“Faith comes first and then your feelings will catch up later” – Joyce Meyer
I go to the gym or engage in other activity almost every day of the week and I often get asked how I stay so motivated. The truth is that I don’t! But I have learned over the last few years that I cannot base my actions on feelings. Motivation can be very unreliable.
Last January I made a goal for myself to get my personal training certification. I have been interested in strength training, nutrition and fitness for almost my entire life but for some reason I never felt that I could become a trainer. But over the last few years I began to have several people tell me that I would be a good trainer and it put a little seed in my mind that maybe this is something I would enjoy learning! It would be a perfect compliment to my fitness lifestyle. I spent months thinking about it and researching different programs and finally came to a decision. I signed up for classes and felt so excited and motivated even though I hadn’t even started yet. But believe me, it wasn’t long before my fear of change set in and my motivation plummeted. By the time I started class, I literally had to force myself to attend. I ended up really enjoying the classes and I was so happy I went. Up went the motivation again. Until exam time. The pure terror I had for taking the written and practical exams was ridiculous! I questioned all my decisions and couldn’t figure out why I had ever wanted to do this. It sounds funny now, but at the time I almost gave up before even taking the exams. I ended up passing with flying colours, and the feeling of accomplishment was amazing! I felt so happy and strong for pushing through the fear and lack of motivation to reach my goal. And I realized that I don’t always need to feel motivated to get things done.
As I was listening to the Joyce Meyer podcast while on the treadmill this morning, something that she said also got me thinking about motivation. She spoke about how we must first believe and then in time our feelings will catch up to us. We must take action first, even when we don’t feel like it, and then we will feel good about ourselves. I think this is true for so many of us in terms of motivation and living a healthy lifestyle.
How many times have we set various health goals for ourselves but couldn’t follow through because of lack of motivation? When motivation is high at the beginning we go to the gym every day and are eating well. But soon “real life” sets in and chiseled abs and firm glutes drop to the bottom of our list. We are soon unmotivated to go to the gym or to go home after work and make a healthy dinner and would rather swing by the local drive thru. We no longer believe we can accomplish our goals and our motivation disappears.
But when it comes down to it, motivation is just a feeling like any other. Getting things done when you are feeling motivated may be much easier, but it isn’t necessary. We do not need to feel like doing something good for us in order to do it. We must do it, then the good feelings will come later. More important is reinforcing the feeling you get after you’ve followed through on your goals. There are many, many times that I have gone to the gym when I didn’t feel like it, and every single time I felt really good when I was done, which motivates me to keep going. It often seems as if the feeling of motivation only comes after we’ve followed through on our decisions!
- Motivation makes things easier but it isn’t necessary for getting things done
- Motivation is fluctuating so it is not good to rely on it too much
- Learn to get things done whether you feel like it or not
- Focus on the feeling of accomplishment that comes after you’ve gone to the gym or stuck to your healthy eating plan
- Motivation gets stronger the more you follow through on your goals
- Sometimes it’s better to not overthink things. If you’ve set a particular goal for yourself don’t think too much, just do it
I also think it is important that we find our motivation within us rather than rely on outside forces to motivate us. For years I looked outside myself for motivation but that kind of extrinsic motivation is very fleeting. It is not as long-lasting and solid as the drive within us that gets stronger every time we set goals and challenge ourselves to be our very best.
Thanks for reading!