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How Do I Always Stay Motivated? I Don't. [The Blunt Truth of CHOICE]

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm dragging today. My eyelids are heavy, and I did not prepare well enough to have time to make coffee at 5:00 am this morning before leaving the house.

Despite having woken up at 4:34 this morning and shuffled my way to the bathroom to get ready for the gym, made breakfast, ate breakfast, and headed out the door at 5:10 a.m., I am not motivated.

You might be thinking: "What?! NOT Motivated? How can that BE? I mean, you GOT UP so early! You got to the gym and worked out HARD this morning!! That takes a TON of motivation!!"

No, not really.

Motivation isn't always what it takes.

I get a lot of people who come across my spark page or blogs early on in their journey and gush lots of excited [and some dumbfounded] questions about "how did you DO it? How do you STAY MOTIVATED?!" [Don't get me wrong- I LOVE wonderful, excited people who come to me with questions, anxious for change! It's fabulous!] And so, in answer to their many questions, I've written several blogs about the actual process of how I lost weight, and what I now do in my current life to maintain my "new self." But I don't know that I've blogged specifically about motivation before, so this is it.

The truth is [for me, anyway]: You don't always need to be motivated. It's impossible [in my experience]. Motivation HELPS you to make positive choices toward your goal, but it is not an absolute necessity to make good decisions.

So what IS necessary, if not motivation?

The choice itself.

Recognizing that you have the complete POWER TO CHOOSE whether or not you get up for the gym will completely negate any excuses you may have about "not feeling motivated."

Let's say you AREN'T motivated. Like me, yesterday [well, and today too, but I chose differently today]. My alarm went off. I looked at the clock. I groaned. I was warm and tired and sore. I made a choice. Reset my alarm. Went back to sleep.

And that was that.

It was my CHOICE to skip the gym. Could I have chosen differently? Absolutely. But I didn't, so I live with my choice, knowing I won't complete every workout I planned this week.

This morning, same thing. Alarm went off, 4:34 a.m. I looked at the clock. I laid there, awake, trying to reason through my list of excuses for not getting up. "I could go later..? I could just workout BOTH weekend days instead...? I could skip today..I mean, 4 days of gym is still good..." I made a choice. And I got up, hating every sleepy step I took to the bathroom while my husband lay cozy and warm in slumber.

But it was a good choice, though unmotivated.

Here, again, you may be thinking: "How??? How do you CHOOSE something like that when you aren't MOTIVATED?!"

Here's my unsatisfying, unglamorous, blunt answer: You just do.

There is no secret. No magic special quality that "some" people possess and you do not. That's total crap. We each have the ability to make choices and follow through, or not. You ARE capable of choosing to do something for yourself, even when you don't "feel like it" or aren't motivated and jazzed and pumped and thrilled and skippity-doo-dah-day about it.

I'm not advocating that you must now always CHOOSE to go to the gym in the morning. That's just my life-- not yours. Your choices will be different because your goals are different, responsibilities are different, priorities are different, etc etc.

But really. The next time you're tempted to use "I'm just not feeling motivated" as some kind of "reason" (it's an excuse) to not follow through with something you know is good for you and your health, remember that you have the power to CHOOSE whatever you end up doing.

You are NOT powerless. You are NOT weak.

YOU are in control of you.

And chances are, as soon as you get moving or choosing whatever healthy choice you had in mind, you'll start to FEEL that excitement and motivation that's so helpful in our journeys. [Or maybe you won't. But hey- YOU'RE DOING IT!] :)


"You have brains in your head. Your feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am so glad that I stumbled across your blog today. I really needed to "hear" this.
    2353 days ago
    Just getting around to reading your blogs after my vacation! Loved this thought, and realized first hand yesterday just how true this concept is! I didn't feel like exercising but chose to anyways and after I started was when the motivation kicked in and I wanted to do more! Thanks for all your blogs, your so awesome! And good luck with school and your new business, I am so excited for you, and look forward to my career change too!
    ~Katie M. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2453 days ago
    I've been lucky enough to realize this early on in my journey. Just knowing this is sometimes enough to keep me going even when I don't feel motivated to eat right and exercise.
    2457 days ago
    i wish i could record this and play it for myself every morning.... i just can't seem to get past pushing the snooze button!
    2461 days ago
    Your post made me see the light. I always thought people that got up in the morning did possess some type of special motivation or they were just born that way and not me. You’re correct it is really a choice we have. We just got to get off the excuses and just do it.

