If you want to workout more consistently, stop relying on motivation! Motivation is a temporary feeling that may, or may not, be there when you need it to be.
Instead on relying on motivation to workout:
- Make a Workout Plan in Advance
- Choose a Specific Time to Workout
- Track Your Workouts and Progress
- Develop the Mindset of a Healthy Person
- Use Language a Healthy Person Would Use
This list of five tips replaces relying on motivation with process, dedication, and habit. By developing the right mindset, you will no longer need motivation to workout.
The best part is: by taking action and having success with it, you will create your own internal motivation instead of hoping that it will magically and externally appear.
Motivation: But What Is It, Anyway?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary:
“Motivation: (n.) enthusiasm for doing something”-Cambridge Dictionary
I have also heard motivation defined as the “feeling of wanting to do something.”
And for me, this is the key! Motivation is a feeling, and feelings are temporary!
Health and fitness, however, is not temporary. Health and fitness is something that needs to be done consistently over a very long period of time (meaning: the rest of your life!). This includes being physically active, eating a nutritious diet, and resting adequately.
Why Relying On Motivation Sucks For Working Out Consistently
It’s easy to workout when you are motivated to workout. It is easy to do anything when you feel like doing it and want to do it.
Working out, however, is inherently not something we will always want to do. It requires hard work. It requires effort. It requires pain. It requires discomfort.
It happens in the short term, yet the results we hope to achieve (like losing 30 lbs. or running a marathon) could take months to accomplish.
No wonder you are not motivated to workout consistently.
How Do We Get Motivated, Anyway?
If you are like I used to be, you probably think about motivation and working out like this:
Motivation – Action – Success-How I Used To Think About Motivation
You assume you first need be motivated before you can perform the action of working out. Then, after a period of working out you will have success. You assume that additional motivation will come as a result of your future success.
Seems reasonable, right?!?
BUT THIS IS NOT HOW MOTIVATION WORKS!!!
According to the book The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden (Affiliate Link to Amazon), motivation actually works like this:
Action – Success – Motivation-How Motivation Actually Works
Wow! So, we can do something without being motivated to do it. Then, we can have success with it. And with that success will come motivation to continue performing the action, which in this case is working out consistently.
So, with that in mind, here are 5 tips that really work for helping you take more immediate action to workout more consistently:
1. Make A Workout Plan In Advance
Having a workout plan mapped out in advance takes the guesswork out of working out.
There is a lot to consider when working out:
- What are your long-term work goals?
- Which body parts will you target?
- Which specific exercises will you perform?
- How many sets and reps will you perform for each exercise?
- How will you adjust your workout if your desired equipment is not available?
If you go into your training and have to figure all of this out on the fly, you might feel overwhelmed. It will require more effort and work. It will be less enjoyable. You might even feel like you are training but not getting results.
Instead, I recommend making a plan for each month. You can make your own workout plan or hire a personal trainer to make one for you. There are even plenty of training plans you can find for free online.
The point is this: it is easier to workout when you already know:
- The days you will workout
- The specific exercises you need to perform that day
- The specific number of sets and reps you will perform
- The long-term goal that this training will help you to achieve
It is easier to workout consistently when you don’t need to think about it and can just do it!
2. Choose A Specific Time To Regularly Workout
Ask the fittest, strongest people you know what time they regularly exercise. Seriously, ask them!
I bet you that the majority of them have a specific, regular time that they train or workout. Some example might include:
- I wake up early every day and workout at 5:00am before my kids wake up.
- I run a 5k on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before breakfast.
- I workout every day for 45 minutes during my lunch break.
- I go directly to the gym after work.
- I swim every evening at 8:00pm.
You get the idea.
Having a specific day and time when you train and making it a part of your schedule takes the motivation out of the equation.
Just like a meeting at work, it becomes something you just do. Why? Because it is a part of your routine and you just do it… that’s why!
3. Track Your Workouts and Your Progress
Remember the motivation equation from above?
Action – Success – Motivation-How Motivation Still Works
Tracking all of your workouts allows you to see the progress and successes that you are making towards your fitness goal, whatever your goal might be.
Let’s take the goal of running a marathon as an example. Right now you can run a 5k and the idea of running a full marathon might seem impossible.
However, after a week you can run 6k without stopping. The week after that you break your personal best 5k time. The week after that you push it to 7k. Maybe you do not run farther or faster, but you do complete all of your scheduled workouts for two weeks straight, which is also a new record!
No, you are not running a marathon… yet… but you are having wonderful success with both improved performance and more dedicated process.
This is important for a number of reasons, one of which being that seeing these small successes will help you to feel motivated to continue training!!!
I know, I know. Motivation is not the goal, but it is nice to feel enthusiasm for your workouts. And the cool part is that you can make your own motivation over time.
And if the motivation is slow to come, that is OK, too! Remember, you do not need to be motivated to train. Relying on motivation to train will result in inconsistent training.
4. Develop the Mindset of a Healthy Person
Marcus Aurelius, stoic and the last good Roman emperor, wrote:
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”-Marcus Aurelius
The same applies to working out, eating right, resting properly, and anything else you can think of in the world of health and fitness.
We can spend hours thinking about what a healthy person would be like, or we can just be a healthy person and perform the actions that a healthy person would perform.
It might sound odd, but it helps so much when it comes to not relying on motivation to consistently workout. You will just workout because that’s what healthy people do, and that’s what you are.
You do not need to be motivated to do the things that your nature demands of you. Healthy people do not need to be motivated to do the things that healthy people inherently do.
The best part is: You can choose, right now, to be a healthy person.
5. Use Language a Healthy Person Would Use
Say the following sentences out loud:
- “I have to workout today.”
- “I get to workout today.”
Only one word has changed, and yet the meaning of each sentence is drastically different.
In the first sentence, working out is a task and a chore. It is something that is being imposed upon you and you must do it whether you want to or not. Who could ever possibly be motivated to want this scenario?!?
In the second sentence, however, working out is a blessing. It is an opportunity. It is something joyous. How cool is it that of all the things in the would that you could be doing today, right now you get to spend your time on strengthening your body. That’s pretty cool!
Let’s try another version of this:
- “I have to workout every day.”
- “I workout every day.”
Can you feel the difference?
By removing the words have to and simply saying I workout every day, you declare to the world that this is just something that you do because it is a part of your nature. You are a healthy person, so you workout.
Motivation is no longer necessary because you are simply doing that which you do.
Period. End of story. : )