Why Motivation Is Overvalued and What You Really Need to Change Your Life

Instagram trainers and social media celebrities spend a lot of time, effort, and sometimes money on producing “motivating” content. They know if they can get you all jacked up or emotional, you’ll likely buy their product, plan, or whatever they’re selling. Now, just because they’re selling something doesn’t make them evil. I think a lot of people in the fitness industry have the greatest of intentions. Whether they’re qualified to be selling what they’re selling or not is a topic for another day.

While I don’t have a problem with getting super motivated, excited, and taking the leap to make a positive change in your life. I think that’s amazing. I do want to point out, however, that motivation is entirely over-glorified, and relatively unimportant in regard to long term results.

No, you can’t make changes if you don’t get started but, this pervasive idea that you have to be motivated and excited all the time to get to the gym, cook your food, or workout can be cancerous to your goals. Much of our health/fitness education and culture comes from social media (that’s probably how you got to our blog). If you’re an aspiring social media “influencer” or entrepreneur in the fitness space, posting all the time that you didn’t actually want to go to the gym today or that you have been off your diet for the last 8 days in contrast to what you posted, isn’t the industry standard for growing your following.

Instead, the people who have bodies that look fit and post a lot on social media, tell us all the time that “you can do it” and “there’s no day like today” (obviously I wouldn’t be a good motivational speaker). Multiply that voice by 1,000,000, add a call to action to buy a product and boom, you have the fitness industry.

What this does to every day people like you and I is it makes us think we have to be motivated all the time. We are bombarded with images of people that seem like they wake up, drink their bro-tein shake and spend all day itching to get to the gym. We then take on the notion that you have to be all jacked up 24/7 in order to live a fit and health life. That expectation we have of ourselves does a few things:

1. We try to motivate ourselves all the time to get to do the things we need to do to change our health/reach our goals and thus, get burnt out or feel unworthy because we just can’t sustain that level of motivation

2. We tie our need/expectation to go to the gym to our feeling of motivation. Then, when real life takes place and “motivation” is few and far between, we don’t go, we don’t see results, and we get unmotivated and discouraged.

3. We overvalue things that don’t matter that much and thus undervalue things that will make the changes we want.

Add those three things together and you’ll be cancelling your gym membership in about 2 months. Motivation is awesome. It can provide us the mental state to crush workouts and feel great about ourselves, help change behavior, take leaps of faith and get rewarded, and more! But it just isn’t realistic to expect yourself to be as motivated in three weeks as you were the day you hired a personal trainer.

As a trainer, it’s my job to learn my clients and find innovative ways to motivate them because motivation has serious value but, it’s much more important for me to do something else that you should focus on too:

Make small, lifestyle changes. This is where the rubber meets the road. When motivation fades, and it will, if you’ve made small changes and they’ve become habits, you’ll likely continue in your improved health behaviors, whether or not Jeff from YouTube is getting you all jacked up to do his program or not. If you want sustained, continual, real results, this is how you do it. What does that look like?

  1. Cutting out pop (slowly and systematically, that means over a time-period, gradually decreasing each day/week)

  2. Eating 1 more whole food meal a day per week (again slowly and systematically)

  3. Drinking ‘X’ amount more of water per day (increasing slowly per week)

Seeing a theme here? Making changes slowly and according to a plan is your golden ticket to seeing the results you want no matter the goal. Again, motivation isn’t bad and learning to motivate yourself is a powerful tool!

That said, make sure you’re working in the right direction. All of the above goals are awesome and somewhat obvious to most of us. Other things, however, such as cutting calories, cutting carbs, doing more cardio per day, etc. are more complex and could actually hinder your progress. That’s where we come in. We have a lot of free informational resources and a great staff always excited to help at Uplift Fitness.

If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so right here online or in person. Then, just come talk to us and we can get you whatever you need to get headed in the right direction, whether that be a beginner focused workout program or just some good advice.