I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question before: “How Do I Stay Motivated?” Motivation, discipline, and routine are paramount in creating healthy habits for your health and fitness goals, and for your life in general. In this article, we breakdown what motivation actually is, how discipline differs, what the benefits are from creating a routine, and tips to help you stick to a routine.
What Is Motivation?
Motivation is the internal or external factors that drive us to take action or achieve a particular outcome. It is what gets us started and keeps us going. For example, a person may be motivated to start a new exercise routine because they want to lose weight or improve their overall health and wellbeing. Motivation can come from many sources, such as positive feedback from others, a desire for self-improvement, or the pursuit of a specific goal.
How Does Discipline Come Into Play With Motivation?
However, motivation alone is not always enough to achieve long-term success. This is where discipline comes in. Discipline is the ability to maintain a consistent effort towards a goal, even when motivation may wane. It is the act of doing what needs to be done, even when it’s not easy or enjoyable. Discipline looks like making a commitment to yourself and taking action, even when you don’t feel like it. For example, a person may need to exercise regularly, even when they are feeling tired or busy, in order to achieve their fitness goals.
Motivation and discipline work together to help individuals achieve their goals. Motivation provides the initial spark and can help to sustain effort over the short-term. Discipline is what allows individuals to stick to their goals over the long-term, even when motivation may be low. Ultimately, it’s important to find a balance between motivation and discipline, and to develop strategies to maintain both over time in order to achieve success.
Intrinsic Motivation vs Extrinsic Motivation
Extrinsic motivation is doing something because it leads to a specific outcome. An example would be working out for aesthetics, strength, or any other outcome. Extrinsic motivation tends to be what motivates people to do something initially. After creating consistency around a habit, intrinsic motivation begins to set in.
Intrinsic motivation is doing something because it feels good, it sparks curiosity and self expression, and it gives you purpose. Intrinsic motivation comes when a person finds a deeper WHY. This is one reason crossfit blew up. People go to get fit, look good, be conditioned – but once going to class is a habit, they now have a community, which changes their motivation to an intrinsic motivation.
What Are The Benefits Of Staying Motivated?
When we are motivated, we are more likely to set goals that are challenging, realistic, and achievable. We are also more likely to persevere in the face of setbacks and obstacles. Something important to note about motivation – it is fleeting and can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors including our physical and emotional state, our level of stress, and our external environment. For example, we may feel motivated after a good night’s sleep and a solid breakfast, but that motivation may die out in the afternoon, or if we encounter a stressful situation or get distracted.
Motivation is frequently based on our perception of potential rewards of an action. If we perceive that the effort required to do something outweighs the benefits, we may lose our motivation. If we encounter obstacles or setbacks that make it seem unlikely that we can achieve our ultimate goal, our motivation will typically decrease.
Build A Routine
Creating a sense of discipline around your fitness routine means that you will do it even when it doesn’t feel good and when you don’t want to do it. You do it because it is “just what you do”, meaning you have internalized how it makes you feel physically and emotionally. Routine helps you feel that structure and consistency to your life.
Both motivation and consistency are needed in order to actually form a habit and create a new behavior pattern that lasts. There may be times in your life that you don’t need to have discipline or life gets stressful and you don’t stick to your goals. That’s ok. However, if you want to develop a routine, you need to be consistent in the beginning to create that habit. Motivation gets you started, but creating a habit with discipline will benefit every other aspect of your life. You may be more motivated to get a higher paying job/work harder, create your own business or side business, be more present as a family member or parent, and the list goes on.
How To Stay Motivated To Workout
To cultivate motivation, you need to set SMART goals. You also need to figure out your intrinsic motivation for your “why”. If you want to start strength training, explore your “why”, write it down, and look at it every day while you’re motivated. This will help solidify the habits necessary to achieve your goals. On average it takes 19 days of building healthy habits to make it stick. We have created four “pillars” or practices to help you adhere to your routine and goals:
Be thankful and celebrate the small wins. Always, always be thankful. We can’t have expectations about where we are going unless we appreciate where we are. Too often, we get caught up in the “I want”, and we don’t stop enough to consider the “I have”. Celebrating small victories helps with momentum, and allows a person to appreciate what they are capable of. Gratitude is empowering!
Build A Routine
Habits start with discipline and discipline starts with routine. Get yourself into a routine. Building a routine is hard to implement. We think we don’t have the willpower but the truth is, none of us do. It starts with a decision to commit to delayed gratification. We have to re-wire and focus on the long term by taking a few small steps every day until the routine itself becomes the reward. This is intrinsic motivation. This is where you know you’ve formed a habit and it will stick because you’re now doing the activity for the sake of doing it – not because you want something from it.
Learn A New Skill
This is a HIGHLY undervalued key to adherence when it comes to exercise. Yes, we can find enjoyment in simply getting our heart rates up and sweating. But when you focus on learning a new skill, adherence skyrockets.This is why our remote coaching has such a high retention rate. Working with a coach or trainer sets you up to LEARN something. If you have a specific goal in mind, that’s even better. Learning a skill takes time and practice and there are typically small victories along the way. Not only does it help with adherence, but learning keeps our brains fresh and promotes neuroplasticity which can combat potential cognitive impairments later in life. All sports involve some form of skill development and any solid training program should leverage this as well.
Find A Community
It doesn’t have to be at a physical location. It can be a community with a trainer, a partner, an online coach, a facebook group, a forum, a meetup – whatever. But find community. Find others who have similar goals and you’ll see your adherence and habits improve. This is why we created our Stronger Than Your Boyfriend facebook group and why we spend so much time communicating with our online coaching clients. Because this is so important.
Final Thoughts On How To Stay Motivated To Workout
The key to motivation and keeping a solid routine over time is to ultimately find intrinsic motivation for whatever habit you’re trying to create. Initial or extrinsic motivation is the initial catalyst. Use this as your tool to get started. As you work with discipline to set a solid routine, intrinsic motivation comes naturally. Especially if you’re dedicated to finding gratitude, learning new skills, building your routine (remember, 19 days is what you need), and connecting to a community of support.
Want to learn more about staying motivated to crush your fitness goals? Listen to the Stronger Than Your Boyfriend Podcast, Episode 89: How to stay motivated