    Thanks for sharing
    2461 days ago
  • CARM1401
    So true, we are in control.
    2461 days ago
    awesome blog. You are awesomw
    2462 days ago
  • MSBLT82
    Great blog... and so very true.

    also, I love your spark page background, now I want to go make a big fruit salad, lol
    2463 days ago
    Great post! You really do just have to make the choice and do it! For me, I don't think exercising is even a choice now. I don't give myself a choice. I always keep my dates with myself to workout. The only time I skip is when my body is hurting & telling me I need to rest, not work. My struggles are more with food! But, I need to come to terms with that in my head, too...that eating good is the only option! For me, that is what I need to do.
    2463 days ago
  • SASHAG1123
    Great blog! Thanks for your honesty...I think we need that more than 'motivation'. emoticon
    2464 days ago
    Thanks for your blog. All well-stated truths that I know...but, sometimes we need to hear someone else say them.

    2464 days ago
  • BRIAN36
    so right. I've been fighting a chest cold for 6 days now. No workouts. I'm Still sick this morning but I chose to go to the gym and just do what I could. It's too easy to get out of the habit. Motivated? heck no! it's just something I know I have to do.
    2464 days ago
  • THEIS58
    emoticon emoticon
    2464 days ago
    I was SO you this morning! I'm tired - I'm on day 77 of P90X and I missed a workout on Wednesday because of having people over at my house for a jewelry party so today I had to work out because of that. But I got off my butt and did my workout anyway. My next rest day is next week Sunday but I'm so close to day 90 I don't want to quit. Thanks for the reminder and the truth. There are MANY times I don't feel like working out but I ALWAYS feel better when I do.
    2464 days ago
    This was so me this morning - warm bed, cold outside and I did not want to go out for my walk/run but I did because I knew it was the right thing for me if I wanted to reach my goals and have consistency in my life even when I don't feel like it. Thanks for letting me know others feel the same from time to time.
    2464 days ago
  • ANEWME42012
    Thanks for your blog. For me it's not so much using no motivation as an excuse but actively sabotaging myself. Will just have to go on auto-pilot from now on and carry on as planned...
    emoticon emoticon
    2464 days ago
    Great blog! Spot on!
    2465 days ago
    loooved this blog
    2465 days ago
    Good blog... I can relate. Many days I don't feel motivated, in the mood, or pumped, but I force my butt to the gym. It's a choice. It's about setting priorities. Sometimes, it's just about developing a habit.

    Thanks for writing about this so honestly. emoticon
    2465 days ago
    Thank you for bursting my excuse bubble! I will be changing my status as soon as I leave this comment....... emoticon
    2465 days ago
  • KARMA70
    Great blog! So true!!

    For awhile I was feeling very blah and was not doing much to move myself toward my ultimate goal. Everyday it got easier and easier to just not exercise and to have that extra helping or cookie. But then I realized that if I didn't get off my butt and start moving I never would again and I would lose all the progress that I had made. I never want to go back to the person I was mentally or physically so I made the choice (even though I didn't want to!) to start exercising and tracking again. The first few days were a struggle but I kept at it and you're right now I'm feeling the excitement and motivation again!
    2465 days ago
    Great Blog!!! So true!!!
    2465 days ago
  • GINA180847
    Something that has helped me is imagining my child and adult self. The child says " I want" and the adult says "You must wait till it is appropriate". The child says "I don't feel like it" but the adult says "It is necessary". The child says "I'm tired" and the adult says "You can go on a bit further and rest in a bit". This is something that I cannot unknow and it spoils many a temper tantrum for me and keeps me acting more appropriately pretending I really am an adult.
    2465 days ago
    as Nike trademarked: Just Do It.

