I’d say that 7 or even 8 people out of every 10 that join one of our programmes have a (self-proclaimed) problem with motivation – they don’t have any!
They’ll often explain to me during the initial consultation they lack motivation, and feel they need help with this to be successful in achieving their health, fitness, and body shape goals.
What is it about motivation that makes it so elusive and such a large obstacle for so many people to overcome?
Whilst we could debate this all day, it turns out that scientists have finally discovered exactly where motivation comes from and in this blog post we’ll reveal how you can get re-motivated to finally take action and achieve the body shape and improved quality of life you desire.
As the elusive force that is crucial for achieving your goals, motivation can be so difficult to conjure up. If you’ve read anything before about fitness (or specifically motivation), you may have heard of the chemical ‘dopamine’. Dopamine is the ‘feel-good chemical’ and is released in our brain when we do things like exercise.
Let’s say your work day is drawing to a close or you’re sitting at home on your couch watching TV, thinking to yourself that you really should be going to the gym… dopamine is one of the powerful drivers that enables you to make the decision to go.
But, whilst many people may associate exercise with feeling good (thanks in large to Dopamine), this novelty will soon wear off without a fresh challenge or goal. Therefore, it’s important to frequently vary your exercise routines and create and pursue new goals, to continue to get the benefit of this ‘feel-good chemical’ to keep you coming back for more.
So the first step in gaining more (or improving) your motivation is to frequently create challenging and exciting health & fitness goals that you are continually making progress towards to take advantage of the feel good effects of exercise via Dopamine.
In addition to Dopamine, us humans are also motivated by things that are pleasurable and rewarding. These are further broken down into three categories: power; affiliation; and achievement.
We are all motivated by all of them to some extent but most of us fall more within one category than the other two.
People who are motivated by power get gratification from being in leadership positions. Those who are motivated by affiliation enjoy spending time with family and friends. People who are motivated by achievement enjoy overcoming challenges.
How does this make a difference when it comes to motivation?
As an example, if you have identified you are primarily motivated by affiliation (i.e. you enjoy spending time with friends and family), arranging to meet a friend or your personal trainer at the gym is a great way increase motivation and get you eager to get to the gym.
On the other hand, if you have identified you are more motivated by power, socialising by meeting a friend at the gym probably isn’t the greatest motivational boost for you and you may find yourself staying on to finish that work project instead…
To use the power of motivation to its fullest, experts say that you need to determine where your motivation driver is. After some thought, once you know what your motivation driver is – power, affiliation or achievement – you can begin to brainstorm ideas that will facilitate motivation and greatly assist you in reaching your goals.
We’ve already mentioned meeting a friend at the gym if your motivation driver is affiliation. You could also join some activity classes or groups for the social aspect or you could ask a friend to join you on your new health-kick.
If your driver is achievement, you could do focus on setting yourself weekly and monthly health and fitness goals, such as reducing your intake of processed foods, running a 5k race, or improving your maximum weight in the squat. Then, once you’ve achieved that goal, to start again with a new, loftier goal.
If your driver is power, you could start to post about your fitness journey or social media, or even start an exercise or healthy eating group in which you would be the leader.
These are just some examples but you can brainstorm your own – there are endless possibilities!
Once you’ve identified your motivation driver and have brainstormed ways you can introduce this into your health and fitness routine, in combination with ensuring you’re constantly challenging yourself in new and exciting ways and setting progressive goals, you’ll be much more likely to gain the elusive motivation you’ve been lacking and start making rapid progress towards your goals.