Where does this motivation for getting fit come from? What is the right kind of motivation? How do I channel this motivation? How do I sustain this motivation?
These are questions that should have come into my mind when I started my journey of fitness 2 years ago. If they had, a lot of the problems I faced could have been avoided. But then, this blog post would not have materialized. I want to share what happened to me, mentally, over the course of these 2 years.
Where did I get my motivation?
Initially, my motivation wasn’t to get fit at all. I wanted a 6 pack. Simple as that. And this served as my motivation for the first 3 months of my fitness journey. How did I do? If you have read my previous posts in this category, you’ll know that I failed miserably. I even went on to stop all exercises and let my body go for 4 months after that. And then, I picked up again, and I haven’t stopped since.
The change, the second time around was that I wasn’t working to getting a 6 pack anymore. It wasn’t my motivation. Getting a 6-pack, was just one of my goals.
So what is the difference between motivation and goals?
That’s a tricky question. It might seem like the exact same thing, but I see a subtle difference, a difference that will change the way you approach fitness. Motivation is the WHY of working out. Goals are the WHAT of working out.
You workout for a reason, which is your motivation. In the process, you achieve certain things for yourself, which are your goals.
What is the right kind of motivation?
The second part of my journey was fantastic because my motivation to workout was to look good, to feel good. It was self esteem. It was internal. Your motivation could be to get stronger. To get fuller. To feel better. It’s a feeling. The right kind of motivation is a feeling that makes you feel happy, content and super pumped about what you have/or are about to achieve.
With “get fit, look good, feel strong” as my motivation, I then began to tackle the things I needed to have to feel all this. That’s where my goals came into play. My goals became-getting a 6 pack, getting bigger biceps, being able to run 3 km at a stretch, doing 50 pushups.
So you see where I am going with this? Your motivation decides what goals you want to achieve. Your goals can be a part of your motivation, but they cannot be just the motivation. Why, you ask?
Because sometimes, you may not be able to achieve your goals. Sometimes, you don’t see results you expected. Sometimes, your goals will seem too far away. In such times, if your motivation is directly sourced from your goals, then you motivation will die. That’s what happened to me. I wanted 6 pack abs and I was initially fuelled by that as a motivation. But after 3 months, when that didn’t happen, I gave up. I lost the motivation.
How did I channel this motivation?
Once I figured out what my motivation was, I went on a steady diet of approval, appreciation and validation. I wanted to feel good. I wanted to look good. I wanted to be stronger. So the smallest increase in my looks or strength would be met with a lot of happiness, pictures and showing off to my friends. It helps. Because, all of this is feeling. You need to fuel it with feeling. When I managed to run 2.8 km at a stretch, it was followed by a super excited text to my best friend. When I did 40 push ups for the first time at a stretch, it was followed by showing off to my brother. When I saw my belly reduce just a tiny bit, it was followed by pictures.
What I found when I did this was, it helped me set new targets, and feel more renewed each time. After I did 40 push ups, next I would push myself to hit 45. Then 50. And so on. The entire process became a challenge to myself, and it was exhilarating.
So channel that motivation through constant updates, approval of the smallest changes and celebrate it.
How did I sustain it?
By continuously channelling it. If you keep doing what makes you feel good, and if you keep validating even the slightest change in you, you will find no trouble in keeping the motivation going. I know, because I’m doing that. 1 year and my motivation is still going strong.