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Why motivation will never get you fit (and what to do instead)

Why motivation will never get you fit (and what to do instead)

September 20, 2023 3 min read

Why motivation will never get you fit (and what to do instead) 

Motivation and willpower have been big buzzwords in the fitness scene for years. From motivational memes to household-name slogans like Just Do It, the assumption seems to be that if you want it hard enough, you’ll get it done. But what happens to the idea of just doing it when you don’t particularly want to?

Like it or not, motivation and willpower aren’t reliable tools - they take a lot of mental effort and will come and go. Luckily, there’s a much better way to get into the training and healthy eating mindset. Let’s talk about how to get into the flow of consistency.


The downside of relying on motivation 

Motivation is temporary – it can come and go depending on your mood. And whilst it can be great for that first rush of enthusiasm, motivation rarely lasts long enough to keep you training in the longer term.

It’s usually external – motivation is often tied to external factors or short-lived goals, rather than intrinsic values-based drivers that last longer.

It goes up and down – motivation isn’t steady, and can be impacted by distractions and stresses. If you rely on motivation for your fitness outcomes, you might get stuck going one step forward, two steps back.


Make a commitment to yourself

Commitment doesn’t mean obsessively tied to an unrealistic fitness routine. It’s a promised to yourself and an investment in your health. Making a commitment to training and healthy eating will hold you gently accountable, and help you focus on the bigger picture.


How to make fitness a habit

If motivation is fleeting, habits are a solid foundation. And that’s why it’s much better to make training, healthy eating, regular walks, and other goals a habit rather than waiting to feel inspired. Once a habit is in place, it’s second nature like brushing your teeth.

Habits lead to consistent actin, which is crucial for long-term success with your training and diet. Forget the ups and downs of motivation or the hard graft of will power. Embed simple healthy habits that you can stick to, and this stuff will start feeling easy.


Discipline vs willpower for fitness goals

There’s plenty of research to show that willpower takes a lot of mental energy and can quickly become draining. That’s why people who use willpower to stick to an unrealistic diet or training plan often reach breaking point and fall off the wagon.

Discipline is a deeper sense of integrity that is tied to your core values. Being disciplined gives you the opportunity to make choices that align with your goals, values, and how you want to show up in the world.


Why consistency is key for health and fitness 

You’ll often hear fitness experts say that consistency trumps everything. The best training plan in the world, they say, won’t work unless you actually do it. And that takes consistency. Consistency is the act of showing up and making certain choices time and time again – not just once or twice, but for years. 

Consistency helps you establish a routine that’s easy to remember (no motivation or willpower needed), and leads to progress over time. Combine consistency with the habits we’ve already mentioned, and you become a person for whom being active and eating well is a lifestyle choice. No questions, no doubts – it just is what you do.


Is it OK to use motivational quotes as fitness inspo? 

We’re not saying motivation has no place at all in a fitness lifestyle. It can be a powerful way to kickstart new behaviours and get you excited about the journey ahead. Just remember that it rarely lasts, and it takes a lot of mental energy. The best approach is finding a deep, intrinsic reason that resonates with you, then using habits and building consistency so fitness and nutrition become second nature.

Gravity Fitness is dedicated to giving you training tools, education and inspiration that will help you get started on your fitness routine and keep going. Check out our website and see where the journey takes you.