Need More Motivation?
Struggling to stick with a diet, exercise plan, or healthy lifestyle? Having trouble getting or staying motivated is quite possibly one of the biggest challenges people have when trying to get in shape.
I’m going to be sharing some of the biggest insights I’ve discovered in my years of psychological research and personal development for creating lasting motivation. This stuff has the power to not only get you motivated to get in shape, but literally transform every area of your entire life.
I have to warn you however, some of what you read can be hard to hear for some people. This guide going to keep it real and hit you with so truth.
Are you ready?
First of all, if you whine, complain, make excuses, fear anything that resembles hard work, don’t take responsibility for your life, and spend more hours in the day browsing the Justin Bieber fan page than you do trying to improve your life, then don’t be surprised if your life doesn’t magically get better. You can’t expect your world to change if you don’t make a change in your world.
Now, I know a few people out there may feel like I’m being “preachy” here… deal with it. I have to tell you the truth if you want to get results. That means telling you what you need to hear to get motivated vs. all the fluff and “feel good” stuff out there that doesn’t actually do anyone any good.
I will say this; don’t believe anything I or any other “expert” says without evaluating it for yourself. I’m just sharing my observations of what works for me and what I’ve seen work for others. It’s also what psychology has shown is essential for creating lasting motivation. Discover for yourself whether anything I share has benefit in your life.
The Critical First Step – Personal Responsibility
Before anything else… I can’t help you and you can’t even help yourself unless you are willing to take personal responsibility for everything in your life including the health and shape of your body. You can’t ever get motivated if you don’t believe you can change things.
Personal responsibility means you can no longer be a “victim” to circumstances. This doesn’t mean everything that happens to you is your fault, but it does mean you can control how you respond to anything that happens to you.
It may very well be true that factors beyond a person’s control have influenced where their health and fitness levels are currently at. Perhaps they had a poor upbringing, were taught incorrect information, or were born with the world’s worst genetics.
But while those things may be partly responsible for where someone is at now, they don’t have to determine where a person will end up down the road.
This means you must decide to take control of your future and believe you have the power to shape your destiny if you want to get motivated to change.
What Determines Your Fitness Results More Than Anything Else?
Getting a fit and healthy body may require avoiding tasty junk foods in favor of healthier foods, pushing through your comfort zone with intense exercise, overcoming the haters who will try to bring you down, and numerous other challenges.
The question isn’t whether you can avoid these challenges or obstacles all together. Instead, the question is whether or not you going to be strong, resilient, and resourceful enough to overcome the unavoidable challenges that you will face.
It’s not your genetics, lack of time, lack of money, lack of knowledge, or all the other typical excuses that will make or break your success with getting in shape, losing weight, or sticking to a healthy diet. It’s how you decide to approach those obstacles that determines your success.
This all comes down to your mindset.
Your mind is the source of your motivation to take the actions that will eventually determine not only the health of your body, but your income, relationships, overall well-being in your life. You should realize now then that all the focus some people have on the latest diet fads, exercise programs, and recipes don’t mean a whole lot of jack squat if one doesn’t have their mindset in order.
Luckily, modern psychology has shown us why we as humans do what we do, how we can “reprogram” our behavior, and that virtually anyone can make lasting inner and outer changes for the better.
Why You May Not Need Yet Another Diet Or Exercise Plan
We’ve determined that ultimate source of your results comes from your psychology.
That doesn’t mean other things aren’t useful, or even necessary at times to get the job done. But think of all the diet programs, training routines, pills, exercise gadgets, and so on as tools.
A carpenter needs tools, and good ones at that to build a house. But great tools in the hand of a person who doesn’t know anything about how to build stuff won’t do a lot of good.
Likewise, a skilled carpenter doesn’t need anything “fancy” to get the job done most of the time if they know what they’re doing. The same tools that were able to build a solid house 20, 40, or 60 years ago still work today just like the same proven workout routines and healthy eating approaches that worked years ago will still work today.
