Motivation Is Worthless For Working Out Consistently
March 1st 2020
What if I told you that all the motivation you used to work out with is not worth anything...
If you’ve just started lifting, you know the drill:
Likely you started out with a beginner’s high—the anticipation of doing something new and the adrenaline and excitement that come with learning new skills and adding beneficial steps to your daily routine.
However, that adrenaline likely plateaued shortly after you began!
When it comes to maintaining consistency, you may find that sheer motivation isn’t a good enough tool for getting you to the gym.
You need to develop stronger muscles—along with the physical muscles on your body!—to ensure that you keep going, day after day, even when the going isn’t particularly fun.
Today, we’ll discuss several strategies for beginning lifters to help maintain consistency while going to the gym and gaining strength.
Motivation Is Worthless For Working Out
Motivation will not get through years of average and boring workouts. It will take consistency and discipline in order to get meaningful results. You can start small and gradually scale your workout higher.
How to Stick to Your Workout Plan When You Aren’t Motivated
Set a long term vision, and stick to it.
It does not get as simple as that.
However, that can be a little nebulous. Here are five practical, far more specific tips for staying on track when you really don’t want to.
- Work on shifting your perspective.
Don’t think of yourself as someone who works out occasionally—think of yourself as an athlete.
Don’t focus on losing weight or being a bodybuilder at the end of the process; think of yourself as that now!
Focus on the idea of incorporating working out into your life as a habit instead of as the means to an end.
It’ll naturally help you believe that this is part of your life now, instead of an annoyance or inconvenience—which will help you struggle less to keep the habit going.
Consider objective-based goals, like losing a certain amount of weight or being able to lift a certain amount of weight—or goals that are simply achievable through putting the time in, like working out five days in a row, or clocking in a certain number of hours in the gym.
The latter might be less frustrating!
Each goal achieved will help you want to do this more.
- Pick a time to achieve that goal.
Having a distinct rhythm to your day that includes a time you’re going to work out will make it harder for you to skip doing it on a routine basis.
- Try to implement variety into your workouts if you have not found your stride yet.
If you’re a bodybuilder, then it’s true:
You’ll be doing the same sets over and over again by design.
If that’s your situation, try to vary other parts of it through progressive overload, switching up the order of your sets when it doesn’t matter which order they go in, or even small things like the music you listen to or inviting friends to join you.
Neurologically speaking, this will help you believe that things are changing and progressing, even when they don’t seem to be—and that will give you a boost of energy, which will help you commit!
- Work out with others for accountability!
If you have a trainer, great—one of their jobs is to help you get into the gym every day.
If that’s not in the cards for you, work out with friends, tell other people that you’re going to be working out at a set time each day, or even just learn to say hello to the other people who happen to be in the gym at the same time as you.
This will create a subtle (or obvious) expectation around your consistent workouts which will help make you think you need to do it.
Focus On the Reasons You’re Working Out
If you don’t have a clear-cut and constantly accessible reason for getting to the gym, you’re not going to!
Humans are naturally productive creatures.
Even the laziest and least focused among us need to know that what we’re doing matters, so it’s a good idea to distill your rationale for doing what you’re doing and remembering it!
Taking this literally and writing out your reasons for working out and taping them up somewhere so you see it every day will help.
Mark Murphy from Forbes explains that, according to neuroscience, your brain sometimes needs to see something in writing to believe it—and the act of writing it down can help cement it in your mind (this is also why taking notes during classes is a good way of learning things).
If you’re having a hard time finding that specific reason, always remember that going to the gym will help you achieve strength and results by staying disciplined and consistent even if things aren’t that fun at the moment.
Decide That This Is Worth It To You
There’s no getting around it:
Getting healthier is objectively a good thing that everyone should do that has clear benefits, but going the extra couple of miles to become a bodybuilder does take a much higher commitment.
In order to justify the hours that you’ll be putting into the gym and into your body, you need to decide if this is something that you truly want to do with your life.
Honesty is key!
Take a hard look at the reasons you got into this in the first place.
Was it to impress someone else?
Did you start on a whim?
If you’re going to be a bodybuilder, you have to accept the fact that you’ll be sinking a lot of time into it, as well as other resources.
Life is short, ultimately—so you have to be aware of this trade-off and sign-off on it in order to make this happen.
Remember that first feeling of excitement that you had when you decided you were going to be doing this?
That feeling can be deceptive.
It’ll come and go, and definitely won’t be present for most of the time that you’re working out—so you can’t be working out for that excitement and that drama.
Most of the days will be boring, but those are the days that will build your results over time.
Forget about that sense of wanting to work out, in that flimsy, adrenaline-fueled way—you need to invest in a deeper passion and build stronger habits than that because that level of motivation will come and go.
Ultimately, this is your life—and you need to decide what you’re going to do with it, and then stick to it!