We’ve all experienced that rush we get when we feel truly motivated. “Tomorrow I’m going to start my new workout routine! It’s gonna be awesome!” But then tomorrow comes, the alarm goes off at 6 a.m. and the exercise motivation we had yesterday has evaporated. Two hours later, after we’ve hit snooze a dozen times, we’re disappointed in ourselves. Where did our motivation go?
We’ll get back to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about how to get our motivation back when it just up and leaves.
It’s Not a Feeling
The biggest problem we have with motivation is that we think it’s an emotional state. This isn’t illogical. Sometimes we’re just feeling pumped about something, and we love how positive that makes us feel. We also find it very easy to follow through on our plans when we’re in this state. Wouldn’t it be great if we could feel like that all the time? Too bad it’s just brain chemicals and they come and go without asking us our opinion on the matter.
So what to do when the motivation leaves?
Just Do It
Nike’s slogan applies here. Just Do It. I know; that’s much easier said than done but there’s a bit of a trick to this. OK, the alarm went off and we did not get up and work out. First, we have to cut ourselves some slack. Feeling bad won’t help. Next, we have to recommit TODAY! Don’t say to yourself, “I’ll try again tomorrow”. That seldom works. Work out after work. Work out after dinner. Work out at 11 p.m. if you have to, but follow through on your plan. Get that workout in before the day ends. This will produce a rush of endorphins and dopamine that will help motivate us tomorrow. If we say, “I’ll do it tomorrow” though, we go to bed that night feeling like we failed and that robs us of the belief that we can stick to a routine.
The Goldilocks Rule and Higher Purpose
In previous articles, I talked about the Goldilocks Rule and finding your Higher Purpose. Both of these are much easier to do when we’re following through on our commitments. Our brain doesn’t see much point in applying these motivation principles when we’re failing anyway. But when we’re succeeding, it becomes much easier to pump up our motivation factor even further.
In this respect, exercise and motivation are like that old saying about life. “Success consists of getting up one more time than life knocks you down”.