My Opinion on Motivation – ‘Fuck it I’ll start next Gelember.’
Motivation – A reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.
At the start of my fitness journey I always disagreed with the idea of ‘motivation’. The word motivation is a way of describing somebody else- ‘He is really motivated’ for example. You always refer to oneself in particular ways when using this word: ‘I lack the motivation’ or ‘I have no motivation’. The word motivation can have negative connotations when linked to the human brain, whether that be in business, exercise, or life in general.
The amount of people who have asked me, ‘How do I stay motivated? How do I keep THIS level of motivation?’ is countless. The reason that people lose motivation is simple . . . Motivation is a load of SHIT! If you understand the requirements needed to get that feeling, that ‘I CAN DO THIS!’ feeling, you will never use the word motivated or motivation again and your outlook will change for the better.
To keep ‘motivated’ you need to keep high levels of dopamine thrashing around in your brain. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter for pleasure, which controls the emotion of success/ ‘motivation’ (amongst other things).
If you have had time out from the gym, exercise, work (or anything new) your brain will need ‘motivation’ / dopamine to help get you focused and on track. In order to get the right dosage of dopamine, you need to be prepared, far beyond the initial 4, 8 or 12 weeks into your new path. If not, you will use the term ‘I’m not motivated enough’ as a scapegoat and a reason to quit.
Let me explain:
Here’s my plan to help you build enough dopamine to make you obsessed with success rather than ‘motivation’. This is not just a crazy idea that I think could work; it is backed by the success of 10000 clients over my 13+ years within the fitness industry as both a personal trainer and life coach and of course my own personal battles.
1. Know what you’re getting into/ knowing your limitations
I’ll keep this fitness/exercise related, but you can apply the same idea to all aspects of your life! Let’s say you want to lose weight- 2 stone. Do you 100% know the sacrifices you have to make to achieve this? The time out of your day it will take? The amount of calories you should be eating per meal? The energy you must use? The temptations that will pop up? How to stay hydrated enough to keep the body burning calories? The list is endless. However, the thought of just going to the fucking gym turns you off and you end up thinking ‘Fuck it I’ll start next Gelember.’
If you know what is coming up, you can plan. You can own the pain when it arrives, whether that ‘pain’ is the temptation of a high-calorie treat you walk past in the supermarket, or a lack of energy after a busy day at work. Most people see the end goal, but they do not know this simple thought process. Plan for the difficult bits, acknowledge that they’re difficult when they arise, and have strategies in place to deal with them. This is a huge factor in avoiding failure or ‘lack of motivation’.
Limitations. To keep that all-important dopamine flowing (i.e. be successfully ‘motivated’) and get closer to your 2 stone weight loss, you need to know what you can achieve from day 1. From a fitness perspective: How far can you run? How many burpees can you do on your own compared to when I’m standing next to you? How much can you squat as a 1 rep max? What is the furthest distance you have ever run? How many calories a day can your body survive on?
You must push the boundaries of knowledge here in order to know what you can achieve within the 4, 8 and 12 week stages of your journey. Again, this is where people fail as almost everyone I have ever trained stays in ‘comfort-zone’ mode prior to me getting a hold of them. In short GET THE FUCK OF OUT YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
2. Breakdown of goals into smaller, more attainable chunks
Let us keep with losing 2 stone. If you want to lose 2 stone this is a massive amount of weight to lose. I would suggest breaking it down into smaller goals to allow for more success/dopamine releases. This will keep you ‘motivated’.
For example, a 2 stone loss over 2 months is an average 3.5 pound loss each week. Once you achieve your 3.5 pound loss a week, you celebrate! You’re having more mini fist bumps, more pats on the back; you are posting more on Instagram/Facebook now and people can celebrate with you to say how fab, amazing & healthy you look. All of this helps to increase dopamine levels, and so helps you stay on track. This then results in you becoming more ‘motivated’
3. Hunger, Obsession, Focus
The main factor in building enough dopamine to get that feeling of success, thereby keeping you focused and on track, is to become obsessed with whatever YOUR goal is!
For me personally, this presents itself as an obsession with achieving how I want to look, think, and feel. If I was only working on the theory of motivation, I would probably train twice a week. Like everybody, I really struggle at times to exercise. In 2019 I had pneumonia 3 times, pleurisy twice and a bloody heart that almost tried to kill me. Motivation alone would not get me back on track, back in the gym and beat the way I thought of myself. I created an ‘animal mentality’ I was hungry for success; Physically & mentally. I was obsessed with how I felt in my own skin.
But I know what I want, I know what sacrifices need to happen and I break down each goal into segments that can either be a workout, nutrition, or time in the gym. This then helps me to become focused and hungry for success. In turn, this leads to that ‘obsession’ with achieving my goals (and then I piss Charlotte off – well, sacrifices need to be made HAHA!)
Doing all this in one go isn’t advisable. Your brain will feel over-worked and switch off. But start with one and go from there. If you want help or support, reach out through any of the contact methods below.