Motivation is a funny thing.
At it’s best, motivation is a tool to get you started.
At it’s worst, it is the very thing that’ll stop you from being successful.
You see, motivation is an emotional. It’s a feeling. And it’s usually set off by another emotion.
You feel ashamed that all your friends are 20lbs lighter than you.
You feel embarrassed to take off your shirt at the swimming pool.
You are disgusted with yourself after eating that second molten lava cake AFTER a big dinner.
You are sad that you have no energy to play with your kids.
All of these things are feelings that lead to feeling motivated. They hit you like a ton of bricks, and BOOM! i’m motivated now, baby. You sign up for a gym, you throw out all your junk food, you post motivational posts on your Facebook wall as you eat chicken, rice, and veggies.
You. Are. Unstoppable.
Then, something starts to happen. You have a weekend out with friends. Your breakfast the next day is more about curing that hangover (because you’re in pain, another feeling) and less about losing belly fat. You feel crappy so you skip your workout. That makes you feel bad because it’s the FIRST DAY you’ve skipped on your 15 day life-changing experience of being motivated. You’re sad, so you eat some ice cream after dinner. Not as much as before, but definitely not the will-power you had two weeks ago.
So, what the heck just happened?
Just like any emotion or feeling, it starts to go away. Remember that ton of bricks that hit you? Yeah, well, it might’ve left a bruise, but even those go away too. The FEELING you had is gone, and with it, your desire to get results. So what’s left? How do some people stay motivated while others feel they simply can’t?
The truth? Nobody is motivated that long. The people who get the results are those who don’t need to feel motivated to get the jobdone.
Losing body fat is hard work. Gaining muscle is hard work. Earning a D1 scholarship is hard work. And yet, there are unmotivated people doing this every single day.
Someone recently asked me how, after over a decade of working out 3x or more per week how I still look forward to working out? Know what I told them? “Look forward to it? I just show up and do it!”
You see, the person with the most motivation does not win. The person who views it as a job to be completed wins. Even as you start, you have to recognize that at some point, 5am workouts don’t sound awesome anymore. Skipping a few nights a month hanging with your friends so that you don’t drink 2000 calories AND miss the next day’s workout will not sound COOL AND TOUGH AND HARDCORE three months from now. Probably not even in three weeks.
But, you just do it. You either want to get results, or you don’t. You either will endure, or you will not change.
Look,this post may sound harsh, but here’s the thing.
I could just as easily be writing this to myself. In fact, I probably am writing this to myself. In March I set out to lose 50lbs, to be lighter than I’ve been in 4 years. I’m down around 30ish pounds, and that was almost 8 months ago. I have 20lbs to go, and it’ll probably take me another 6-8 months.
Motivation is long gone. And honestly, so is some of my ability to have more success. I don’t have every single meal planned out to a T. If someone wants to get a drink, i’ll get one with them. And if there’s a party at my house, i’m not gonna sit in the corner while everyone else has fun.
But I did to get the job done. Then I let off the gas for a bit, and have been coasting. Two weeks from now starts the last leg.
There are TWO saving graces on the lack of motivation you might’ve thought you’d in this post. The first is that you don’t need to sacrifice or feel a certain way forever. Maintaining is far easier then getting to the goal. Not “easy” necessarily, but far, far easier.
The second is that when you stop feeling motivated, you now should know that you are not alone. Not only has every person that has ever quit on themselves felt the same way as you (which are probably the only people you’re thinking about) SO HAS EVERY PERSON WHO HAS EVER BEEN A RAGING SUCCESS. Yepp, the person you emulate does not have a special reserve of motivation. They just did the work.
Once you’re there, the work involved takes a considerable amount less effort.
Put in the work, and move on with your life. No motivation required.