3 Unexpected Motivations I Use To Stay Fit
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to find proper motivations that will help me to reach my goals. The problem I eventually learned, however, is that there are many things that can look like motivations but are actually distractions, disguised ever so cleverly as motivations that should be propelling me to my victorious goal.
But over the year, I have learned that very hard lesson that just because something sounds as if it should motivate me, doesn’t mean it necessarily does.
That’s not to say I didn’t have motivating factors, but it did mean I would need to spend some time actually figuring out what they were.
What Sounds Right Isn’t Always Right
A lot of people play follow the leader when it comes to picking their motivations…repeating what they have heard others say or what they think is the right answer, regardless of how they feel.
Many of us have put a lot of effort behind motivating factors, that in the end, didn’t mean much to us. This resulted in less than stellar performance and typically falling far short of our desired outcomes or goals.
Of course, this wasn’t due to a lack of effort, as we had plenty of gas in the tank. But, we were putting diesel fuel into a gasoline car. It was fuel, but it wasn’t enough to move the tires far enough.
Proper Motivation Leads To Best Possible Outcomes
Knowing what will move the needle before needing the needle to move means that moving in the right direction and getting closer to your goals is much more likely. Motivation isn’t just what moves us; it’s also what directs us when we are busy putting our all into whatever it is we are doing.
Motivation is our north start when we have our heads down doing work.
It’s the push on our back when we slow down or get discouraged, the whisper of encouragement when we think we are at the end of our rope.
Motivation leads us, supports us, and guides us.
With that knowledge, it’s then easy to say that knowing what motivates you isn’t just ideal; it’s imperative to reach your goals and avoid frustration due to a lack of results.
3 Motivations That Keep Me Moving Forward
When it comes to my fitness journey, there are three main motivations that I have learned are what matter most to me. Coming to grips with these took some time. These are not noble sounding or even respectable. These motivating factors are not going to garner me much personal praise as a selfless or caring human.
But, I have also learned that regardless of what motivates a person, it is what it is and should be used to move you forward. It should not be a roadblock to hinder your progress. Ultimately, it is about doing the best you can with what you have.
Here are my three main motivations when it comes to health and fitness.
1. I Have Something To Prove
I was overlooked when I was young by pretty much everyone. My parents, kids at school, and coaches on sports teams. I never felt special, and no one went out of their way to make me feel so.
As an adult, that has turned into a chip on my shoulder to create the unexpected, to move beyond what others might think or have thought of me.
I want to become impossible to be overlooked.
Working out, lifting weights, and pursuing a higher level of health and fitness is something that makes that easy for me to control. In my hands, I possess a daily decision that can lead me towards that feeling of being more recognized, and I do my best not to let that opportunity pass me by.
2. I Want To Look Good
I was never asked out on a date or really ever felt desired, even as a young adult. I was always very thin, with essentially no body shape or physique, resulting from having nearly zero control or discipline over my health and fitness.
I didn’t realize how that image came across to others at the time. I didn’t know I needed to work out to lose weight. I thought that if I was funny enough or nice enough, others would find me more attractive and my quirky appearance a bonus.
I was wrong.
When I discovered this, looking good (or at least putting effort into trying) became my top priority. I wanted to look good for the opposite sex, to those who had ignored me, and to whoever I would eventually choose to pursue romantically (not just to get them, but to be able to keep them).
A strong desire to look good might not be the most valorous of motivations to some, but it matters to me. Now I see it not just as a personal goal but also as a part of the commitment I made to my wife to try to be my best for myself and her.
3. I Want To Outperform Everyone Around Me
Several years ago, at the gym, I noticed that I was always very interested in how hard others were working. Not from a “how much can they lift” way, but more in the way of “how much effort are they putting in?”
I also noticed that I possessed a competitive personality trait I was not aware of up until then. I wasn’t just interested in how hard they were working because I was curious. I found that it motivated me not just to work hard.
It motivated me to work harder. Harder than they were working.
Maybe it’s a remnant of those previously mentioned chips on my shoulders, but I can’t be at a gym and not take note of those around me and how much effort they are putting into their workouts.
Some might call this ego lifting, and maybe it is. But whatever you call it, it pushes me to do more than I intended to do, beyond my limits so that I can walk out of the gym feeling like although others might have run faster, lifted more, or stepped more steps, no one actually worked harder than I did.
How To Tell If Your Motivations Are Right
While there are many small ways that you might be able to dissect whether or not you are following the right motivations in the heat of battle, there are a few primary ways that can point the thumb either up or down.
When properly motivated, nearly nothing can stand in your way. Roadblocks are merely obstacles that are more of a distraction rather than a deterrence.
Bad motivations make mountains out of molehills, not worth the climb in order to get whatever is at the top.
The gas in your tank never totally runs out when properly motivated. You might get low occasionally, but there is always enough to keep you moving forward, even when hope seems lost.
Bad motivations are always running out of gas if they ever had any.
With good motivations, hard work is always worth the price being paid, while bad motivations will always have you questioning if it’s “really worth it.”
Final Thoughts On Finding Proper Motivation
Finding proper motivations that propel us toward our goals can be challenging. It requires honest self-reflection and a willingness to reject the conventional wisdom and opinions of others.
Ultimately, what motivates us may not be the noblest or virtuous of reasons, but it is what it is, and it should be embraced as a tool to help us achieve our desired outcomes.
Knowing what motivates us is crucial to reaching our goals and avoiding frustration due to a lack of results. By understanding our own motivations and using them to our advantage, we can find the drive and direction we need to succeed.
Rob is a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. For the past 10 years, Rob has been navigating the health and fitness landscape in a quest to better himself and those around him focusing on tools such as calorie and macro counting, intermittent fasting, and HIIT training techniques.