Several times in the last few weeks, I’ve had clients come in and confess that their weight is up a few pounds, or sheepishly admit that they haven’t been coming into the gym. When I ask why, the answer has been, “Well, I’ve lost my motivation and I don’t know why.”
Motivation is a tricky thing. If I try to motivate you with rewards (cash, praise, candy), then I may end up destroying whatever intrinsic motivation you ever had. For example, if you sometimes like to exercise, and I offer to pay you $10 every time you work out, you may end up HATING exercise because now it feels like a chore.
In fact, I don’t really like to talk about motivating my clients at all. If I need to “motivate” you, that sounds like I’m trying to get you to do something that you really don’t want to do. You know, like motivating a teenager to clean his room.
I’d much rather INSPIRE you to think about what kind of quality of life you want to have, what kind of athlete you want to become, and what kind of person you want to become.
Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired people. So did Nelson Mandela.
Middle managers try (and often fail) to motivate people to get off Facebook and do more boring stuff.
I won’t pretend to be able to inspire people as well as Mandela. I do know, however, that there are some things you can do to inspire yourself.
- If you’re having trouble eating healthy foods, or coming into the gym, remember WHY you wanted to do those things in the first place. Maybe you don’t care about exercising for the sake of exercising, but you’re inspired by the idea of being healthier so you can play with your grandkids without knee pain. Or maybe you’re inspired by the thought of playing college soccer with a scholarship. Or maybe you just want to do that chin-up because you’ve wanted to do a chin-up your whole life, because doing chin-ups is awesome.
- Find a friend or family member that you admire. Ask them to help you stay accountable. Ask yourself how they are so successful in the ways that you admire (are they creative? persistent? hard-working?) and tell yourself that TODAY, you will act like you are this person. “Fake it till you make it” really does work!
- If all else fails, get a workout buddy. I started working out with Lance a few weeks ago. I can’t believe that I’ve let myself work out by myself for the past several years. I’m working out harder, and more consistently, than I have in a long time. And I’m having more fun! Ask someone to train with you at least once a week, and keep each other accountable.
Let me know if you have any other strategies for staying