Motivation is not the problem

Motivation can be a divisive subject. Many of us rely on motivation to get things done, while others see it as pointless and something we can't rely on.

Why do we get up and go to work every morning, even on days we’d rather stay in bed? Because we are motivated not to lose our job.

Or why do we embark on a new fitness and nutrition regime? Perhaps we want to feel healthier in body and mind.

However, motivation itself is a limited resource. If we put all our eggs in that basket, especially when undertaking a new goal, we’ll find that motivation gets going when the going gets tough.

We have spoken before about understanding your WHY. We tend to dive straight in with the problem and overlook the pain. The problem could be “I want to tone up, get fitter or lose X pounds”, but how likely is that to get you fired up on days where you’re just not feeling it?

However, the pain is so much more powerful. The pain could impact your confidence and affect work or relationships. It could be a health scare that resonates deeply because of your family history, or you may have other people depending on you that you need to support. Generally, the pain lines up with our deepest values, and when we can identify this, motivation will never be an issue. Once you have this awareness, you can implement tactics to bridge the gap from pain to your desired goal.

Some ideas that can help

Mentally prepare the road ahead

Focus more on the progress you've made than the progress that remains. Celebrate those smaller milestones along the way rather than focusing on the overall task. Small wins create momentum.

Keep it visual

Every day you stick to your goals, have something visual like a tick box or tracker. You will be amazed by the power of not wanting to miss that tick streak you have created. I have used this tactic in the gym and with online clients with great success. Make it even more exciting and have a reward when you hit a significant milestone. This approach is so simple yet so effective.

Plan ahead

Plan your week and reduce uncertainty as much as possible - the chances of sticking to your goals will vastly increase. Populate your diary with the tasks that support your goals. Make them as visual as you would with work meetings.

Track progress

Tracking will allow you to see the areas where you are or aren't making progress. This will enable you to focus on the low-hanging fruit to reap the most significant rewards.

Micheál Penston is the Head Coach & Nutritionist at FM Fitness and Nutrition based in Westport. They specialise in helping busy men and women create the healthiest versions of themselves by educating and empowering all their lifestyle areas: fitness, nutrition, recovery, and behaviours.

You can grab a free copy of the 5 Stage Health and Fitness Kickstarter or find out more about their online and in-person coaching methods at or social media handles @fmfitnessnutrition.


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