Written by Nash Woods
Sometimes being healthy isn’t fun. Be honest, eating a pint of whatever protein powder based ice cream replacement that is popular that month will never replace the satisfaction that you get from Ben and Jerry. It’s hard to see the payoff when some sadist has their elbow so deep into the belly of your quad that the only things you can think about are blinding pain and despair. How can you keep the motivation to keep eating things like kale and not eat donuts? And more importantly, why?
Why should we care to squat correctly? To sleep 8 hours? To do mobility work or routine body care? Why should we go to the gym and experience physical and mental hardship? It’s simple knowledge that a healthy lifestyle will lead to longer living and quality of life, but the question here is not does it matter, but why it matters.
The only person responsible for your actions is you. Being accountable to a workout partner or trainer helps, but at the end of the day you are the one that needs to put the work in so it is yourself that you are most accountable to. If you are only in a fitness program to appease someone else in your life it will be hard to keep on track. You need to have a reason that you started training. If you have a goal that you are moving toward, one that you actually believe that you can do and want to accomplish, it will keep you more focused.
If someone were to walk up to you in the gym and ask you why you’re doing something you should always have an answer for why you’re doing it. Are you mobilizing your traps because someone told you to? Or are you mobilizing your traps because your traps are tight and that tightness is inhibiting your ability to engage your lats in an overhead position, causing you to have shoulder pain when you try and play catch with your kids? No one likes busy work and without knowing why you’re doing the things that you are doing that is all that your training will ever be. So take a good look at yourself – figure out what makes you happy and then realize that being healthy will enhance that thing. For myself, my why is pretty simple:
I want to be stronger.
I want to be as strong as I am possibly able. It’s the motivation behind all the painfully boring accessory work, chiropractic visits, acupuncture, nutritional choices (good or bad). It’s what keeps me motivated to do the things that I don’t find fun. It’s what works for me. So if you’re having trouble trying to stay motivated, analyze your why.
If you are able to connect all those things back to the reason you started your fitness program and then see progress in that goal, all the small things that you have been doing to get there won’t seem so daunting. Your why doesn’t need to be related to anything in the gym. Some people want to lose weight. Others want to be able to play with their grandkids. Some people just do it to avoid the guilt associated with guilty pleasures. People start to judge things like playing an hour of video games a lot less when it is preceded by 2 hours of training. The point is that at the end of the day the only person that is going to motivate you is you. If you’ve hit a slump and are having a tough time finding your motivation, just take a step back and remember why you started. A little perspective is sometimes all you need.