    I feel ya, I say that to myself at least once a day, especially in the mornings when my lazy boyfriend is asleep next to me! haha
    2465 days ago
  • CRISSA1669
    I have to say, this is the BEST blog I've read here on Spark so far, I couldn't have said it better if I had written it myself and given enough time at this weight loss thing, I probably would have written it. lol I believe what you said 10000%. Do or not Do, just don't make excuses. So glad you wrote this, I'm going to share it with my sister who seems to think motivation is the end all be all and wonders how I can work out 6 days a week and sometimes twice a day!! NO WAY am I motivated to sweat that much, but I just do it anyway because the fat on my body just won't leave without a fight!! Thanks!!
    2465 days ago
    Well said. Many of us are so focused on acheiving our goals that we forget that only continued good choices will keep us on the right track for a lifetime.
    2466 days ago
    Soooooo true!! Thank you for the reminder to keep CHOOSING the RIGHT thing, even if it's the HARD thing and even if I Don't-Wanna.

    2466 days ago
    Wow - thanks for this excellent blog - you say it so well! Have a great day.
    2466 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your blog. Oh so true. This has given me food for thought. emoticon
    2466 days ago
  • CHERYL7730
    LOVE your background ! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2466 days ago
    All so true. Gives me something to think about. Great blog, as usual.
    2466 days ago
    I LOVE this blog!!!
    It's all about responsibility and power.
    Thanks for saying it so well.
    2466 days ago
    right on!
    2466 days ago
  • NINNY165
    Thank you for putting it all in perspective. In order to reach your goal, you must make more choices that move you toward your goal then away from it,,,then you will see progress. It is not about perfection, but progress. I may not be where I want to be...but I am definitely not where I was.
    2466 days ago
  • SWADE1007
    Right on girl ;) Couldn't have said it better myself
    2466 days ago
    when mtoivation fades, good ol' habit and discipline keep me going (and the fear of regretting what I don't get done).
    2466 days ago
    This is so true! As I walk along the weighloss path I find numerous choices everyday. By slowly begining to make the healthier choices, they become habit, and eventually you want to make the good choice. I like your blog, it always helps when someone articulates what I cannot.
    2466 days ago
    Truly fantastic blog! Completely true! I was totally unmotivated today but I got off the couch and went to the fitness room anyway! Everything we do is truly a choice!
    2466 days ago
    Thank you for that blog. I woke up earlier this morning not "feeling well". That usually means I just want to lay around all day and get nothing done which in the end always leaves me feeling gross. So I did exactly what you talked about in your blog I chose to get up, put on my workout clothes, walk out the door and go to the park to do my run. Do I chose every time to walk out that door? Nope! Just yesterday I decided not to do a darn thing and was actually okay with that choice. It was really nice to come onto this site this morning and find your blog when I got home, it helped me.
    2466 days ago
    Yes yes YES! We ARE doing it!!! Love your raw blunt to the point and matter of fact truths! I really agree with everything here. Thank you!
    2466 days ago
  • PUNKIN77
    This was perfect for me! I've been trying to wrap my head around all the feelings I've been having about my progress (and, more often, lack thereof) and I would always blame motivation. This was just what I needed today and I'm even gonna print it out and post it on my wall at home to keep reminding me of my power to choose. THanks!!
    2467 days ago
    Just what I needed today, thanks!
    2467 days ago
    Thank you for your post. I can identify with making the choice, be it exercise or eating something.
    2467 days ago
    This post is really going to help me. Ijust started so I have a lot of motivation at the moment but I know that will fade in time. Thank you for this blog post! emoticon
    2467 days ago
    I loved this blog because it confirmed what I had been experiencing for the last few weeks, so much of what we do is choice and not merely motivation. Thank you for reminding us of "the blunt truth."
    2467 days ago
    I am one of those new gushy Sparker's! Mostly I am amazed to find another woman that is the same height! Your starting weight is just 3 pounds off of mine! YOU my Dear are motivation! I started last night with coming up with excuses to get out of doing my obligations today! Instead I will CHOSE to get my behind moving!
    2467 days ago
    Thank you for sharing.
    2467 days ago
    2467 days ago
    Thanks for the post Whitney! I totally agree with you emoticon
    2467 days ago
  • PHD140
    thanks for posting this, I grossly overestimated the role of motivation and I'm just now learning this lesson. Sometimes telling myself "I have NO CHOICE" can eliminate needless struggle, but I think settling into a healthy routine is the best of all. I need to be well rested and pack my gym bag the night before so waking up to go to the gym is as painless as possible. I also need to plan and pack my meals in advance so I'm not tempted and know that I have something yummy to look forward to!
    2467 days ago
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