WTF is motivation, anyway?

I’m going to reveal a personal trainer secret.

During their initial consultations, the majority of my new clients tell me that they want a personal trainer to give them motivation.

There’s NOTHING wrong with that statement at all – please, please, work with a trainer for motivation.

But…

What even is motivation?
This may or may not be motivational.

WTF is motivation?!

When I hear people talk about fitness motivation, here’s what it often seems to mean:

  1. Having motivation means no bad days – you wake up fired up to work out and eat zucchini noodles every day, and you drink enough water and your skin glows and angels sing when you open your drawer of perfectly folded fitness gear.
  2. Having motivation means that you feel 100% mentally committed to your lifestyle change and you never have questions, doubts, ruts, or lazy days.
  3. Motivation means that someone pushes you and keeps you accountable.
  4. Motivation means that you aspire to achieve what someone else has achieved – they’re your yardstick for success.
  5. Motivation means a lot of empty inspirational quotes that you throw up on Instagram or glue to your vision board to guilt yourself into moving forward.

Luckily, I don’t think any of that is motivation.

Here’s what I know about motivated people:

  1. They have good days and bad days.  Some days they kill it, some days they phone it in, and some days they don’t show up at all, but a missed workout (or an indulgent meal, or a missed whatever) doesn’t derail them.
  2. They don’t overthink the changes that they are making, because they are busy taking action to bring those changes into reality.
  3. They don’t beat themselves up about setbacks, speed bumps, or mistakes, because they accept that those things are just part of the journey of making any change.
  4. They appreciate their progress, even if it isn’t the progress they thought would happen first – all progress is progress.
  5. They take things one step at a time, day by day or week by week, so that they can handle each challenge as it arrives and not waste energy and time anticipating things that may never arrive.

Me, I want workout motivation!

I put together this motivation toolkit a while back to help you connect with your real goals and figure out what tiny step to take first – it’s a great place to start!

Also, if you identify with any of the ideas about motivation in the first list, you might want to see about swapping that idea out for something from the second list.  Just remember…

Take action.

Take it day by day.

Appreciate your progress.

If you’re overthinking things, defeat that cycle by taking any tiny action to move closer to your goal.

If you’re using guilt and shame to make yourself keep going, try appreciating some real aspect of your progress instead.

If you don’t know where to start and you’re overwhelmed, try taking a 10-minute walk or making your next meal extra healthy, whatever that means for you.

If you’re having a bad day, put the brakes on it where you can and do just one thing to set yourself up to have a better tomorrow.

Your trainer can’t want your progress more than you want your progress…

…but together you can form an unstoppable team to get you on track to living your best life.

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