What is Motivation, and Why Don't I Feel It?
by KD Marini
What is motivation?
Why am I not motivated?
How do I get motivated?

Perhaps you’ve tried to start, or stick with a workout program only to find you lacked motivation. You may have even blamed yourself or wondered what was wrong with you; other people seem motivated! You see other people in the gym exercising hard. They look happy. They seem to be highly motivated. You’ve probably even heard people saying how much they love their workouts and how they feel bad when they miss a workout…. Still you wonder why you don’t have more of that.

What Motivation Really Is

One issue could be what you think motivation means; what it is. Are you expecting to be overcome by some great desire to exercise? Let’s redefine the word; redirect your expectations. Rarely, if ever, does that happen. It is a mistake to wait for a feeling of motivation. Real motivation is not a feeling. It is a mindset. You first decide what it is you’re going to do and then you honor that commitment to yourself. This may seem discouraging but it should not be. What this means is you are in control of your motivation. It is not some magical elusive rainbow unicorn that comes along to grace the path of those lucky motivated few, but not you. The good news is you have all the power!

Why Don’t I Feel Motivated?

If you think you do not have the power to act motivated, I suggest you’re wrong. Think about some other commitments you keep in your life. When you’re supposed to go to work or school, do you wait until you feel motivated? Or do you just go because you decided ahead of time to do it and didn’t stop to ask yourself if you want to go at the moment? This holds true for many activities in life, both important and insignificant. Most of the time when you take a shower, you don’t ponder the urge to do so. No! You just believe it is a good idea that will benefit you (and others), so you just do it. The same should be true with your workouts! Don’t ask yourself IF you really want to; if the mood has stricken; or if you are “motivated.” Just go do it!

More good news —
Very often, once you start, that feeling you were waiting for will arise. That’s right, the feeling of motivation more often FOLLOWS action rather than preceding it!

How Do I Get Motivated?

Even more good news! There are measures you can take to ensure you follow through with the commitment you’ve made to yourself and get that workout in. Establishing a pre-workout routine can be enormously helpful. Consider taking a pre-workout supplement. These products come in a variety of categories with different benefits. Some are designed to minimize muscle loss while enhancing fat loss. Others optimize muscle gain. Many increase energy. The degree to which they improve the actual physical results of your workout will vary and may be debatable. One attribute they all share which is undeniable is they increase the likelihood of the subject (that’s you) completing the task at hand (getting in the gym and getting that workout done). It is easy enough to take that supplement and, once taken, you are not going to want its benefit to go to waste. The supplement is only going to work if you do the workout, therefore, you will be far more likely to follow through with your workout.

"The feeling of motivation more often follows, rather than proceeds action."

Another helpful measure you can take is to make an appointment for your workout. Put it in your schedule like you would any other important event. An appointment adds accountability and increases the follow-through rate. This result is amplified if you make the appointment with another person. This person can be a friend or a professional. When selecting a friend to be your workout partner, choose someone who will pull you up rather than drag you down. Ideally your workout partner will be highly reliable and consistently positive. S/he will encourage you without expecting too much in return (remember, you are seeking help with your motivation, you may not have a ton to give in this arena).

It may be difficult to find an ideal workout partner in a friend; that is when a personal trainer will be valuable. Not only can the trainer be your external driving force making sure you get your workout in, s/he will have knowledge and experience to maximize said workout. The trainer will take on the responsibility of planning the best workout for you and encouraging you to finish it stronger than you otherwise would. A good trainer has conquered the questions of motivation and will have more tips, tricks, stories, and hacks to share with you!

So now you know, motivation is about actions taken regardless of the momentary feelings. Go out there and take the actions, do the behaviors, use the tools of a motivated individual. Before you know it, you may catch yourself FEELING motivated!

by KD Marini