“I’m lacking motivation for fitness”

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It can be really hard to find the motivation for fitness and to pick up your kettlebell or start your training programme for the day. Or even just find the motivation to go for a walk, some days.
Why do so many people seem to have motivation to exercise? What’s their secret? How can I find motivation?
First off, let’s talk about what motivation really actually means:

What is motivation for fitness?

Motivation is the will to act with the aim of getting something or somewhere. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining objectives—and research shows that people can influence their own levels of motivation and self-control.

Motivation in itself though isn’t reliable. Because desire isn’t constant, is it? It’s affected by everything that goes on around us. Sometimes the circumstances are right to make us feel totally committed to what we want, other times life gets in the way and distractions/priorities change.

It’s not that we don’t want the “thing” any more, we do! But the motivation for fitness is clouded by other things.

So, does that mean there’s no hope? Are we destined to always fail in our attempts to gain strength and fitness if it’s not the only thing going on in our lives?

Well no, actually, because there are a couple of other forces that are within our reach that we can harness instead.

Momentum and habits are the secret powerhouses that really make us get up off our bums and act on motivation.

Let’s think about motivation as that feeling on some mornings, of getting out of bed because you’ve got a big day planned, something you want to do is happening or you’ve got energy to do all the things. Or sometimes you just wake up and want to get started on your day.

You just wake up, stretch and get going. Possibly even before your alarm…

That’s motivation.

But, as we all know too well, those mornings are definitely not every morning.


What actually drives us to accomplish “the day” is an alarm clock (or a child/pet/pesky sunlight) giving us a cue to get out of bed and knowing that someone or something is relying on you to show up (again a child/pet/boss/partner/friend/client/whatever you do with your day).

Motivation is only a tiny part of the equation.

And that’s the same for prioritising strength and physical fitness into your days. I think most people have an “I should take care of my health and fitness” item on their internal to-do list, don’t we?

That means that you ARE motivated to do it, however cloudy or clear that motivation is on any given day – or even time of day!

Instead of relying on motivation in itself, you can use the two more stable, reliable and predictable forces of momentum and habit.


This is an easy one to begin with; you begin by beginning. Then because you’ve done it once, you do it again, and again, and again. The first time is the hardest, each subsequent time will then build on the time before and so it will (in theory!) take much less mental effort to repeat.

That’s momentum. The first turn of a wheel takes the most energy, then each turn after that builds on the energy of the one before it.

This translates to our lives by us beginning by beginning, and not then stopping.

When something becomes “a thing that we do”, it has momentum, and that momentum is what keeps us doing it.

Brushing your teeth.

You started doing it when you were little with the motivation of keeping your teeth clean for the tooth fairy and then when you’re older your breath needs to be kissably fresh (because you never know, right?), and given that you’ve spent all this time doing it every day, why would you stop? What a waste of effort. And the motivation is still there, isn’t it? To keep your teeth healthy.

I know I sometimes think, ugh, I cannot be bothered to brush my teeth tonight, I’m just so lazy tired. But I do it anyway because it feels like something is missing if I don’t.

I can imagine most people feel the same, if not about that then something else that is just a part of their daily routine.

And that brings me to the second force that you can harness to mobilise motivation: habit.


Habits are very strong, aren’t they? The dictionary defines a habit as “A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.”
The powerful part of a habit is just that last bit there – “hard to give up.”

Habits govern so many of the rhythms of our daily life and are very personal. They are deeply connected to our values and beliefs, and how we view ourselves when we are acting on autopilot.

We can use this to our advantage, if we consciously decide to make something a habit. And it really doesn’t take long to make something a habit; first off, it needs a little bit of momentum to get started, along with a touch of motivation to give it a reason to exist in the first place.

So, let’s circle back and relate this to your strength and fitness goals, and how to find the motivation to do the work.

Motivation is your WHY. Only you know what your “why” is.

Momentum is your HOW. Start, and keep starting. Keep the wheel moving. If it stops, push it to move again. And again.

Habit is your WHEN. This is where you can get a little bit of ownership over things; make this fit into your life.

Momentum will help you here; the more often you do something, the more you will find ways to make it easy and make it fit in with the rest of the rhythm of your day.

All of them together, they are your anchors.

So how do you find the motivation to exercise?

Define your motivation.
Keep creating momentum.
Let it become a habit.

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