2 Things You Must Do When Motivation Fails

With everything that’s happened here in Houston over the last 3 weeks, I felt compelled to share how hard it’s been to stay on track with workouts and eating right.  If you’re in Texas or Florida and felt the affects from the hurricanes, you know more than anyone how difficult it’s been to stay motivated.  

Here’s the deal: motivation is garbage. Motivation can only take you so far, so you need to know what to do when motivation fails you.  

A lot of people confuse the terms "motivation" and "discipline." Here's the difference: Motivation is the desire to do a task.  Discipline is the ability to get yourself to do a task when you don't feel like doing it.

In stressful times, instead of trying to find motivation (which is fleeting), I want you to use these 2 tips instead:

Establish a ritual.  I use the term ritual because I find it far more intentional than simply saying “healthy routine.”  By establishing a ritual on your training days, you’re able to lean on a routine as opposed to motivation.  For example my ritual on workout days looks like this:  

Two to three hours before gym time, I eat a small meal that includes mostly protein, has fast absorbing carbs (like an apple), and is low in fats. Then, one hour before gym time, I aim to stop any projects and pack my bag or get the kids ready.  I try to prep what I’m going to eat post-workout and throw it in the fridge to cut down on time once I get back.  And then, 30 minutes before I leave, I have a shot of espresso, small cup of cold brew coffee, or my pre-workout to give me some liquid energy for my workout.  Find what works for you and stick to it.  Know that every training day, you have a ritual.  Before you know it, it’ll become 2nd nature.

Strengthen your discipline muscle. We all struggle with discipline and motivation. No one gets a free pass, myself included.  Discipline can, however, be developed.  Strengthen your discipline like you would a muscle. Start with small challenges at first. Maybe you're exhausted today and would normally skip your workout. Force yourself to go anyway, even if you just half-ass your workout. Just go and do what you can. I’m confident that a few positive things will happen when you challenge yourself in this way:

  • It probably won't be as bad as you imagined.

  • You'll probably get a better workout than you envisioned. A "bad" workout is much more valuable than a skipped workout.

  • You'll feel surprisingly good about yourself for nutting-up and getting shit done despite not feeling like it.

  • These experiences will make it far more likely that you'll exert discipline the next day, and in other areas of your life.

I hope you’ll put these tips into practice this week as you get back into your routine or reignite your goals!  Remember that motivation is garbage.  When you don’t feel like doing something, do it anyway.