Motivation: Your “Why” and The Bottom Line

We’ve set our “SMART” goals, making sure they’re realistic and neither too big nor too small. We’ve examined our sources of motivation, looking at both extrinsic and intrinsic types to ensure we have a couple of each. And yet, we’re still lacking motivation. It’s time to reconnect with your “why”.

Our “why” is the underlying motivation to do something. You may have first found it last week when we talked about sources of motivation. If not, we’re going to find or rediscover it today. For consistency, let’s stick with the goal of weight loss, specifically, my recent weight loss.

Why do you want to lose weight? So, I can look better.

Why do you want to look better? Because if I look better, I’ll feel more comfortable coaching.

Why do you want to feel comfortable while coaching? Because when I feel more comfortable coaching, I feel good about myself.

Why do you want to feel good about yourself? Because when I feel good about myself, I feel like I’m better able to help my clients and be a role model for them.

Why do you want to be a role model for your clients? Because I don’t want to ask them to do anything I’m not able to do myself and feel a sense of belonging within the fitness field.

By working through a series of “Why’s” we discover that it was not truly the looking better that was a main motivator. I wanted to be a role model for clients and feel a sense of belonging in the fitness field. Either finding or reconnecting with this true “why behind your goals is essential to maintain motivation or get to your workout when you are lacking motivation.

Take a look at your SMART goals. Why do you want to accomplish them? Is it just to move better or is it so you’re able to play with your kids? This deeper “why” usually connects with your values outside of the gym. Chances are, the deeper “why” is going to motivate you more than a new workout outfit or pair of jeans ever could. It’s not about carrying the weights, it’s about being able to carry your kids or grandkids.

If you’re lacking motivation, take time to reconnect with your why. Sit down with your goal and ask yourself why you want to accomplish it. Then repeat and repeat and… you get the point. Go through this “why” process five times, more if needed. As with setting goals, this may require brutal honesty and self-reflection. By the end, you’ll have found that deeper motivator to draw on when even the enjoyment of the workout isn’t enough.

Motivation: The Bottom Line

We’ve tackled setting goals, sources and types of motivation you can use, and we’ve reconnected with our true why behind wanting to achieve our goals. Now, it’s time for the tough love.

No one is motivated all of the time. It just doesn’t happen. We all have those days that even with the strongest of “why’s”, dragging ourselves to the gym seems impossible. We don’t have the motivation to workout. I’ve been there, chances are you have been as well. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix or easy trick. Sometimes you have to do it anyway, even if you’re not motivated to do it.

Once I’m at the gym, I either start small, do what I enjoy, or do it anyway.

Start Small

Set a goal of only warming up. Foam roll, go through the mobility and stability drills. Add in a couple correctives. Do your core work. Then assess how you feel. Just starting can be the hardest part. Once you have the ball in motion, it’s easy to keep it rolling in the right direction.

Do What You Enjoy

If I’m lacking motivation or focus, and starting small didn’t get me in the zone, I’ll do things that I enjoy. For me, this might be squats or deadlifts (my favorite exercises). While I’m usually an advocate for staying on a plan and measuring progress, in the case of lacking motivation, I don’t mind straying from the program.

Do It Anyway

Sometimes, motivation is lacking for an extended period of time. To stay on track with your goals, you may have days that you just have to do it anyway. No one said that it’s going to be easy, despite the best laid plans. There’s no quick fixes and short cuts. Some days, the work just has to be done.

Motivation is tricky. It’s hard to grasp some days and others it’s overflowing. There are multiple sources and it varies by the situation. By understanding the sources best for our situation, connecting with a deeper “why” and setting strategies in place for when it is lacking, we’re able to push through and reach our health and fitness goals.

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