This is a question that I was asked recently by a friend/client. After honestly answering with a bit of a pep talk, the question still stuck with me. I have spent some time thinking this one through. What seems like a simple question with a simple answer, has actually made me dig deeper.
Motivation is defined as "the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal". Summer is usually a motivator. Maybe a big event like a class reunion or a wedding is coming up. Or maybe you just realize that your biggest jeans are too tight and you are not having that. There are tons of motivators in life. The thing about motivation is that it is fickle! When you rely on something fickle, you are headed for failure. One day you will wake up and that good friend "motivation" is going to decide it has better things to do than to get you fired up about your goals and keep your warm fuzzy's about going to the gym at their peak day after day, indefinitely.
The truth is that you aren't going to stay motivated. I believe that when we accept the fact that motivation is not going to be there for us, faithfully, we can really achieve great things. So my deeper answer to the question "how do you stay motivated?", is I don't. When I am determined to do something, I don't need motivation. Discipline and determination drive me to stay focused. I don't know if discipline is a learned behavior, but I like to believe it can be. I like to believe that it is a muscle, like will power, that begins with our attitude. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. I will be honest in saying that there are times that I fall short. I can be a slacker. Winter is my enemy. It attacks my attitude, then it all just starts to spiral down from there. However, because I AM disciplined, I never quit! I fight back. I may slack off and become lazy, but I do not quit! Unless I am on vacation, or resting my body, a week will not go by that doesn't involve me getting at least 2 workouts in and my awareness of what kind of calories I am consuming is always there. I didn't say they are always hard core workouts, or that my diet is always in check. I just said some kind of workout will be happening and I am completely aware of what I am eating and how it affect my goals.
One more moment of truth..... I will admit that I do have a high metabolism and somehow have the physical/genetic make up that carries weight decently. I have never really struggled with my weight, except for when I decided it was necessary to become extremely thin. Here is the deal.... I have curves. I am not sure why it seems like God made tall people "skinny" and shorter people "curvy", but it sure does seem that way to me! And the thing about curves, big bones, muscular builds, etc, is they can make you feel the need to go to unhealthy measures to acquire that "skinny" appearance. Um, if you have curves, no amount of weight loss is going to change that. Lesson learned. All of that said, my genetics don't mean that I have it easy. I think that if I just totally let myself go, I would blow up like a balloon. The fact that I refuse to let that happen is where my discipline might come from. That "attitude" I mentioned before.
So, I said all of that to say this; get to work on your attitude and discipline muscle. The opposite of discipline is laziness. Which one are you? I am pretty sure that if you are lazy, it is something that shows in pretty much anything that you do that isn't something you actually enjoy. Life is full of responsibilities. Some of them are less fun then others. Some of them require more effort then others. Ignoring those responsibilities never makes them go away, it only makes them pile up like dirty laundry. Nobody wants to get that far off track. It just happens. Allowing other things that are more enjoyable to take priority over the things that NEED to be done is a priority issue that gets down to how to disciplined you are. How do you live your life? Do you just go around doing whatever you want, whenever you want to? Or do you prioritize? Do you take care of responsibilities and maintain an attitude of "no work, no play", or do you just ignore them and do what you feel like doing? I would go so far as to say that lack of motivation isn't the issue. We need motivation. It's what gets us fired up to set a goal. But we need discipline to reach that goal. So, "how do I stay motivated?" I don't, I stay disciplined. And so can you.
Please email me or comment below if you have anything to add. We CAN feed off of each others' attitude and discipline. Those things are contagious so let's help each other out! Have a great week!