the motivation myth

The Truth About Motivation

Think motivation is something you’re just born with? Think again, we’re here to try and dispel the motivation myth.

Is motivation the single greatest thing mankind has ever discovered? Without it, we can do nothing. Without it, we can’t function. Without it, we can’t eat healthy foods. Without it, we can’t train. Seemingly. As a heath and wellness coach I hear the following phrase more often than you could ever believe: “I’m just not motivated”. It’s used to validate our lack of progress in every area of our lives from our fitness goals to our financial goals to our career goals. We present it as a valid reason not to better ourselves.

I’ve got some news, most people are “not motivated”. Maybe it’s our thinking that needs to change.

The truth about motivation

The unfortunate reality is that motivation won’t always be there. In fact, for most, it’s likely to be absent more than it’s present. Show me somebody that’s motivated to train every single day of every year. Somebody that’s bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm every day. I’ll show you a liar.

Motivation is a temporary emotion. The person who managed to bottle it would be make a fortune. You see, you’re not the only one. Everybody wants that push, that little edge. So when you wonder how Karen from the gym has more motivation than you, maybe you need to reconsider. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she just has a better strategy.

What to do in the absence of motivation

How do we continue to progress then if we’re not motivated? It’s simple. We make it habit. Non-negotiable. People often ask me how I’m so motivated to train every day. They can’t get their heads around it. How could one person have the motivation to turn up, day in, day out? And then keep that habit over a period of years? The truth is very straightforward. I’m not motivated to train every day.

I have good days and bad days, just like everybody else. Everybody, at every level of training, has those days. The difference between me and most people is that I don’t let those days derail my progress. I have a plan that doesn’t rely on motivation. I make training a part of my daily life. I view it very differently to the majority of the population. They view it as an optional. Something that might be done if they’re in the mood, have time, or if Eastenders is not on tonight.

I make it priority. It’s as much a part of my day as cleaning my teeth in the morning. It’s just not something I could ever consider leaving out of my day. Even on the days that I don’t feel like training it would never even enter my head not to do it. Force of habit will get me there. And usually once you get past the first ten minutes you start to feel good. Even if you don’t, whatever bit you do is better than sitting at home on the couch. What it all means is that I’m productive, even in the absence of motivation.

Habit shapes your life

I’ve used a training example above but the same logic applies to every area of our lives. Building a business is exactly the same. Do you feel like showing up every day? Do you feel like meeting that energy drain, who also happens to put a lot of money in your bank account? Are you super pumped to get out of bed at 5am in January, in freezing temperatures? Unlikely. But every single time you do it, it’s building your business a little bit more. Life is a series of habits. Admittedly, some better than others. Sweeping the floor, washing our hair, eating lunch. All habits. Yet we don’t associate motivation with any of those tasks. Maybe training needs to become one of those things?

The success plan

Relying on motivation is not a very solid plan. For my success plan I suggest focusing on consistency instead. Ask yourself this, what are the things I need to commit to doing consistently to bring about the result I desire? If you do those things, even when you’re not motivated, you will start to see results. And guess what comes with results? Motivation. It won’t last forever but it will give you a short term boost, and make you want more. Motivation is a lovely thing when it’s there. Make the most of it, but be able to perform without it.

Consistency and habit are the variables that change lives. One day at a time. If you want to be in better shape but you’re not motivated to train, there’s something you’ve got to do. You’ve got to make it your number one priority for a while. It needs to become a daily habit. You’ve got to lose the “no motivation” excuse. Because that’s what it is, an excuse.

You’re not motivated? So what. Do it anyway. Accept that it will be hard for the first few weeks, accept that you probably won’t enjoy it very much. The same applies for most habits. Change is hard. It’s uncomfortable. We don’t particularly like it. But it gets easier, and with progress comes enjoyment. You can continue to be the person that’s not motivated, or you can do something about it.

Alan Williams is a coach, trainer, motivator and expert in the areas of wellbeing and lifestyle, fitness and confidence building. For more information visit alanwilliamscoaching.com

READ: 5 fitness tips to keep going