Written By: Katie Purcell
Greetings, and welcome to Part 2 (of 2) of the Fierce Gear OCR micro-mini-series on Fitness/exercise motivation!
To start, let's review a little bit of (important) context.
In the beginning of 2020 a worldwide health crisis was brought to our attention -- in the form of the pandemic. We didn't realize it yet but COVID's arrival had basically set the tone for the rest of the year: at times, it felt like the next several months were one long parade of bad news, confusion, and disappointment.
With everything from the murder hornet situation to staggering unemployment rates...combined with the stress of adjusting to homeschooling and Lockdown orders causing Life-As-We-Know-It to stop: it's not a huge surprise that so many of us lost some (or all) of our motivation to keep up with our fitness routines.
...Except that it seemed like for some of us, the pandemic had no negative effect on training routines or fitness consistency whatsoever. And that made a lot of the rest of us feel kind of crappy and we started kicking ourselves: wondering what our deal was and why, after almost a year of this coronavirus roller coaster, are we still struggling so hard to get back into a fitness groove??
The first article in this mini-micro-series discusses what the whole deal is with "fitness" and "motivation" anyway, including stuff like:
🏆 The relationship between the concepts of "motivation" and "fitness" 🏆 Why "motivation" actually gets way more credit than it deserves🏆 Why it doesn't mean you're "lazy" or "don't care enough" about fitness if you've been having a tough time finding your fitness motivation-mojo
..If you missed it and want more deets, head on over to: Lacking Motivation To Workout? You're Focusing On The WRONG THING (Part 1). It'll get you up to speed and explain some of the reasons why you might have gotten into this fitness "slump" in the first place...and it also includes some pretty cool Michelangelo trivia.
It's totally worth a 5 minute read.
Or: If you're in a hurry, you can just take a look at the image below to see the Key Takeaways:
And Now: onward to Part 2...(a.k.a., the part about what you can actually do to FIX this motivation issue.) Here we go.
If you've been having a really, really, REALLY hard time finding your motivation to work out during this whole coronavirus situation...and several weeks or months of inactivity have continued to stack up because you just cannot figure out how to get yourself to exercise in any way at all...then this might be just the kick in the pants that you need.
It's a little bit of *tough love* (emphasis on the "tough").
It's a shift in perspective: forcing you to look at the same situation but challenging you to interpret it from a different angle.
And it's also a shift in focus: because instead of wasting time waiting on a life raft for "feelings of motivation" to get you moving again, you take the power back and you get you moving again.
The real reason why you are currently in a self-perpetuating loop on the struggle bus is because you are directing your energy towards fixing the wrong thing:
Your problem is not that you need to "figure out" how to "get motivated." In fact, motivation can't the problem: because it was never a "solution" in the first place.
If you want to be able to make sustainable changes on a reliable, consistent basis: then you need to focus your energy on something else:
We've all seen the "motivational" fitness quotes I'm referring to here: the punchy, hyper-intense, borderline-aggressive catchphrases demanding that we either get with the program, or face the reality that we don't deserve the goals we're striving for.
Part 1 of this micro-mini-series mentions this type of messaging -- and that it can be characterized as "overly simplistic," and a negative contributor to the whole,
mentality. But here's where that first "perspective shift" mentioned earlier comes in:
There is a key element unifying all of the "fitspiration" quotes out there -- and it's literally what makes the difference between those of us who succeed at reaching our goals, and those of us who fail.
...The reason why these quotes are so powerful -- despite being so simplistic -- is because behind even the most intimidating-looking quotes: is our ability to choose.
...Then once you've made your choice, all that's left is to follow through....and (when you look at it that way) there really isn't room for any other interpretation: because you either do it, or you don't.
So maybe it really is that simple, and the Gym Bros had it right all along...and we just didn't realize it, because we hadn't caught up yet.
Truth Talk: Everyone feels down or unmotivated at some points...it's how you approach the situation (which is a choice, by the way) that can make the difference between whether you continue to suffer, or thrive and live your best life. You can't "will" for motivation to strike you, (or to stick around!)...no matter how many stars you wish on or how badly you want whatever that ultimate goal is.
Sometimes other stuff gets in the way and you lose your momentum-mojo...and that's just life and there's zero you can do about it.
But what you can do -- and where things are within your control -- is that you can make the conscious, proactive decision to be dedicated, and to stay committed.
Grit...Dedication...Tenacity...Discipline: whatever you want to call it, it represents your sustained commitment to something that matters to you: regardless of the obstacles/setbacks along the way.
True...they're pretty much interchangeable within the world of fitness: both are used to invoke aspirational images of us being our best selves...kicking ass and crushing goals. But here's the difference:
Being dedicated means: you've made a commitment.
And a commitment means: you're not waiting for anything.
Being dedicated means: you've made a commitment.
And a commitment means: you're not waiting for anything.
You don't need to wait for motivation to get you going, because you get you going. Because you've made a commitment...not only to your goals, but to yourself.
Dedication isn't something you passively hope for - waiting for inspiration to *strike* and electrify you into enthusiastic, meaningful action.
