Even though I’ve been able to stick to some sort of training and exercise regimen, for the past few weeks I’ve been doing this more as a force of habit rather than something I consciously am looking forward to and enjoy. So I started thinking about this lack of motivation and how I’ve been able to power through despite it.
A wise man once told me and a few hundred other members of MX Endurance, “Motivation never lasts. We need accountability and community to keep us riding the up and down waves of committing to a consistent program. Accountability trumps motivation every day.”
I posed the question, “How do you motivate yourself?” to my social media followers and got a wide range of responses. I picked my favorite ones and tried to include as many as I could in this week’s vlog. But really, my topic was, “How do you deal with a lack of motivation?”
Watch below or scroll down for a quick summary of the vlog.
Motivation, Accountability, Community
What many don’t realise is that motivation is short-term. It’s largely based on emotion, which is why we watch movies like “Champions of Fire” when we want to hype ourselves up for running a marathon, or the Ironman World Championship specials for triathlon, or even compilation reels from our favorite athletes. Motivation sparks a fire.
But much like a fire, a spark can’t keep it burning. You need fuel and oxygen. That’s where accountability and community come in.
When you’re accountable to a coach, a training program, or even a promise to a friend, you can battle through having no motivation and still accomplish what you need to do to get to your goal. Accountability breeds discipline and habit, and if there’s anything I learned from being an endurance athlete this past decade, it’s habit and discipline that keeps you going.
I tell the story of wanting to give up on the marathon leg of Challenge Roth, but because I’d trained my body to keep on going, I just kept on going out of habit until I found my second wind and was able to run the rest of the way to the finish line. That is your fuel — not motivation.
Finally, community has an amplifier effect (the “oxygen” in our metaphor). When you get support and encouragement from like-minded individuals, you become more confident and secure in what you’re doing and are able to get even more out of yourself.
The flame burns bright and long, and inspires and illuminates. And if you keep fueling it and fanning its flames, it will burn for a very long time.