The other day, for the first time in a long time, I had absolutely not a single drop of motivation to workout or break a sweat in my body, mind, or soul. It was a Tuesday, Tuesday is usually back day. I love back day. In fact, I love exercise in general. So, what was the issue? I wasn’t sore, I wasn’t tired, I’d had a rest day 2 days prior… why was I feeling so unmotivated?
I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no idea.
Did I still workout? Yes I did. I finished my full workout AND tacked some cardio onto the end for good measure. Why? Because I’m disciplined.
Ok wait wait wait, Louise, hold up. How can you be unmotivated AND disciplined??
I’ll start with a definition of the two:
Motivation: the general desire or willingness of someone to do something, or, the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
Discipline: training that makes/teaches people more willing to obey, or more able to control themselves.
So, basically, motivation requires desire and reason, and discipline requires training. What that means is – to put it simply – once you internally run out of internal reasons to do something, you will lose motivation and you will stop doing it. When you’re disciplined, you’re trained to do something regardless of how you feel internally.
This is where I find people “go wrong” when getting into a fitness routine (or anything new for that matter). Once their motivation runs out, which really only lasts a few days, they don’t have the discipline to keep going because they have never pushed PAST those initial few days to TEACH themselves to do something regardless of their feelings.
Why DOES motivation only last 2-3 days at best?
Why does the thought of exercising seem so exciting one day and the next day like the hardest thing in the world? Research says that it takes 21 days MINIMUM to form a habit. That’s about 5 or 6 times the amount of days it takes for your motivation to run out. Jeremy Dean found in a study his subjects took 66 days to form a habit – as in it took the participants 66 days for the ritual they were performing to seem “natural” and not forced. When it came to exercise, even after 84 days, one participant still didn’t feel as though he/she had developed a habit. No, I’m not telling you that to scare you, I’m giving you some perspective on how long it REALLY takes to create that discipline,
Jeremy Dean actually has a great book named “Spark” that is summarized here. If you’re really struggling to get yourself going, I’d suggest giving it a read!
Here what I find to be the top 5 reasons why people lose motivation very quickly (especially in regards to exercise):
You didn’t make a REALISTIC plan.
It’s all well and good making the plan to exercise and get fit, but is it realistic? You’re 50lbs overweight and you work a full time job with 3 kids and a dog and suddenly you’ve decided that you’re going to start exercising for 1 hour, 5 days a week. Great, but how attainable is that? Is that a plan that you’re likely to stick too for an extended period of time? Probably not. Once you realize how hard it’s going to be to stick to your elaborate plan, you’ll give up.
The solution: Start SIMPLE. Aim to just start by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Get up 30 minutes earlier than normal and go for a walk. Make a goal of purposefully increasing your heart rate 2x a week. Make small changes to your daily routine every week and then slowly they will all add up.
You don’t know what you like.
So you WANT to exercise, but what are you good at? What do you like? Are you starting a weight lifting program because it’s something you’re interested in or because your fitspo on Instagram told you that that is the only way to get fit? If you start an exercise program that is something completely opposite to what you like, you’ll lose interest pretty quickly.
The solution: Literally just do whatever kind of exercise makes YOU the happiest. If its zumba, great, do zumba. Running? Awesome go for a run. I find that a lot of the time, newbies follow the crowd of whatever the fitness industry is doing, but I find the easiest way to get involved in doing something is if I enjoy it. So pick something enjoyable. HOWEVER, having said that, you still have to be willing to eventually try new things because who knows, maybe you WILL like it! Weight lifting may look like a chore from the outside until you get yourself into the weight room yourself. Things don’t seem as magical until you realize how exciting they are.
“I want to get in shape but I don’t want to exercise or eat well”. Right, ok then. Hate to break it to ya sister but unfortunately life isn’t as easy as that. Laziness, as you can probably understand, is the main reason why people don’t get things done.
The solution: Anything worth doing usually isn’t easy, so get off your behind and get it done. Simple as that.
You don’t make it a priority.
You won’t get anywhere if you don’t make your new goal a priority. It’s like with anything, if you want to do well in school, you have to make school and priority, and make sacrifices in order to keep school as a priority. Same goes for fitness. I’m not saying miss out on social obligations or meals out with your family for the gym, but you can afford to skip out on watching that hour of Extreme Home Makeover for an hour in the gym. Priorities.
The solution: Is seeing what that dumpy house looks like after being renovated more important to you than getting in shape? No? Then skip the TV and use your time more wisely. If seeing that house renovation IS more important to you than a workout then I think maybe you need to reevaluate your priorities for the sake of your health… just sayin.
You won’t get where you want to be in a matter of days (most likely), it’s going to take some time. With fitness it is especially important to understand that change does not happen in a few days heck, it doesn’t even happen in a few weeks. If you’re new to working out, changes will happen quicker than you expect, but probably not as quick as you would like.
The solution: Don’t let the lack of quick progress discourage you. Every time you give up you go right back to square one – remind yourself of this every time you think about giving up. If it took you 3 years to get this out of shape then it’s likely going to take at least a year to get back into a more ideal state.
Now, head on over to my fitness section of the blog – there are easily accessible workouts there for you to try to get yourself started on your journey to a fitter you!
If there are any specific areas of exercise that you would like to know more about, let me know and I can make a post about it!
Until next time