What happens when you run out of motivation?
There was a reason that you started that exercise or nutrition plan. You were getting ready for a race. Or you made yourself a resolution.
But race day has come and gone. The novelty and commitment you made to your resolution has worn away.
Now, without that fire, you’ve let other things take over your priority and your back to where you started. Now what do you do?
There a few different methods that can be effective at keeping you from falling away from the new plan you’ve built. Let’s dive into three common options.
Motivation can come in many forms. We can revert to the “remember why you started” mode. This is usually accompanied by visual aids to keep our motivations top of mind every day. For some this is a list of goals taped to the mirror. For others, it’s a picture of a family member.
Whatever it was that first motivated you, you make a plan to keep that motivation front and center every day as a reminder to stick with it.
But we can also choose to motivate ourselves based on the results and side effects of our new routine. Has your attitude gotten better since you’ve started that new kettlebell routine? What does it feel like when you look in the mirror since you changed your eating habits? Do you laugh more since you started a regular cardio program? Whatever the effect, isn’t it something you deserve 365 days a year?
If you answered yes, then those feelings are what you use to keep yourself on the path you’ve chosen.
Keep Setting Goals
Let’s be honest, though, making healthy choices and waking up at 5am isn’t all sunshine and smiles. It can be hard to follow through on those actions every day if you’re relying on internal motivation alone. Concrete goals provide us with a kind of external motivation. Knowing that we are fighting to reach the finish line (whether it’s an actual finish line or purely a figurative one), can help us power through loss of motivation.
But one goal is not enough. We need to be ready for what comes next before we clear the first milestone. When I’m nearing a goal, I already have 2 or 3 more lined up that surpass the original. There is no stopping at the first.
I would argue that many successful people (and this isn’t just fitness, we could be talking about sports, business, entertainment, or anything else) think the same way. Don’t stop at 1, reach for 20 and go to 100.
Focus on Discipline
Finally, we turn to discipline. Discipline is more powerful than motivation, but is harder to achieve. Discipline is about changing your habits and your actions to make this new routine not just something that you do, but a part of who you are.
Through discipline we get closer to our goals every day. Arnold Schwarzenegger did not win The Olympia off motivation alone. He was disciplined to weight train every day, eat high protein diets, and avoid activities that might have derailed his training. Tom Brady doesn’t have six Super Bowl rings because he’s motivated. He’s disciplined in his training, nutrition and off field practice.
These athletes, and many others, have built up a trait called Grit. Grit is what keeps you going when your life or your training get tough. Can you dig down deep because you know the reward will be worth it?
How you employ your Grit will be different for everyone. For some it may be about making daily food choices like cooking up the cauliflower for dinner instead of buying the drive-thru french fries. For others it’s waking up early or staying up late to get the workout in, study a new subject, or work the extra shift.
In the end, your motivation is just what points you a particular direction. It’s your discipline–your Grit–that will determine your success.