How do I get motivated? This question every wellness professional hears on repeat daily. The truth is they could give a bunch of different answers, but the honest answer is always the same: YOU! You are the answer! There is no one person, place, or thing that can ever override the most powerful force in your life, YOU! And that motivation you are waiting for, it’s not coming! Why? Because YOU are getting in the way of it! Go grab a big glass of water because we’ve got some hard pills to swallow today about why you aren’t where you want to be, especially in health and fitness. Here’s your first hard pill of the day to swallow: YOU! YOU are the WHY and the WHY NOT of your own failures (and successes).

Let’s get real, excuses are lame. Call them explanations, defenses, reasons, justifications, whatever you want, but they’re worthless. Yet, when it comes to health and fitness, people will go to great lengths to make them! They will find every excuse about why they aren’t getting stronger, excuses how the hours at the gym aren’t great, their shoes hurt, or even the biggest lie and excuse in all of history “I DON’T HAVE TIME!” Excuses will get you nowhere, literally! Before you make up an excuse about why you can’t do something, grab another glass of water, because here’s your second hard pill to swallow: Stop making excuses! The results will be the same without them, nothing.

While we’re being brutally honest, motivation isn’t real either. At least not in the sense, many people believe it is. It’s not like “Jane wakes up super motivated, why can’t I be like Jane?” Well, Jane is likely more self-disciplined than you, sorry! And because of her self-discipline, she can do what she needs to do, when she needs to do it, no matter how she is feeling. You could too, but you just don’t have the disciple down, you are probably still making excuses, blaming “motivation” and the cycle just repeats. See the difference? Sure, we sometimes “feel” motivated, but feelings come and go, if you are waiting around to “feel” motivated, it’s an excuse! Mel Robbins, one of the most famous motivational speakers on the planet says this, “We bought into this lie that you gotta feel ready to change…motivation is garbage! There are so many people in the world who have these incredible ideas and what you think is missing is motivation, it’s not true…you will have to do things that are difficult, and you won’t feel like it.” Third hard pill to swallow, motivation isn’t real, stop waiting for it!

Habits are real though! Every time you make excuses, you are creating a habit, but it’s a bad one. Do you know why? That voice inside of you that was trying to encourage and motivate you is now drowned out and triggering stress signals to the brain, the amygdala to be specific, (this is scientifically proven, you can find out more about it at the National Institute of Health website, and it fires up at your negative thought habits and excuses, and it goes into protection mode. This is why YOU are the problem! Your thoughts are creating a reaction in the brain that sense something so negative, it wants to protect you. It takes something positive like you want to say join a fitness class to meet new people, and because of your negative thoughts, it goes into a protection mode, stealing your motivation, wiping out your goals, and keeping you from moving forward. Hard pill time, your thoughts become your habits! Stop creating negative ones.

Good News, habits can be broken! People do it all the time! Example: If you know you want to go to Zumba® after work, you packed your clothes and everything, and then… throughout the day, the negative habits/excuses start coming back, be mindful! Create new thoughts! “I am going to Zumba® today! I love my afternoons at Zumba®!” Retrain your brain! Earlier we referenced Jane’s self-discipline. If Jane was going to Zumba® she probably packed clothes for the week and cleared her schedule and maybe not even because she “feels” like it, but because said she originally wanted to do it, she said she would do it, so she’s doing it! Happy pill to swallow: once you start doing any activity, even if you don’t “feel like it.”

Today’s pills were hard to swallow, and perhaps you are lacking some self-discipline that’s getting in the way of your best life. Make a list of the things you really want and why you want them. Be specific setting clear goals with dates for when you will accomplish them. If you aren’t meeting your own expectations, don’t start looking for excuses. You probably didn’t “feel” like it, so didn’t do it, that’s on you. That’s the hardest pill of all of them! If are wondering why you can’t get motivated, it’s not the lack of motivation, it’s you! You are the Why and the WHY Not!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center