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Stepping Off on the Right Path for Motivation

Motivation in the beginning.

People assume that motivation is this mysterious other-worldly force gifted to a select few – a genetic lottery of sorts – and if you aren’t One of the Lucky Ones: L-O-L, tough luck, f*face: you’re screwed.


The truth is, everyone – yep, even that person you’re thinking of right now who you believe is always super motivated – struggles with motivation.

I know I do.

So, what do those who are seemingly always motivated know that you don’t? I’m about to explain.

Peak Motivation: This is the first phase of motivation. As you start on a goal, like say, fat loss – you’re super motivated and your motivation sees a sharp rise – along with your initial results. This is when you run out and sign up for a gym membership; drop $1000 on all-new Lululemon gym wear; buy all the supplements; download the fancy-schmancy training program, and fill your fridge with all the #clean #organic #healthy foods imaginable.

Most of, if not all of, this phase is fuelled by high expectations.

A few weeks of this, and you hit…

The Fall: This is the next phase of motivation. Your initial excitement about the goal is wearing off and your results are beginning to slow as the reality begins to set in, namely, this is way harder than you’d imagined – Common responses to this phase include: "The f*? I’ve been eating #clean and training mean for 3 weeks now, where are my abs at?"

The Suck: And finally, we hit the part of the motivation that anyone who’s ever given up on a goal knows all too well – The Suck. This is where you’ve stopped making progress and no matter how hard you train; or how diligent you are with your nutrition, it all seems futile. In turn, this impacts your level of excitement for the goal and, well, why bother if you’re working hard and not seeing results?

But, see, this is the motivation trap. You’re being tested on how badly you want to achieve the goal.

As Seth Godin eloquently puts it, “Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most.”

And that’s the ‘secret’ of motivation those who seem to have buckets of it know that you don’t – Motivation will always be high at the start and then slowly dwindle as things get hard; and it’s exactly at this point, when it gets hard, that you need to buckle down and push through The Suck.

What can you do?

Firstly, understand that this is perfectly normal and, paradoxically, a sign that you’re making progress. If you’re trying to lose fat and your fat loss has stalled, this means you’ve lost weight and need to adjust your calories to take into account your new (lower) body weight. If your strength has stalled, this means you’ve gotten stronger and need to make adjustments to your training plan – increasing the weight you’re lifting, for example – to kick-start progress again.

Secondly, remind yourself of your why. As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has the why to live for can bear almost any how.’ When you’re in The Suck, it can become very easy to forget why you started in the first place. To circumvent this, remind yourself of your why for starting. Write it down and stick this somewhere you can see every day – or, maybe set a reminder on your phone to remind you every morning.

But, the key here is that the goal has to be one of high value.

Meaning, writing something like: “Because abs” won’t do anything because it’s not highly valued enough. Something like this would be much better: “I want to lose fat and finally achieve a six-pack because I know it will improve my confidence and make me more attractive so I can find a girlfriend. Oh, I guess I’ll live longer too which is always great.”

Or, instead of: “Fit in my wedding dress”, try: “I want to lose 5 kilograms so I can look and feel great in my wedding dress and also when my former partner from high school sees me looking ravishing, he’ll be so mad once he realises what he lost.”

If you want to be on the right path with your motivation in the right headspace, email Discipline Fitness today!

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