The Secret to Motivation

By Ronnie Robertson - August 2016

If you were to look up the definition of "motivation," it'll tell you that it "is a psychological feature that induces an organism to act towards a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal-directed behaviors."

In other words, motivation is something that causes you to take action. We might also say that lack of action is the result of insufficient motivation.

Now, if we take a look at the natural world, we see that adult animals generally try to burn as few calories as possible and only move if they really need to. In fact, when an animal has everything it needs for survival, it'll stay content right where it is until the circumstances or environment changes. That animal has found its "niche."

Humans are quite different.  The overwhelming majority are not satisfied with mere survival. They seek higher planes of existence. Some people seek greatness – and greatness never happens by accident. It's the exclusive result of years of hard work, drive and dedication.  That hard work requires fuel in the form of motivation.

You can't claim to be motivated if you're not involved in daily hard work toward your stated goals. Incidentally, it's not a crime to lack motivation toward a particular goal.  Are you able to recognize and notice your own lack of motivation?

The next logical step is to examine our own commitment to our goals, and then to ask if that commitment is being optimally fueled.

My fitness goal for this year has been to gain as much lean muscle as possible while maintaining low body fat, as well as to refine my own nutrition by applying  the knowledge that I share with my health coaching clients. Basically my goal and mantra is to “Be AWESOME Always!” 

As I ponder the reality of achieving this goal, I find myself looking inward, and more specifically, at the quality and quantity of work I'm performing in order to advance myself toward my stated objective. For clarification, by quality of work, I'm referring to whether I'm doing the right things. By quantity of work, I'm talking about how hard I'm working. Basically what I am saying is “I had to get REAL with myself!”

As I analyze my behaviors, I'm frequently struck by the observation that I'm not really working as hard as I could be. The next inevitable question is "why?" In nearly every instance, the answer is that I lack sufficient motivation.

Setting Compelling Goals

If you lack sufficient motivation, perhaps your goal isn't compelling enough.

Some goals are so compelling we don't even think of them as goals. After all, is it your goal to pay your rent next month, or is it a flat-out necessity? Few people have any difficulty motivating themselves to pay their rent. We just do it!

The truth is, we all have limited resources, and some of our "goals" are deemed more important than others. Priorities!  We devote more resources to some goals than we do to others.  So I guess it is more important to pay your rent than it is to have a muscular body and tights abs.  If you disagree with that statement, I'm betting that gym motivation isn't your biggest problem! Trust me I struggle sometimes deciding between the two!

How Do We Pick Compelling Goals?

The bottom line is that your goals must be meaningful.  First, the failure to meet said goal may have significant negative consequences (i.e., not paying your rent). Failure to achieve a muscular physique and tights abs won't have significant negative consequences, unless you're psychologically impaired in some way.

Second, failure to achieve the stated goal may result in the denial of significant benefits. In the case of not paying your rent, you'll be denied the benefit of having a roof over your head.

Only you can determine if a goal is meaningful, but in every case where you find yourself lacking motivation to pursue a goal, that fact alone is proof that the goal lacks meaning for you. Put another way, there's nothing wrong with you, there's something wrong with your goal. Does that make sense?

Meaningful goals create their own motivation. You won't find that you need to push yourself – instead, the goal will compel you to act with intention.  All the momentum you require will come naturally.

Motivation Is Not the Problem

Are your training goals as vitally important as paying the rent? If not, your lack of motivation to pursue them should be taken as a sign of their insignificance. If they're vitally important to you, well, you don't really need this article then, do you? Because you've already got all the motivation you need.

“Sometimes it's not about how good you are but how bad you want it!”

Go BEYOND Yourself & Be AWESOME Always!”

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