Did you brush your teeth today? Have you done laundry or the dishes in the past week? Is your house (reasonably) clean? When we think of these everyday tasks, they are usually not associated with any particular excitement. They are simply carried out regardless of emotion, motivation or inspiration. No one feels ‘motivated’ to brush their teeth, do the laundry, wash the dishes or do housework. There is no excitement associated with school work, cramming for an exam or working overtime. We just understand that these things need to be done. Regardless of emotion, motivation or inspiration.
But there is a reason we do these things. We understand the reason behind doing them and the consequences of not completing them. When it comes to schoolwork, exams or work projects, there is a deadline attached which comes into play to provide an extra dose of motivation, oftentimes employing Parkinson’s Law to complete the task. Parkinson’s Law dictates that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." Essentially, if you leave something until the last minute, it will only take a minute to complete. With a hard-pressed deadline, the task will be done. Or suffer the consequences.
Consider adopting the same approach when it comes to health, fitness, nutrition and training. When it comes to motivation and goals, the ‘what’ is easy to define. Faster run times. Bigger lifts. More muscle. Less fat. These are tangible things that we can identify and (generally) measure (think SMART goals). Motivation is great when we have it, but it is fleeting and unreliable. Without immediate deadlines, direct consequences or ramifications that are less tangible, motivation falls by the wayside. This is why we need to look at ‘motivation’ differently. Stop to think about your motivation. Or rather, your reason.
It is the ‘why’ that is hard to explain. It is when the ‘why’ is understood, when the reason is determined, the ‘what’ becomes that much more obtainable and achievable. For those who struggle with motivation and struggle with achieving goals, think of the reason(s) behind this lack of motivation. The reason behind this struggle. Could it be that the goal is not fully understood? The reason behind the ‘whats’ & ‘whys’ is not fully comprehended? Look to your goals as a way to find motivation. Find your motivation after you reach your goals. Replace motivation with reason. Instead of waiting for motivation to inspire, consider what actions need to be taken to achieve your goal. Action will lead to more action. Discipline and habit will always serve us much better and much more reliably than motivation ever will. Motivation is about showing up and putting in the effort. Consider it a long-term investment.