How many people run out to get the latest infomercial exercise machine thinking it’s going to fix their weight issues only to have it collecting dust a few weeks later? The machine (or diet, or “magic pill”) has to actually get used together with numerous other beneficial actions in addition to halting destructive behavior to achieve and maintain weight loss.
Oh wait, they didn’t mention that fact on the ad that said “lose 30 pounds in 30 minutes without any effort?” Surely it couldn’t be because advertisers want you to believe you’re flawed beyond repair unless you just take out your credit card and call today for the fix to all of your problems with your body.
You can’t totally blame marketers though, they just know how the typical human mind works and capitalize on that. We as humans are almost always are looking outside of ourselves for external solutions to internal problems.
But if you focus on yourself, any screwed up beliefs, thought patterns, habits and behaviors, and what not, then you’ll find a lot of the solutions have been available to you right from the start.
To take this in a slightly spiritual direction, this is actually less about “fixing” or “changing” oneself than it is about getting rid of all nonsense we falsely believe about ourselves.
All that being said, there will be some tools that are ineffective, or at least not useful for a particular task, and some tools that are much better at delivering results faster. You’ll find throughout my website recommendations for what I consider to be reliable diet and workout routines, but realize you don’t have to find the “Holy Grail” to get results. There are numerous programs out there that provide great results with fat loss, muscle gain, and health improvement.
Simple Steps To Get Yourself Motivated
1. Take Responsibility
Practice the “ability to respond.” Don’t wait for other people, products, experts/gurus, or things to fix your life for you. YES you should seek out help from others and YES you should use the tools available to you. But you must also remember that you have to do your part as well as an active participant and not just passively “hope” things work out in your favor.
This also means being responsible for your thoughts and feelings.
Well, it may not always easy. But if you practice this daily, you will get better. Plus your results in not only getting more fit but improving all areas of your life will well be worth the effort. If I didn’t passionately believe this information could change people’s life for the better, I wouldn’t have taken the time to share this information with you.
2. Practice Awareness
If you fell down a hole, knocked yourself out, and woke up to find yourself surrounded by total darkness not remembering how you got there, what would be the first thing you need to know to escape?
It would be the awareness that you’re in a hole.
The thing is, we’re all in various “holes” of bad habits, dis-empowering thoughts, and limiting beliefs without even being aware of it and how these things are affecting our lives.
Awareness is essential to making a change.
But awareness isn’t just a one time thing, it should be an on-going practice also referred to as being “mindful.”
To practice awareness or mindfulness, simply notice all your thoughts and feelings as they occur throughout the day without judging them. You may be surprised at what you learn and how you start to change without even trying.
This may seem too simple, but almost everyone, including myself, falls into walking around on “autopilot” most of the day. This single practice can start changing your life right away when you diligently practice it.
3. Focus On Solutions Rather Than Excuses
Even if it isn’t your fault that you’re in the circumstance you’re in right at this moment, that doesn’t mean you can’t do something so you’re not still in this same situation a day, month, or year from now.
What will stop you?
You can enjoy having excuses or enjoy having a fit body (or whatever else you want), but you can’t have both.
Decide which one is more important and say goodbye to the other.
How do you get rid of excuses?
Neutralize them with empowering questions.
Instead of “I can’t” ask:
“How can I?”
The excuse “I don’t have enough time” becomes:
- “What can I do with the time I have?”
- “What can I do that gets results in less time?”
- “How can I better utilize my time (stop wasting it)?”
- “What is more important, doing (XYZ time wasting behavior) or reaching my goals?”
Really, there are endless questions with almost equally endless answers and solutions. That key is to stop making disempowering declarations and start asking empowering questions.
4. Become Process Oriented Rather Than Outcome Oriented
“It’s about the journey and not the destination” or “It’s a marathon not a sprint” are all statements that have unfortunately become cliche, but they express a profound truth.
What you have in your life right now is likely a result of many consistent actions, usually stemming from habit, with compounding results over time.
What good is it if you can manage to find a “get-fit-quick scheme” that actually works and you reach your goals but you can’t actually keep your results?
