Motivation is what we use to accomplish something. It’s a catalyst for action. It is fueled by our emotions. And emotions affect our logic whether we want to admit it or not. We are emotional beings so it’s no wonder that our feelings control our behaviors. What makes people successful is not always motivation, however, but discipline.
Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to just suck it up and do it. Trust me, that only works for so long. Instead, there are ways we can train our mind to find motivation at any turn. That way you’ll pull from different channels to achieve inspiration, and ultimately gain more self control. You can use these tips for anything in life—not just working out.
How to Work Out When You’re Feeling Unmotivated
TAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF
A lot of motivation is lost when it transforms into pressure. When you start to feel like it’s something you have to do rather than what you want to do, you’re applying pressure to yourself. That can create procrastination or distraction, and doesn’t help when you’re trying to accomplish something.
So don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Find other ways to motivate yourself that stem from more positive thoughts. There are multiple ways such as finding your why, visualizing the end results you’ll achieve, and setting routines.
INTRINSIC MOTIVATION IS KEY
Some people thrive under pressure but that stems from extrinsic, or external motivation rather than intrinsic motivation, which comes from within us. We won’t always have someone to root for us so we need to be able to motivate ourselves.
The problem with extrinsic motivators is that we can’t 100% rely on them. It’s like a reward system. If you complete this many work outs, you can have a cheat meal. Or you want more likes on Instagram, or you’re trying to win the admiration of someone. All of these rewards require things outside of your control. So what happens when you run out of them or they no longer serve you?
Results can also be seen as external if they’re attached to a superficial reason. The end results of your goal can be used as motivation but only if you know your why.
FIND YOUR WHY
To turn motivation into discipline, we must have a purpose. What is your goal? More importantly, why do you want to achieve this goal. I know that clout is one thing, but helping people become better individuals or feel better about themselves is what truly motivates me. I think about how what I do matters for those looking for inspiration. Why are you looking to complete this act or task? Why do you want to spring into action? Figuring out those will help you find the drive within that gets you going.
I know I said that focusing on results or rewards is based on extrinsic motivation, but the results can still be helpful and from within. When you focus on what you might look like and feel like after you achieve the goal in mind, you’re attaching your feelings to it. And you’re attaching a purpose that relies solely on you. The process becomes much easier when you’re inspired by your future self.
The final step in turning motivation into discipline would be habits. Become a creature of habit in this area of your life. Self control is a muscle and when you exercise it, habits are formed. Those habits help decision-making feel like instinct.
If that means waking up earlier, making healthier food choices, organizing your life a little more, then do it for a little and it will become habit over time. Preparation can also help you by making it just a little easier. Pack your gym bag and lunch the night before so you’re not scrambling in the morning looking for excuses. I’ve even heard that some people sleep in their gym clothes. Eliminating choices means less decisions to make.
Accomplishing a goal isn’t easy. But it’s worth it. So consider your motivators and realign accordingly. Remember, simply believing you have willpower, actually gives you willpower. And you always have yourself.