you are doing what you are doing. If your reason is for some other person, you might lack motivation. You have to determine why you want to exercise and that is your motivation. You have to think back to why you started in the first place so when motivation is low, you just get your ass up and do it. 

Anyone who sticks to a workout routine, has built the healthy habit that gets done whether you woke up felling like a million dollars or 5 bucks. It becomes about the feeling, the confidence, accomplishment and the proof with changes in your body. You have to create the new behaviors so that even on days where you don’t feel at your best, you’re deep into this new pattern and it has now become automatic. Instead of fighting to find motivation it becomes second nature. There is no needing motivation, it is just a part of your life now, it’s now a good habit.

What Are Some Usual Barriers To Exercise Motivation?

The Easy Ones To Identify

  • We’re too busy
  • You are too tired
  • It’s boring

Although these may be the defaults that we tell ourselves, the actual reasons may be different. 

The Harder Ones To Identify

  • Exercise is not familiar. Meaning, structured or intent full exercise is new to you. You have never done it before or never done it consistently. Doing something new is difficult.
  • You consider starting a new workout routine but you do not understand how to do it or maybe you don’t know where to start?
  • Exercise just doesn’t fir your current lifestyle. You sit in front of a computer so why do you need to be fit? Watching TV all night is also common and that doesn’t take much effort so why bother. Since you don’t need to be fit to get things done, why waste the time?
  • Exercise is viewed as difficult. You read about lengthy workouts or ones that need extensive amounts of equipment and you don’t have two hours a day or own what is required.
  • Negative consequences from not weight training and building muscle or even getting into cardiovascular shape happen over an extended period of time. If it doesn’t hurt you immediately, you’ll be ok or have time to fix it in the future. You’re wrong. What takes time to affect you, especially with your health, will be harder to overcome if it is not addressed early.

What Are Some Tips to Get Through This?

Find purpose in what you do. What is your why!? What are some reasons to workout outside of strictly weight loss or muscle gain? Is it to play sports with your kids or not get winded every time down the basketball court. It could be as simple as wanting to mow the lawn easier.

Do what you like. If you don not lie what you are doing, you are more likely to quit. Figure out what you like and go from there. What you like can also change over time. Just because you don’t like it now doesn’t mean you won’t like as you commit for a longer period of time. There are many ways to exercise, you don’t have to powerlifting or do cardio to get results. You have many options to choose form.

Stop Relying On Being Motivated

Once you build the discipline to be consistent, you will no longer have to rely on motivation. I have been weight training for over 30 years and I don’t remember when it became less about motivation and more about lifestyle. Motivation is now irrelevant. I get up early morning every day and go about my workout. It’s a healthy lifestyle I built as when my alarm goes off at 4:45 am, motivation is usually quite low. It’s freaking early! I think we would all want more sleep but I choose to have something more. I share this as you can do the same. It’s nothing magical, boring really, but everyone one of us can accomplish this.

Think about this, are you actually motivated to go to work every day? I highly doubt it but you go anyways. Why? It’,s not because you are motivated per say but you do want to earn a paycheck, provide for your family, or whatever else gets you there. Your dedication to working out and getting healthier has to be the same. Not for the same reasons but you need to choose to do it vs. rely on motivation. You do it because you don’t want cardiovascular issues as you get older or you want to get to a healthy weight and build muscle. If you don’t have good reasons for change or make it a priority, no matter what, then it just won’t happen.

The best part is, you don’t need to work out 40 hours a week or even be there 5 days. You can increase strength, muscle mass, endurance, you name it with just 4 – 5 hours a week. That is about 12% of the time that the average American goes to work. Not one of us is motivated 100% of the time but we can all build the healthy habits that will determine how we live.

Don’t let the lack of motivation derail you from being the best you, be a Renegade!

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