How do you keep motivated to go to the gym? To eat healthy? How do you get motivated to get things done? People go around searching for this magical ingredient expecting that once they find it, everything will become easier.
I’m afraid that’s not how it works.
Being consistent with your training and eating healthy has nothing to do with motivation. You’ll have days when you don’t feel like training when you don’t feel like cooking. It’s not about motivation, it’s not about being dedicated, and I don’t think it’s heroic either.
It’s a habit.
I’ve recently read James Clear’s Atomic Habits where he talks about the fact that people are more likely to stick to their habits if they believe them to be a part of their identity.
If you believe yourself to be a person who is dedicated to their training, if you consider yourself an athlete, going to the gym is easy because it’s in alignment with your belief system.
On the other hand, if you keep proclaiming that ‘gym is not for you’, that will make going pretty damn hard.
If you believe yourself to be a person who cooks healthy food every night, saying no to a pizza takeaway is gonna be a lot easier than if you are a person who orders takeaways every night.
When people try to change something in their lives, they usually need a bit of motivation. If you’re not very active and you’re trying to start training regularly, maybe you’ll be motivated for a first week but then, it will fade away.
But it’s not the motivation that you should be looking for, but a way that you can stick to this new habit.
And that can be hard at the beginning because you’re trying to do something that you don’t believe is a part of your identity. The good news is, that every time you do this action, you construct evidence for this new identity.
That’s why it’s important to go to the gym even if you don’t feel like it, even when you’re not motivated when you’re tired, or busy. Because your brain keeps it at the back of your mind as evidence, that you can do it even in those situations.
Habits are mental shortcuts learned from experience.
“In a sense, a habit is just a memory of the steps you previously followed to solve a problem in the past. Whenever the conditions are right, you can draw on this memory and automatically apply the same solution. The primary reason the brain remembers the past is to better predict what will work in the future.” – James Clear
When you get to the stage where you don’t need any motivation to train or to eat healthy anymore, you just do and it feels so natural, so easy. This is because you consider it a massive part of my identity, it’s just what you do and have been doing for the past XY years.
And if you want to truly improve other aspects of your life, you should be applying the same strategy.
You don’t need to look for motivation, you don’t need results.
Define this new identity that you’re striving for and act in accordance with it.
Every time you take action, you put another investment in the evidence bank that will give you more confidence and conviction that you can do it. This way, you can concentrate on the process rather than immediate results.
If you want to run a 10k, don’t get intimidated by that specific goal. Start believing that you are a runner. Don’t worry about your 5k run. Just make it out of the door every morning,
Do it every day. Wash, rinse, repeat. Fall in love with the process. The rest will follow.
The secret is not motivation.