Pro-level athletes are not more motivated than you are.
Olympic athletes don’t just “want it more.”
The best CrossFitters in your gym has the same struggles with motivation that you do.
The difference? They know how to get motivated (and what to do when they don’t feel motivated at all).
Ask anyone at the highest levels of fitness: Sometimes they don’t feel like working out. And those folks with ripped abs? They want a slice of cake.
So why do they work out anyway? Why do they stick to their meal plan when things get tough?
Here’s how to do it—and the great news is that you can use the SAME strategy they do.
- Get a coach. You need to be accountable to an objective third party. Your wife will let you off the hook. Your coworkers don’t actually want you to succeed. And your friends don’t want you to change at all.
You need someone to:
- Remove the guesswork
- Get you results FAST (you’ll see why in the next step)
- Hold you accountable. You can “ghost” someone over text, but you can’t miss appointments.
- Provide a “pain” for failure. That means you have to pay for coaching. If you don’t, there’s no real penalty for failure … and you’ll backslide.
- Get a really fast result. Our brains are wired to reward quick wins and novelty. If we don’t see results quickly, we lose motivation.
It’s key for someone to say, “You did really well at X”. Apps like Strava and Garmin Connect are great at giving you little rewards when you accomplish something for the first time. But a coach will take care of this for you, too.
- Set up a short-term “challenge” for yourself … but have a plan for after the challenge ends.
A six-week sprint is great for motivating yourself. But most people drop off the edge when it ends, and many actually wind up worse than ever. In my experience, people who do short-term diets (like intermittent fasting or keto diets) usually gain back the weight they lost and far more. The unsustainable nature of the diet, plus the long-term damage to their metabolism, actually leaves them less healthy.
You can do these things; don’t get me wrong. Get the surgery if that’s what it takes. But have the second step all lined up and ready to go before you take the first.
Again, a coach can build this plan for you.
- It will eventually become habit. It won’t always be hard to go to the gym, or shop for groceries, or prep your meals. It WILL get easier, but only if you keep the habit going. Usually it takes around 90 days for our behaviors to become habits and then a few more months for our habits to become “just what we do.”
- Track everything. Track your workouts.
Note your personal bests.
Track your food intake.
Note your wins.
Track your sleep.
Note how they all tie together.
If I sleep less, I want more caffeine. When I drink more caffeine, I want more sugar.
When I eat more sugar, I lose motivation to work out. When I don’t work out, I get more stressed. And when I get more stressed, I sleep less.
Then I get dumber, fatter and sad.
(That’s just me…but I know some of you can relate.)
- Use your tools to plan.
For example, instead of just putting today’s food in MyFitnessPal before bed, enter all of your meals in MyFitnessPal in advance. Then add or subtract carbs, fats and protein to make your macros, and voila – you have a food plan for the next day!
Trust me: It’s far better than cramming dry Rice Krispies into your mouth at 8 p.m. because you’re not hitting your carb goals. Uh, at least that’s what my friend tells me …
- Check your progress.
Look, you’re not going to have a personal best on every workout. But that matters zero percent. What really matters is consistency. People who show up every day, even if they put out 50% of their best effort, get better results than people who crush it once a week.
The people who “sprint and crash” usually get amazing results, and then they get fat again. Or they get strong, and then they get injured. The people who just show up for their appointments get strong, lean and happy for life.
I want you to know this: The days when you feel the LEAST motivation are the days you’ll get the BEST results.
Consistent, imperfect action always wins.