My Motivational Habits.

I’ll be honest with you; this is a fun topic for me! We have all been there! We’ve got things to do, but no desire to get it done. For me, motivation is finding a stimulus that sparks me to act and continue progressing. We all want to achieve our goals, but sometimes that journey gets tough. I know mine did, and learning how to stay motivated was essential to keep on the path. When the going gets tough, the tough get motivated! When progression becomes too challenging, being crystal clear on what I want is vital. There are three crucial aspects of motivation for me; creating SMART goals, linking rewards to achievement, and using motivational pain. So, here’s my 5 cents. It’s my way of looking at the world, and if it resonates with you, great. If it doesn’t, that’s great too. It’s your 5 cents now, so do with it what you may. My goal is to give you a different perspective, my perspective, on staying motivated.

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented, and Time-bound goals, aka SMART goals, is an essential factor in staying motivated. SMART goals are the micro-goals that you make to keep you focused on achieving something bigger. Additionally, SMART goals allow you to track and see progress. I like to write my SMART goals out horizontally. This technique may sound odd, but it helps me better visualize my progress and achievements towards my larger goal. Writing down goals vertically, for me, always seems like a never-ending to-do list. This visualization of progress and seeing that you are, indeed, making progress is a huge motivator. It shows you that the bigger goal is more within reach, the more you go along the horizontal line. Add rewards to milestones along that horizontal line, and now, you have something to look forward to along your journey. The small wins and celebrating them are just as important as the celebration of the big win. When you achieve results, treating yourself to something you want and desire is another excellent way to stay motivated. Especially if it’s something you don’t often have.

So, remember how I said that progress and rewarding results are great motivators. Well, sometimes, those aren’t strong enough stimuli to continue prompting action. Early morning training is my nemesis! Waking up earlier than I desire to train a client is something that I have to motivate myself to do. I use multiple stimuli to get me up and ready for early morning clients. Being high energy for clients takes a bit of motivation, and “because they paid for it, and I need the money.” I assure you, it is not good enough. For me, disappointing my clients when they’ve committed, and are putting in the effort, is the most potent stimulus for me to wake up early and bring the energy they need to keep going.

I have a particular terminology for this kind of motivation. I refer to it as “motivational pain.”. The emotional pain felt from a disappointing or potentially disappointing event can be a powerful stimulus. There are two events in my life where this became super apparent. It was an intra-school sports day, 1992, and I was selected to run the 100m. There were six people in the race, and the other runners were older and bigger than me. No-one anticipated I would win that race but lo and behold; I crushed it. I didn’t even know I could run that fast, and in one day, I was the youngest and fastest boy in my age division.

Fast forward to 1993, I haven’t lost an intra-school race since, and my school has asked me to represent them in my first inter-school track meet. I was ecstatic and very naive. I believed that being the fastest in my primary school would automatically translate into the fastest in the world. Well, I was wrong. I came seventh in an eight-person race. I watched them pull away from me, and no matter how much I wanted it, I couldn’t go any faster. I was disappointed, and I was angry. That feeling magnified when I had to share those results with my family and friends. The disappointment I felt because I wasn’t even fast enough to medal?! It’s one of the most intense stimuli I’ve ever experienced. I trained relentlessly, and one year later, at the same meet, I came second. And one year after that, I couldn’t be beaten.

My second situation is similar, but the pain wasn’t from my disappointment in myself. It was the disappointment someone else had in me. It’s 2003, my first year of college. To give you some background, I graduated high school in the top 5%, athlete of the year, and president of the school. I left high-school ready to take on the world and ready to taste true independence. I could schedule classes as I saw fit, drink when I wanted, and not go to classes if I so chose. My first semester was terrific, but as I got sucked into this new freedom, I began slacking on my school responsibilities. In my second semester, I failed all of my courses. I was disappointed, but I knew I could retake those courses and build my grade back up. So, I wasn’t particularly worried. However, at the same time, my mom was having the best professional year of her career. She was awarded and recognized as the teacher of the year. And there was a huge ceremony to celebrate her years of hard work and dedication to teaching the youth of our future. And to top it off, I’m wasting time and the resources my parents pumped into my education. I cannot begin to describe the look of disappointment on my parent’s faces when I told them I just failed my semester. I felt I had robbed my parents, and every time they looked at me, my heart sank. Never again, I said to myself. I found a night job and went to day-classes to pay my way through college. I needed to regain their faith and trust in me. I needed to prove that I was serious about my life and my education. Did I miss class again? Damn right I did, but my grades never slipped. I was motivated and hyper-focused by the thought of having to see those disappointing looks. Again. Up to this day, this memory is still one of the most impactful motivational stimuli I carry with me.

Fitness and nutrition are lifestyle changes. There is no quick fix, and finding your motivation to keep you moving along your journey, is a tool that will grant you immeasurable progress. I wish you good health, happiness, and fulfillment! From your mindset to your lifestyle to your nutrition, find your stimulus, keep motivated, and keep progressing!

And remember, to live your best life, health and fitness is never one size fit all. You must find what works for you, and I’m here to help if you want it!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments