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The Trouble With Motivation (Part 2)

Woman running on red rock mountain top

It’s good to have the long-term motivation mindset, especially with an effective system in place (as we talked about in Part 1).

But sometimes you need more of a push to get started.

I’m going to talk about how to do that, and then how to keep yourself going for more than a couple weeks.

The Right Kind of Goals

“Losing weight” is the most common motivation used for dieting and exercise, but it’s often not very effective.

Wanting to lose weight isn’t bad, but between water weight, muscle, fat, waste, etc., weight loss can be a bit complex. (This is one reason we recommend fat loss over weight loss.)

For better motivation, set performance based goals that give you more control.

For example, a goal of “being able to do a pull-up,” is something you can control through specific methods of exercise.

The cool thing about these types of goals is they’re fun to work on, and you’ll likely end up losing weight, or at least fat, in the process.

You achieve multiple outcomes through one goal.

Here are a few more performance based goals for your workouts:

Beginner Fitness Goals: 1 pull-up, 10 push-ups, deadlift 3/4 body weight

Beginner Fitness Goals: 9 minute mile, do a 5k, jog 30 minutes non-stop

For some performance based goals for your diet, I recommend the 12 Habits in our free ebook, “Forever Fat Loss.”


Another proven approach to stay motivated is with a partner. There are several ways to do this.

Find a Friend

One obvious approach is to find a friend to go to the gym with you and workout together.

But you could also go with a friend whether you do the same workout or not. At least you’ll have more reason to go.

Or if your friend doesn’t live close by, both of you can pick the same performance based goal (diet or exercise related) and have some friendly, long-distance competition.

Find a Community

I’m not a big crossfit guy (nor am I anti-crossfit), but one reason so many people like it is because of the sense of community. If you don’t have a friend to go with, you’ll probably make one while you’re there.

The same can be said of group fitness classes. I don’t recommend only doing group exercise, but it can certainly be part of a well rounded exercise routine, especially if it motivates you to get moving.

There are also online communities, Facebook groups, and so on, where you can find people with like-minded goals to communicate with and support each other.

Find a Trainer

You can hire a trainer at a gym to motivate you to not skip your workout. Or, of course, you can become one of our online coaching clients to motivate you regularly throughout the week.

The benefit of a trainer is that you’re more likely to see results, which in itself is motivational. (If you’re considering this, check out our article called “Should I Hire a Trainer?”)

Don’t Do Too Much

Once you are motivated, you don’t want to overdo it.

For one thing, that puts you on a fast track to losing your motivation. For another thing, all the motivation in the world won’t stand up against reality.

When you get sick, or busy, or just naturally start to slow down, you won’t be able to maintain a complex diet or workout program.

At the very least you need to know how to scale back effectively. But if motivation is something you struggle with, you’re better off starting with something that isn’t super high intensity to begin with.

How much you can handle varies from person to person. If you’re not sure where to start, our free fitness ebook, “Home Workout for Beginners: Get in Shape in 20 Minutes a Day,” is designed with these concepts in mind.

Get Rid of Distractions

Finding motivation is key, but keeping it can be tricky.

Eventually something will try to steal your focus. What is that for you?

Your tv? Can you put it somewhere less convenient?

Your phone? Can you delete certain time wasting apps?

Video games? Should you pack them away for awhile?

Your social life? Can you be more intentional about how you enjoy time with friends as opposed to going out at every opportunity?

Whatever your personal distraction is, plan ahead on how to keep it at bay.

For some people, making a rule about not being able to watch TV until after you workout may be enough. For others, you might need to box up the TV or cut cable.

Know yourself, and be honest about what you need to do to get rid of distractions.

The Cycle

Motivation comes and goes. Even things that effectively motivate you for awhile may not motivate you in a few weeks or months.

It helps to find short term motivation (like the right goals, or someone to hold you accountable), and to have systems in place to prevent losing motivation (like not doing too much, and getting rid of distractions).

The last component is the long-term motivation / discipline combination I mentioned in Part 1. If you haven’t read that, or need help remembering it, go give it a read.

Then when you’re ready to recharge your motivation again, come back to this blog.

And so on.

Always going back and forth.

Just like your motivation.

Where are you in this cycle right now?


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