As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I get asked about motivation a lot. It seems like this is the one elusive concept that clients and friends feel is holding them back from reaching their full potential–“How do you stay motivated to workout?” “How can I get motivated to get up early and meal prep?” “I want to lose weight, but I lack the motivation to stick to a routine.”. All of these are valid questions, but I’m here to burst the motivation bubble today. Are you ready for this? NOBODY is motivated all the time. Not personal trainers, not professional athletes, not dietitians. Nobody. And I’ll go even further to say that motivation does NOT get results. I’m going to say that again. MOTIVATION DOES NOT GET RESULTS. Now, I know that sounds crazy and flies in the face of everything you’ve learned about fitness, so let’s hash this out together.
First, let me say that motivation is great. Sometimes I think there’s no better feeling that that fire in your belly that gets you to the gym and crushes a workout. But, that feeling is never going to last. The routine will set in, the results won’t be as immediate as you want, and slowly but surely you are going to go back to hitting snooze one too many times in the morning until you find yourself right back where you started until you find that magical feeling of “motivation” a few months down the line and the cycle continues. Does that sound like a good way to try and change your life? Probably not. We all WANT to feel motivated to change for the better, but we also all CAN’T feel motivated 100% of the time. It just isn’t how people are programmed to work.
You might be asking, “Okay, Sarah, I get that maybe I can’t be motivated all of the time, but how am I supposed to keep up with all this stuff without motivation?” Good question, internet friend. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s day here or put you off from ever trying to get stronger or lose weight so here’s your solution: DEDICATION.
Where motivation is fickle and fleeting, dedication is resilient. Dedication comes from finding the WHY of what you are doing–what is your end goal and how badly do you want it? Dedication will get you out of bed at 5am and it will get you to spend a few hours on a Sunday prepping some healthy lunches for the week. Dedication is your new best friend.
So how do you get dedication? Well, the good news is, I can pretty much guarantee that you already have it in your life every day, you just need to tap into that supply for your health. For instance, do you get up for work or class on time every day? Do you cook/buy dinner for your family each night? Do you wash the dishes or vacuum or mow the lawn when needed? The reason we do all of these things is dedication–dedication to our careers, providing for our families, and maintaining a welcoming, clean home. Most people don’t really analyze it, but that is what is happening.
Now that we know dedication is already within us, how do we direct that to fitness? It all comes down to finding your reason. I’m not talking about “I want to lose 15 pounds” or “I should eat better”, although there’s nothing wrong with either of those thoughts. Really, I just want you to take those thoughts one step further; for example, “I want to lose 15 pounds to feel confident in my body” and “I should eat better so I have the energy to play with my kids”. There has to be a specific, tangible reason for you to stay on track, otherwise you lose steam. Keep your eye on the prize and, when all motivation is gone, you will have the dedication to take you to the top.
Have you struggled with motivation vs. dedication? What are your reasons for wanting to be healthier? Let me know! Together we can achieve our goals and beat that fickle monster of motivation.