How To Stay Motivated To Get Fit

How To Stay Motivated To Get Fit in 4 Steps


Still stuck in an endless loop of helplessness?  Have you exhausted “all” the ways to get in shape, get abs or just lose weight?  Does it seem like it will never happen for you?

I think it’s time you start developing a muscle- your motivation muscle.

Yes, the motivation muscle, the sexiest muscle you can develop.  With this muscle you can go places and achieve things most people only dream of.

In this post, I’m going to help you to start developing your own motivation muscle so you can kick ass and take names consistently.

No more reading motivational fitness quotes on the internet.  You are going to be creating those quotes.  Buckle up!

In What Motivates You? What 5 Experts Had To Say we saw a small subset of motivation that can be used. Family, affecting generations, therapy and vanity were some of the driving forces behind some of the fitness industries highest achievers.

So you might be asking yourself “Yea I read last week’s post, I don’t need the Cliff Notes version.  How will this help me get those John Basedow six pack abs?”  Fair question.

How To Stay Motivated To Get Fit
That shirt has never been worn better before or after this picture was taken.

Before we dive into how we develop the motivation muscle let’s first look into…

Why do we do things?

Think back to the last thing you consciously decided to or not to do.  What swung the vote one way or the other?  My guess is it was whether the decision would bring you pleasure or pain.  Maybe not physical pain but maybe it was financial pain.  When you break it down, all our decisions are made based on a trying to bring pleasure into our lives or to avoid pain.  Sometimes pain is pleasure and that is a totally different therapy session all together.

The avoidance of pain for pleasure causes us to go into cruise control so we can make decisions without really thinking about them (one of the ways our bodies/minds are so efficient) where we consistently make decisions in a certain way.  For example, if you have the choice to hang out with the in-laws or hangout with your friends which will you choose?  You will choose your friends every time. Why?  Because they bring you pleasure.

To further illustrate this point, let’s look at dieting.  Dieting gets a very very bad wrap because people always tend to focus on:

  • What they can’t have.
  • It’s too much work.
  • They will be a social leper.
  • I’ve tried other diets and they didn’t work why would it work this time?
  • They don’t know where to start (paradox of choice).

So what happens?  You focus on all the bad things and then 2 weeks later the initial motivation wears off and you fall off the wagon.  How can you honestly keep doing something you find all the negatives in?  It’s like trying to start a habit of punching yourself in the face everyday.

How To Stay Motivated To Get Fit
Not as much fun as it looks

So in your mind, dieting sucks and I’ll just go on with the way I’ve been living cause you’ve had enjoyment so far in life right?  That’s fine and dandy until you have Type 2 diabetes and weigh 3 bills (we will get into the mental shift that happens here in a bit).

So now we know the basic reason for the decisions you make; how can you change they way you look at things to get you more motivated and kick ass and take names consistently?

How to change

[I suggested you write this down somewhere, keep it visible and reread once a day or whenever you feel unmotivated.  I have mine in an app called Evernote.  Put aside the feeling of this shit won’t work and open up to change.  You might surprise yourself.  I was skeptical too, then I put my belief aside and I am super happy I did.]

I’m going to give examples as if my goal was to go on a diet.

Step 1)

Start with a something you want to do. This is where you will you write down dieting, going to the gym, running, stop being an asshole. Whatever the end goal is write it down here.

Step 2)

Reinforces your goal by adding new and more powerful focus points. Remember the negative dieting focuses above?  This time we are going to focus on the positives of dieting.  Surround yourself with people and things to help you achieve.  People, places, different ideas.  Books for example are a great way to help cultivate good focus points and ideas.

So if I were to put a positive spin on dieting, I would hang out at gyms and other places where fit people hang out for visual motivation (I know that sounds borderline creepy). I would find different diets and find one that fits me. I would find people I know or online that have gone from obese to in shape or fit and their reasoning and what prompted them to make the shift. The more positive focus points you develop, the more emotional the focus is, the stronger the motivation will become.  Facebook groups, online forums are a couple of places to start online.

When I was younger I always read articles about how pro athlete kept motivated.  I remember Kobe Bryant having a whole room plastered with all the negative articles about him.  He used that to prove people wrong.  I liked that so I developed a mental room of negative things people say about me or things I can’t or shouldn’t do.  A la Deadlift Everyday.

Step 3)

Find a triggering event, or else create one of your own. This is the meat and potatoes of the process. We all have a pain tolerance; the amount of pain you’ll live with.  There is always a certain amount of B.S. we are willing to live with before we either crack or change the situation.  We’ve all stayed in that relationship too long or hung on to the job because it pays the bills.  With this exercise you need to past that tolerance.

To do that, be honest with yourself and ask one question…

“What will it cost me if I don’t do (your goal from #1)?”                                                                                   

So in our example what will it cost me if I don’t diet?  Health, years, time with your friends and family.  Spend some time and really think about this.  If you can do this and get it right, then all you will need is a little reminder when your feeling low/depressed or unmotivated.  There are no bad things you can come up with as long as they work for you.  Go back to the last post to remind yourself of the variety of things the pros use.  This portion takes time and practice to get the right amount of pain to change your ways.  Stick with it and I promise you it will work.                                                                                                                                                               Remember the example from above where you got Type 2 Diabetes and hit 3 bills?  That’s the “Oh Shit” point.  You’ve realized that you messed up a lot and if you don’t change now then you’re dead.  Smokers hit this a lot when they get that cancer diagnosis or are hit with a severe illness.  So when you see someone quit smoking cold turkey or that person that weighs 3 bills completely change their ways they just jumped step 1 and 2 and found their triggering event.

Step 4)

The last step is to take action. The greatest plan is nothing without action.  Start the diet, sign up for the gym today.  Do something towards your goal.  Someone once told me in jest “Procrastination is like masturbation.  In the end you’re just fucking yourself.”  I think that came from Shakespeare if I’m not mistaken.  Take action today.

Motivation is nothing more than a reason for doing something.  If you can manufacture a reason to consistently do something, you’ll achieve it.  The power of the motivation is the emotional response that it generates from you.  Over time you might have to adjust to what stokes the old motivational fire.  I’m going to bore you with a story from my life… right after college, my girlfriend broke up with me, we had been together for 5 years or so.  I was depressed in every sense of the word.  I sat down and looked at my options at the time.  I could either go down the road of drinking to erase the pain and doing nothing with my life or I could throw myself into the gym.  Guess which one I picked?  If I was sore or didn’t feel like going to workout, I’d just think of her having fun or moving on with her life and the fire was lit.  But as time passed, I met my wife and calmed down from my reckless ways.  Now I just try to be the sexiest husband around.  See, it really doesn’t matter how stupid you think your reason is, if it lights the fire, it’s good motivation.

Motivation is like any skill if you train it, you will get better at it.

The principles here are of not my own creation.  They are from Tony Robbins Awaken the Giant Within.  I’m currently reading it and I highly recommend it.  If you can get past the current news references (it was published in ’91) it really is a good book.

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Dave