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Why Motivation Doesn't Matter

motivation personal training Oct 21, 2020
As my step son likes to say … “OK! QUIZ!” … How many programs (workout, nutrition, personal development or business growth) have you started and stopped in the past year?
To get really specific, how many times did you tell yourself that you quit because you just “lack the motivation or discipline?” … then felt the tiny spike of shame and embarrassment that wraps itself more around your chest with every “failed” attempt?
I’m gonna go big here, and for the next month tell you:
MOTIVATION (the way we think of it anyway) DOESN’T MATTER.
Here’s why:
  1. Intrinsic motivation - the thing that just drives you to do that workout at 6 am even though you’d rather sleep - is one of the most limited resources we have when it comes to habit change or stretching our energy boundaries. It runs out as soon as something is no longer novel / if we don’t see immediate results.
  2. Intrinsic motivation is situation dependent. While your desire for something (a better business or bouncier butt) may not have changed, your motivation to follow through on the process will ebb and flow based on things like sleep, hormones, season, relationships and location.
  3. Using intrinsic motivation as the main fuel source when you’re growing or making a change is dangerous, because it often assumes your conscious thought patterns are telling you the truth. (Spoiler alert : they’re telling you whatever it is they need to in order to maintain safety and/or the status quo.)
So, to start with, I’m going to offer a couple of language choices that I like to use in my coaching practice:
  1. Swap out “What is my motivation” for “What is my deep desire?” If your deep desire is strength, embodiment and feeling like a bad ass … that weird day in the month where your jeans don’t zip won’t knock you off track and leave you feeling like all your work hasn’t amounted to anything.
  2. Swap out “My goal is ____.” for “My true north is ____.” Especially for those of us whose struggle with motivation comes from a place of fear and perfectionism, it is so powerful to stop looking at it as a pass/fail. If you’re honest, there is a beacon on a hill, gleaming in the distance for you. Keep THAT in mind, and you’ll always put one foot in front of the other.
  3. Swap out “I just need more discipline.” for “I want support.” Hear me on this, please, if nothing else: Growth is not supposed to be a solitary journey. We are community creatures, and we have the amazing opportunity to learn from and lean on others who have gone before us or walk with us. (Full disclosure: as I type this, I’m pausing between paragraphs to do squats because I told my friend I’d text him that I worked out for 15 min every day and as of 6:27 pm, I haven’t done it yet.)
Stick with me for the next couple of weeks as we talk about what happens physiologically and neurologically when you’re intrinsically motivated (and when you’re not,) and how to create a sense of energy and life around the sticky places in your growth processes.
Please, for today, pick a small change you’re working on making and message me HERE to let me know what it is. Keep a journal for the next month and play with the practices I’m walking you through. And be sure to join me in person for a led workshop on deep dives into how to really stay on track (or when to change directions.)

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