When it comes to getting back into the gym we often have a lot of inner dialogue leading up to the big day, and it almost always looks and sounds like this: “Today is the day! Today I WILL be motivated. Today I will get after it…Whatever it is…No, fuck that, today I will go BEAST MODE… Wtf is beast mode… Ughh. Maybe tomorrow. Alright for sure, definitely tomorrow, I’m gonna start going to the gym again.”
Sound like you? Congrats, you also sound like everyone else… The question here is why does this happen to everyone and how do we fix it?
Motivation As You Know it is Hot Garbage
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you learned something so seemingly obvious that once you understood it, you were a little bit embarrassed that you didn’t already know it? Brace yourself, this may be one of those times.
The concept of motivation as a whole, not just specifically related to the gym, is fundamentally flawed for most people. We sit and think about all the things we could or would do if we could just simply get motivated! “I could totally run a marathon if I would just get motivated to go run!” No shit. Of course you could. But you don’t. As a result, you won’t.
Here’s the deal with motivation: if you wait for motivation to strike, you are going to waste a lot of time. Motivation is not a random lighting strike of possibility. It is specific and tactical. Fact: we are motivated by success – success in any form. Do you ever think about why people like to do things they are good at? Success breeds more success, which breeds more motivation. It is an endless cycle of victory! You’re probably thinking, “Of course it does, but that’s not my problem. I need help getting motivated in the first place.” Good, keep reading.
Motivation Happens When You Consistently String Small Victories Together
In his book The Motivation Myth, Jeff Haden says, “Success is repeatable and predictable. It’s about doing the right things diligently, the right way, over and over.” This is a huge theme is this book and I personally believe every bit of it. When it comes down to being successful at anything you have to start with your goal and the steps you will take to reach it. Motivation is what happens as you start to make measurable steps towards your goal.
Here’s the real deal: If you wait for motivation to strike to get going on something like going to the gym or eating healthy, etc. you are going to be waiting a long time and all you will end up with is a bunch of wasted time. People often look at motivation as a functional fix to a problem that in and of itself is not functional but, instead, adaptive.
You cannot just will something to change. You must start with your why and then develop a process around that why. If you are familiar with S.M.A.R.T (an acronym for a goal setting approach meaning, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound) goals you understand that without a process your likelihood of achievement is low. Saying you will go to the gym when you are motivated is not a bad plan; it’s the omission of a plan. It fundamentally does not make sense and will not work long term. As a result, it will not create change. It will, however, cause you to end up back in the same position you are in right now. Sitting on your coach a few weeks from now thinking about the next time motivation strikes to hit the gym and go H.A.M…
Functional VS Adaptive Problems
Knowing that motivation is a byproduct of success is important not just for the sake of being a reasonable human being but also for identifying how to effectively solve a problem. When we talk about going to the gym we are typically discussing this because we believe it to be the solution to a greater problem. Examples being a lack of physical fitness, health, we want to look a certain way, strength, boredom, etc. This is an important designation. If going to the gym were not a solution, we would have no reason to go, right? This being the case we can now identify what type of problem this is (hint: its an adaptive one).
Functional problem = I am hungry. Solution = I eat food
Adaptive problem = I need to lose weight. Solution = I change my current habits, behaviors and lifestyle to support my weight loss.
With adaptive problems you cannot provide an off the cuff solution and assume it will be effective for creating any lasting change. Therefore, trying to tie things to a simple solution like motivation to a problem like working out or going to the gym is not a long term effectual solution. You must change the way you are approaching that area entirely from behavior to overall lifestyle. This happens with a good plan that has predetermined steps and touch points. Once that happens and you start to achieve those small early steps in your plan, motivation will build and start to propel you forward at an exponential pace. “Wow, this all sounds great, but now I don’t know if I can do all of this on my own!”
Don’t Martyr Yourself, Ask for Help
If you don’t know what to do or how to do it, ask for help. There are plenty of places to go, people to talk to, and communities to become a part of. Here’s the deal, like = like. If you find a community of like minded people (people who want what you want or have what you want) I guarantee you will find the support you need and the assistance in developing a plan, as long as you are open to it!
The modality doesn’t matter, you can start with Personal Training, CrossFit, Yoga, Barre, HIIT, or Indoor Cycling classes. You will find something that works for you and something you like. The important part is working within a system that is progressive and facilitates small victories over time.
Ask the questions, build relationships. Everything is easier when you have people in your corner and a community to support you. (Really selling the “change your life” thing here.) Do you want to workout, be healthy, and strong? Go to a place that personifies those things. Places like District Athletic Club in New Haven, where multiple communities and modalities of fitness exist, have people who understand the struggles of achieving goals and finding their motivation.
If you’re looking for a motivation solution, I don’t think you’re going to find one. If change is what you want and support getting there is what you need, find a community that will be your ally in the process.
District Athletic Club offers a free week pass to try everything and get to know the community. It has no obligation and is the best way to start something new. Immerse yourself in it.
Check out the class schedule here.
I hope this helps you, moreover we hope to help you.