Getting motivated to get in shape, and then staying motivated to keep a fit and healthy body is a life long journey.
But by making something a habit (subconsciously programed) it will seem easier, more effortless, and will allow you to sustain the results over the long haul of life. It also makes things a lot more tolerable when you realize you’re doing it as a way of life rather than something you “must do” merely to get to an end.
A big key to enjoying the process is to accept where you’re at right now rather than constantly waiting for some future point to feel fulfilled.
This may sound counter intuitive- but if you’re unhealthy, out of shape, and feel like crap… you can and should still love and accept yourself with where you’re at.
Where people sometimes screw this is up they confuse “acceptance” with saying “well guess there’s nothing I can do” and then giving up. Or they associate “acceptance” as approval.
“Acceptance” is NOT about being lazy or refusing to change your habits. Rather in this case it means to “allow what is, to be what is” and observe what is without judgment or fighting it.
Nowhere in that concept of acceptance is it implied that one couldn’t or shouldn’t be making steps to make “what is” something different down the road. In fact, accepting your current condition is essential to changing your current condition.
A morbidly obese person doesn’t need to sit there and continually beat themselves up over the way they are in order to lose weight. On the other end of the spectrum, they don’t need to join a “fat is beautiful” group and give up on trying to lose weight or improve their physical health and well being.
Recognize pain and disappointment can be useful catalysts for prompting oneself to change, but on-going motivation should be fueled by a desire to reach one’s greater potential rather than never ending guilt.
This means if you’ve done stupid things and you’re feeling guilt and shame about it, simply let those feelings prompt changes in habits and then let go of those feelings as best as you can while working on improving yourself one day at a time. Holding onto guilt, shame, and not forgiving yourself over the long haul actually stresses and hurts you on a physical level to the point of even negating the health benefits of improving your diet and lifestyle.
For getting motivation to change, rather than focusing on what you hate about yourself, or what you wish you had but don’t, try noticing all the inherent, short term, and long term benefits that health and fitness will provide to you, your loved ones, and humanity in general. Then pursue your goals not as “goals” or an “end” but as never ending stepping stones to ever increasing greater levels of excellence out of love, enthusiasm, and excitement and see if you notice a difference.
In other words, think about how your goals can positively influence who you become rather than what you’ll have. It’s more about “being” rather than “having.”
For more on this, I recommend the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle for further reading as well as my book How To Stick To A Diet which has many of my best motivational strategies. The website zenhabits.net is another great resource for motivational tips and habit development.
5. Stop Being A Wussy
Now for some tough love…
Rather eat a Snickers bar instead of an apple but can’t because you’re trying to lose fat? Well I’ll be sure to cry myself to sleep thinking about your dilemma in light of the fact that there are starving children in third-world countries who gather apple cores from garbage dumps and remove the maggots from the food before eating just to frickin’ survive and experience life for one more day.
A great way to stop being a wussy and keep yourself motivated is to simply ask yourself “would I rather…?” to constantly remind yourself of your motivations for wanting to change.
“Would I rather eat a candy bar and feel guilty and stay fat or eat an apple and feel good about myself and enjoy a fit and sexy body?”
“Would I rather sit at home and watch Jersey Shore and feel disappointed in myself or go to the gym and feel great knowing I’m getting the body I’ve always wanted?”
This simple question asking combines taking personal responsibility with keeping yourself motivated by focusing on the pain of one choice vs the pleasure of another.
Jim Rohn says, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.”
Just remember any attempt to take the “easy way” out can actually cause you more pain down the road.
Fitness Motivation Summary
- Take personal responsibility.
- Practice awareness as a non-judging observer of your thoughts and feelings.
- What’s outside of you are simply tools, YOU are the root source of your results.
- Ask empowering questions instead of making excuses (dis-empowering declarations).
- Focus on habits and the results come more quickly, easily, and sustainably.
- Accept yourself and where you are on a never-ending journey of growth.
- Practice discipline as the pain of regret is greater than the pain of discipline.
How do you stay motivated to keep fit and healthy?