In my line of work, I hear a common theme from a lot of prospects.
“I just don’t feel motivated to exercise.”
This lack of motivation is clearly spreading and leads me to believe we need to declare some sort of state of emergency (I don’t really know how states of emergency work).
I know what you’re thinking… “You haven’t posted for over two weeks and you want to lecture us about motivation?”
(Perhaps I shouldn’t point that out in case this is the first time you’re reading this blog… so I’ll move on.)
Every January, hordes (full disclosure – I had to spell check that to make sure it didn’t appear I was talking about the TV show, Hoarders) of people rush to 24 Hour Fitness and Gold’s Gym in a national display of guilt over the holidays. “This is the year,” everyone will say defiantly. We are a nation overflowing with motivation.
Then what happens?
Three weeks later, health club attendance returns to normal, people stop working out, and we try to pretend it never happened. And if you ask most people, they’ll tell you that they just lost their motivation. Well, there’s a reason for that. Know what it is?
(Warning: condescending italics coming)
Motivation is fleeting – stop relying on it to get stuff done.
You know how every spring people go into fits of spring cleaning? They get a burst of motivation and ride it to a clean house that will end up looking like a disaster area in a month. It doesn’t matter what you are motivated about; a few weeks from now, I guarantee you will no longer still feel so moved. It’s great for getting things started, but it’s terrible for getting them finished.
When it comes to fitness, it’s so important to realize this, because ultimately we’re talking about something that is, depending on your age, a decades-long endeavor. And I guarantee you, even the most motivated among us aren’t going to be motivated to go to the gym three days a week for 30 years.
The key is to realize this, and stop relying on motivation to do things for you. I don’t know anything about sailing, but that’s not going to stop me from making the following analogy (I’m a firm believer that almost total ignorance about a given subject shouldn’t stop one from talking as though they know about said subject). If you go out on a sailboat, the wind is going to help you move in the right direction, but only when it’s blowing. Motivation is going to help you move more quickly to your goals, but only when it’s blowing… I didn’t know what verb to associate with motivation, so I just repeated “when it’s blowing” and I’ll let your mind finish the analogy for me.
You have to have something else to rely on when it comes to something as long-term as fitness. You have to have a plan… a system. I don’t like bodybuilding, but bodybuilders sure are good about sticking to their workouts. And I’ll tell you this – they don’t always want to do them. But they’ll do the workouts anyway. Not because they’re motivated to do so (they’re not… at least not always), but because they’re sticking to their plan.
Make your workout times an appointment in your calendar, develop an accountability plan, have something (or several somethings) in place that are going to keep you on track when your motivation wanes. Whatever you do, don’t blame being unmotivated for not staying active. One final analogy (because I rock at these)…
If you’re riding a bike down a hill, you can go pretty far and pretty fast without peddling. But sooner or later, the hill is going to end and you’re going to have to pedal the dang bike. Motivation, just like hills, ends when it ends – be prepared to do some peddling.
P.S. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about peddling drugs.
P.P.S. I realize I didn’t have to clear that up, but I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry.
‘Til next time!