By Miranda Johnson
I’ve been asked a lot in the past about where I get my motivation to train from. This question came up again recently, and so I thought it may be worth spending a little more time diving into.
After looking up the definition of motivation, I found this: “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way” as well as “the general desire or willingness to do something”.
That’s the issue though, right? Most, if not all, of us don’t always have that strong urge, “desire”, or want to do something. It’s just human nature. Whether we are talking about exercising, cleaning the house, or tasks for our actual careers, relying solely on motivation can be setting ourselves up for failure.
This may blow your mind, but quite honestly, only on certain occasions do I find myself truly “motivated” to do my daily training. Now, do I still get it done? Yes. But, the reason isn’t because I was genetically gifted with the little extra motivation gene.
Motivation or inspiration, in my opinion, can be viewed similarly to that of an emotion. Meaning that it is not a constant thing, it comes and it goes in waves. We don’t always find ourselves happy, or mad, or sad. The same thing can be said for motivation. It is a feeling. It won’t always be there and therefore, it is not a reliable resource to count on or lean into.
Whenever I’m lacking in desire, I’m forced to dig deep and find something else to fill in those gaps. This is where things like commitment, intention, dedication, and discipline come into play. The solution isn’t about finding ways to create more motivation, it’s about building a solid foundation to fall back on when incentive is lacking.
Even when we’re not feeling motivated, we can still choose to “suck it up “and do whatever it takes and stick to the plan. Most people don’t regret having gone to the gym after the fact. That’s why it is super important to have a plan (or a goal) in the first place. If you don’t have plan or an already built habit, you have nothing here to stick to or rely on.
When something becomes a habit, all those other tasks or events that require motivation and willpower becomes automated. It’s like driving a car on automatic versus manual. This makes adherence much easier and helps us stay on track towards meeting our goals.
Remember though, habits take time to form. I’ve been training this way for almost five years now, so my “car” is basically always on automatic, except for the few times that I have to grab the stick shift. If you’re not quite at that point yet, that is okay! Use this time to work on creating and building sustainable habits that will provide some structure to goals, instead of depending on a feeling.
Our quarterly goal setting sessions are coming up soon here at District H, so now is the perfect time to work on not only designing specific goals for yourself, but to work with a coach and construct a plan together that consists of small action steps towards long-term lifestyle habit formation with ongoing support.