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Finding motivation: 5 ways to make it happen!

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Originally published on my previous blog - From Wine to Fine - on 3/19/18

I hear these words A LOT from friends and followers. Many folks feel like they've missed the motivation train and simply wait and wait for the next train to arrive. However, I'm here to tell you that train ain't comin'! Motivation is an inside job, and you're gonna have to drive yourself!

Motivation. noun

  1. the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

  2. the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

I think we can all fully agree that motivation is required for countless aspects of our lives (i.e. parenting, employment), but my focus today is on health and wellness (since that's what people inquire the most from me).

Fitness, health, wellness, exercise- whatever you want to call it- has not always been a staple in my life. In high school, my parents basically said, "If you don't play a sport, you've gotta work!" I went with work after my short-lived attempts at the competitive dance team (giggling during performances and forgetting steps does not fair well in this sport) and the crew team (I was a strong rower, but apparently you need to not be terrified of deep water).

However, I wanted to do something to move my body, so I requested a gym membership. I also requested a personal trainer because I had not a single clue what to do inside of a gym. My parents fronted the sessions at first, and after awhile I started spending my hard-earned-teenage-cash on keeping those sessions going.

When my teenage body started changing into this strong little woman, I was blown away! I was intrigued that lifting heavy things, counting macros (rather than calories), and being consistent could actually produce such a product.

Eventually the sessions stopped. Enter the high school parties. Enter the college "Freshmen 15." Enter more hours at work. Enter excuses.

Sure, I would occasionally hit up a gym or go for a run and feel like a million bucks afterwards. But I had NO MOTIVATION to keep it a regular thang.

It wasn't until I was 25-years-old, moving across country with my now husband, that I committed to a regular exercise routine. The P90x wave was high, and I decided to join the ride! (Don't worry- this is NOT a Beachbody plug by any means. I'm not a coach. I'm not selling anything. Been there. Done that. Not for me!). However, it was the first time I committed to something positive all on my own- a fitness routine!

I realized the ONLY way I'd be MOTIVATED to get my workouts done was to completely commit, and I've been making similar commitments to my health and fitness ever since.

Now I understand MY motivation may not be YOUR motivation; however, here are my tips on creating, building, establishing, and rolling out motivation (especially as it applies to fitness):

1. Define your "Why?"

What is it that you really want to gain from running, lifting weights, yoga, joining a fitness tribe, etc.? Why do you even want to commit? What inspires you to commit?

Prior to starting the P90x gig, I was sick of how I looked and felt. I was bloated and lethargic. My mind was foggy and I desperately needed a hobby and an effective outlet. Plus, I saw others on social media benefitting from regular exercise, and I loved the idea that it was "only 90 days." So my "why" became to better my appearance, fill some time, and prove to myself that I could complete an entire exercise program.

My "why" has definitely changed over the years, because now I motivate myself to exercise for my sanity saver, my "me time," my overall health, my therapy, to set an example for my kids, and honestly, because I've grown to LOVE it!

But when those days arise where I have no desire to squeeze into a sports bra and lace up my tennis shoes, I think of my "why."

2. Schedule it.

In my personal and humble opinion, you cannot wing-it. You'll have a higher success rate of completing a workout if you SCHEDULE IT! Plan ahead. Make the time. Make it a priority. Let it manifest into a routine.

I have whiteboard calendars, a planner, a shared Google calendar, calendar templates, and more notebooks than I can count. All of these help me to stay organized to plan my workouts. If I skip out on scheduling, I'll most likely skip it all and slip. I'll also feel frazzled and overwhelmed. I need a schedule. I need to know what is coming so I can prepare both mentally and physically.

Plus, there is that wonderful feeling of accomplishment when you look back on the days, weeks, and even months of your hard work. That feeling alone motivates me to keep going, to try harder, and to get it done!

So next time you've got your planner out, schedule in some workouts. Commit to trying a new fitness class. You won't want to let yourself down by not keeping to your scheduled "appointments."

3. Weigh the pros and cons.

What are the best things to come if you commit to a workout or a fitness challenge? What would be the worst things to happen if you did (or didn't)? How will you feel after you finish a workout, even if it's just a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood? How will your tummy feel after eating an entire pizza? How would you feel if you succumbed to the Taco Bell drive-thru instead of going straight home?

You've gotta give yourself some perspective on the commitment- both the good and bad- and use that perspective to motivate you.

Don't have any interest what-so-ever in running? Then don't do it! Find something you do love!

Do you have some physical ailments that would prevent you from lifting (heavy) weights? Then maybe look into other options like Barre, yoga, or Zumba.

Weigh the good and bad and then tailor it to your lifestyle, goals, and willingness. Let the motivation come from your realism and (newfound) perspective of all things good and bad.

4. Team up.

Accountability. Accountability. Accountability! If you can find even one person to help you stay accountability, you'll be well on your way to feeling motivated.

By connecting with others, you implant the thought process of not letting them down. You don't want to fall behind or feel like you're not holding your end of the commitment. Plus, you can both give and receive encouragement when you hit those rocky days. Who wouldn't want a cheerleader to help get his or her booty moving?

If you need some encouragement, let me know! I'm happy to help! Or find a tribe in-person or on social-media. Your people are out there, but you have to be willing to seek them out.

5. Just do it!

When all else fails, and you just don't feel like doing a workout- DO IT ANYWAY! Use whatever emotional and physical gas you have in the tank and just get it done!

Drop the excuses (unless their legit, like you're in the hospital), and get after it! Remember your "Why," how you'll be able to cross it off your schedule soon enough, weigh all the good that will come from doing it, and connect with a friend for some encouragement. You'll be SO glad you did!

Please keep in mind that even though these tips focus solely on fitness, they can be applied to other areas of your life.

Big project at work? Refer to the list.

Kids driving you crazy and you know an adventure is in order? Refer to the list.

Trying to eat healthy? Refer to the list.

Have a an overdue house project? Refer to the list.

Wherever you may need a boost of motivation, refer to the list. And know I'll be rooting for you!

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