It's something that you actively build -- day by day -- even when it sucks. (Repeat: Even. When. It. Sucks.)
You manifest it yourself based on your values and the things that matter to you at your core: because you know that where you want to go is worth the discomfort of getting there.
All of this "just decide to be dedicated" stuff is great in theory, but it also probably sounds like something you've heard a million times before. So here's a piece that most people miss: if you want to embrace this mentality to get back on the fitness train with any success...you absolutely must ask yourselves these two questions first: and you need to be honest with yourself about the answers.
Think of them as kind of a one-two punch: one reassures you that you're doing the right thing -- for the right reasons...and the other solidifies that follow-through is not optional.
For Example: You might realize that fitness is still important to you, because one of your core values is to "live a healthy life." ...But that doesn't necessarily mean you have to continue to hold yourself to the same "beast mode" standard that you do when you're training for specific events -- and that's okay.
Someday everything we've been missing will come back -- in some version -- and you can jump back in whenever you're ready. But in the meantime, trying to force yourself to continue training at that same level if you're not mentally into it (...or feeling bad about yourself if your current fitness efforts don't "measure up" to what they once were): is just sabotaging yourself.
Let go of whatever you might be holding onto that's making you think you have to do xyz. You don't. Get clear on what's really going on with how you're feeling: and what you actually want to do, and why, and make sure it's for the right reasons.
...Because if you can't be honest with yourself about what you actually care about: you're probably going to continue to have a really hard time getting sh*t done.
Once you've done a little introspection and you understand how important fitness is in your life, and what role it plays, and what you want to get out of it...the next step is to get real with yourself on your ability -- and willingness -- to commit.
...This is the part when you do the thing -- where you flip a switch in your head and no longer give your brain permission to "open up the floor" to any discussion about whether or not you're gonna follow through.
You need to retrain your brain: through a conscious, consistent effort, to squash whatever narratives might pop into your head to derail you.
And you also need to take full ownership of this as a conscious choice: because that's the only way it will hold together on days when you're struggling. When the self-doubt tries to creep in, you'll be able to shut it down FAST by reminding yourself: you took the time to think it through, and you chose to make it a non-negotiable. A period-end-of-story kind of non-negotiable.
You reach your goals when you remain dedicated to doing the work needed to achieve them. The way you show that dedication is through consistency; and the way you establish consistency is by making it a habit^^.
...Then: something really cool happens.
Basically, when you decide to be dedicated to something -- and I mean really commit to it down to a subconscious level -- what you're doing is exactly that: making a commitment.
You're making a commitment to your "current self" (i.e., the person you are today) and also to your "future self" (i.e., the person who you're aspiring to become). Then each time you follow through on that commitment you're proving to yourself that you can become that person who you want to be: because you're literally already doing it...and that gives you ALL the warm fuzzies. Not to mention, it's a huge self-confidence builder.
And all those *positive vibes*/feelings make you that much more likely to continue to be consistent and follow through...because who doesn't want more warm fuzzies??
As you can see in the (highly scientific) graphic above: the positive feelings we get from following through on stuff we know is important to us combine to deliver a surprise bonus: and it's one that seals the deal on the whole "dedication" vs. "motivation" debate.
All the great positive feelings you get from taking dedicated action toward your goal actually make you feel motivated, then the *charge* from that high becomes fuel causing you to stick with it by exercising AGAIN: in order to repeat the cycle and get those warm fuzzies all. Over. Again.
To summarize: You find the "motivation" you had been looking for all along...because you created it for yourself.
Through the following two actions: 🔥 Being honest with yourself -- about what actually matters to you 🔥 Deciding -- for yourself -- to go "all-in" and make it a non-negotiable
.....you cut out the extra "noise" and can focus 100% on just getting the work done: every. damn. day.
And as it turns out: being true to yourself...and focusing on a conscious, consistent effort to follow through...were all you really needed in the first place.
That's how you build consistency: and that's how you build your life.
So. Time to wrap this all up in a neat little bow. Here are the main points to take with you as you walk away from this whole thing...
Key Takeaways From Part 1 (Article #1): 🏆 It's okay -- and normal -- to lack motivation to exercise sometimes 🏆 Being "motivated" isn't all it's cracked up to be, anyway
Key Takeaways From Part 2: 🏆 If you're serious about wanting to get out of your fitness rut, you've gotta get real deep -- and real honest -- on what you actually care about (...which is harder than it sounds) 🏆 Taking the time to think through why your goals matter to you, and making a conscious decision to take ownership of those goals: makes you a lot less likely to let yourself off the hook when it's time to do the work🏆 When you follow through on a commitment to becoming a better version of yourself: you feel awesome --> your self-confidence increases --> you start to believe that you can actually be that better version of yourself --> you're more likely to (do/continue doing) the thing that made you feel awesome...BECAUSE YOU FEEL MOTIVATED, FROM YOUR OWN SUCCESS AND AWESOMENESS.
^^PS: If you want to go deeper into the process/benefits of habit-forming/consistency, I highly recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.