Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Let's Talk Motivation

Motivation has never been a problem with me in life, whether internal or external, whether it was about working or about getting fit. Due to this fact you would think that staying motivated is easy for me, but it isn't. I have just found my motivation and what works for me for staying motivated. This is the topic for today's Let's Talk: Motivation.

Motivation is one of the biggest struggles and hurdles you'll ever encounter in life. When it comes to fitness it's more noticeable because you have to come to terms with it and notice it for you to get anything done and for you to accomplish your goals. The first question most people ask is often times not what to do but rather "How do I get motivated to get going?" and once they've gotten going, very often times they run across the question "Should I keep going?" and today we're hear to help you make sure that answer remains yes!

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Motivation can come from a few different places, and it can come from events. You have:
  • Internal Motivation
  • External Motivation
  • Dramatic Life Altering Events

Internal motivation comes from your past experiences that has molded you and shaped you and has given you a push in a direction. For example, if your parents struggled with something all of their lives, you would be motivated to try and avoid being that way, without really having to think of it. This is because the idea of not being like you viewed your parents to be is a satisfying idea. The same can be said for fitness. If your life experience has lead you to where the idea of being in good shape satisfying for you then you are being internally motivated to be in shape. 

External motivation is when there is a reward for your hard work that is tangible. In this case it would be like trying to get jacked and tan so that you can be attractive people of the opposite sex. This is an external motivation. It could also be if you can save money on your health insurance by losing weight.

Dramatic Life Altering Events are events that put things into perspective. This is like when the doctor says that if you don't lose weight you aren't going to live long enough to walk your daughter down the isle. You have something happen to you that changes your internal thought process and suddenly you are equating things differently. This means that you start to see your health as satisfying.

The most important type of motivation that lasts over the long term is internal. The reason for this is that you tie satisfaction to what it is that you are doing. Your external motivation and dramatic events usually only affect you for so long before you go back to the question "Is this worth it?" So how do you build internal motivation? How do you wire yourself to find satisfaction in something without needing a carrot? The answer to this is the key to changing your mindset and making something into a priority.

We talked about life experience being an internal motivator, but what are other things that cause you to find satisfaction in something?
  • Being good at something is often times a huge motivator. How many times do you hear someone say "I get intimidated about the idea of going to the gym where there are people who are already in great shape"? This is what Planet Fitness is built on. I'm not throwing shade on them either, they found something that resonates with people. This requires time and effort for most people, but from my experience in dealing with people who have struggled to get good at something, but managed to succeed is that once they find this success they are immediately hooked for life, and what's more is that they immediately understand the worth in what it is that they put the effort towards. If you're trying to find motivation for something that you know you're not good at, and that makes you uncomfortable then the key is to break down each triumph and milestone into smaller versions. This will allow you to notice growth as it comes and this will allow you to see your successes more visibly. This will drive you because it's easier to keep going when you can see the movement.
King of the Hill
Find ways to have these moments
  • Discarding fear often leads to hidden motivation coming out. One thing that I say a lot of the time is that fear is the killer of all that is good. In the context of motivation fear is the killer of dreams and goals. Fear can cause you to quit before you even start, and when it doesn't it can still get you during your quest for whatever it is you're trying to do. Do you ever catch yourself asking "What if I fail?" or saying "I can't do this! I can't do this, Mister Crabs I can't do this!" this is a direct result of fear. Sometimes this can be caused by external factors such as a friend saying that you aren't going to be able to do something which causes you to falter? This fear or lack of hope saps your motivation, because why should you put in work for a failing effort? The good thing is that this can be defeated, and when your fears are stilled your motivation will skyrocket. The cure for fear builds on the previous point about counting your successes often. Fear can only have a hold on you if you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. For you this means that you should start with the end in sight and with each milestone within reach. Having success builds hope and confidence, which drive out fear! 

  • Do things that bring you joy. This sounds like an obvious one, but think about it. We live our lives a lot of the time while doing things that we just have to do because we have to. This sometimes causes us to neglect joy as a prospect. For example. I workout because it brings me joy, it's enjoyable to me, regardless of whether or not I get results which takes the fear and need for success out of the process entirely. For someone who doesn't enjoy working out, this means finding something physical that does bring them joy and doing that. (Yes I just gave you permission not to squat if you don't enjoy squatting). You'll rarely ever have to search for motivation to do something that you enjoy doing.

  • Find motivation in self-improvement. This also sounds hokey, but hear me out. If you do something and you can tell yourself that it will make you better in some way, that gives you an extra hitch in your giddy'up right? Well that is a way to motivate yourself internally. Remind yourself that what your doing helps you improve or helps improve your life. You may wonder why you should Deadlift if you aren't a powerlifter, and it's simple, getting a strong deadlift makes your daily life easier, this is independent of muscle growth, the confidence boost you receive from feeling strong, and the endorphin rush you get from it.

  • Build a habit. If you have ever had a bad habit, even knowing that it's bad doesn't make it easy to break. This means that you don't need motivation to do that habit anymore to keep you doing it. The same can be said for good habits. This means that once you have started something (Start doing whatever it is you're thinking of doing! Start now!) if you can keep doing it long enough to where you don't think about it anymore, you're just doing it, then you've won. A great example of this is when you find a nutrition plan that just clicks for you after awhile, and you end up eating right without thinking about it. You can make a habit out of anything, given time. 

Keep in mind that these are just a few ways to become internally motivated, but these are powerful ways to become and stay motivated to reach your goals. 

Let's Recap

  • Lasting motivation is internal.
  • Take a step!
  • Celebrate success and break up your goals into small manageable pieces, and celebrate each step forward and each triumph.
  • Shed your fears by keeping the end in sight.
  • Do the things you enjoy.
  • Recognize that what you're doing will make your life easier.
  • Build a Habit
If you'd like to read more articles about understanding and finding motivation, click here.

Let us know in the comments what keeps you motivated!

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