Warning: this article is laced with profanity.
At least her email was pithy: “Fuck you, Nia. I did everything you said to get motivated and it didn’t work. You clearly have no clue what the hell you’re talking about and can’t help anyone. Go fuck yourself.” (Edited for grammatical errors.)
Well, isn’t that sweet. An adoring reader took time out of her busy life to email me. I can still feel the love gushing forth from that message; it’s like she came out of my computer screen and kissed my heart.
My typical demeanor when sharing information and responding to reader emails is subtle, gentle even. But, sometimes, people need the blatant truth, that stings like alcohol dabbed on a fresh cut. If you prefer the former, and articles free of profanity, you may want to skip this one. Otherwise read on, my friend, for the response I sent to this kind reader (with a bit of editing to make it more reader-friendly) …
You win the award for most shocking email of the day. The company that requested I write a review of their magical weight loss wrap comes in a close second since they’ve clearly never read a word I’ve published, but I digress. Back to your accusation, and impolite suggestion.
Perhaps this is the truth you’re lusting to hear: Motivation is a scam.
Motivation is a Scam
Sometimes, no matter what you do, motivation can’t be found, forged, or increased. Whether you follow science-proven principles or not doesn’t always matter. Sometimes your best motivation-boosting efforts leave you with diddly-damn-squat to show for it.
You actually applied, consistently, the information in How to Get (And Stay) Motivated to Work Out for several weeks, because you know drastic changes don’t occur immediately? I ask because, quite frequently, people say they’re “doing everything correctly” when they truly mean, “I’m doing some of it, some of the time.” I’m not singling you out if this is the case, because I’ve been there too. But I’m blessed to have friends and loved ones who didn’t stand idly by and allow me to wallow in my delusions — they called me out on it. I love a proverbial face-smack with the truth; it’s a welcomed awakening and puts me on the right track going forward. So I ask again: Did you really apply the information? If not, that’s on you. If you did apply the information diligently and still didn’t reap the results you expected to …
Tough shit. Do you know what you need to do, other than send me a nasty email? Something. Anything. Despite being void of any perceived shred of motivation, you still need to take action. I don’t care if you don’t want to. I don’t care if you proclaim not to have time to. I don’t care if you think I’m an idiot with a idiotic-sounding southern drawl. If you want results — if you really want them — then do something. And then do it again, and again. And when you sure as hell don’t feel like it, do it again anyway.
As much as I would love to wave a magic wand, despite you so eloquently expressing your admiration of my work, and give you all the warm-fuzzies and motivation you crave to work out and make smart food choices, I can’t. No one can. You can read the information I’ve provided on this topic, or you can seek guidance from people who spend their life exploring this topic. Nothing works for everyone, so keep searching and find what works for you.
But sometimes tactics to increase motivation don’t work, or they’re not the quick-fix solution you expected because they demand a great deal of consistent effort.
There’s Only One Solution
Like it or not, this is on you. You have to take action. Even if getting a root canal sounds more pleasant than driving to the gym and working out with a bunch of smelly, grunting men, that’s on you. You have to choose to get in there and do it anyway. Pop headphones on and plug your nose if you must and get to work. Or take some other action, like build a home gym, if you despise being around others and having your nasal passages assaulted with stale farts and fresh sweat.
Either way, the solution is the same: Shut up and do something.
The articles I wrote didn’t help? Go find something else. Don’t feel like going to the gym? Go anyway, or go run some hill sprints, or do bodyweight exercises at home. Don’t waste time emailing me and blaming me for your inability to get motivated; that’s your ego telling you someone else is to blame for your lack of success and that it can’t possibly be your fault.
You’re complaining, and procrastinating. Acknowledge that, then shut up, and then go do something.
I do my best to provide useful information to help you and anyone else who visits my website cox motivation into existence, but if that doesn’t work there’s only one option if you truly want to achieve results — get to work anyway. Replace motivation with discipline; this can only occur if you put in the work, consistently. It’s a trademark of people who achieve body- and life-transforming results.
Jim Wendler said it well: “Discipline doesn’t care how you feel, what the weather is or if you’ve had a bad day. Discipline will carry the strong. Discipline will drive success … Discipline over motivation.”
Stop waiting for motivation to arrive, and start developing some damn discipline. And, as is often the case, action is what forges motivation. That may be when you finally discover it. Motivation may be a by-product of action, not a precursor.
You Have to Choose
Do you think I always want to work out? I don’t. But I do it anyway. Because quitting for an extended period of time isn’t an option. Sure, I’ll skip a workout on occasion, but only rarely, because I want my go-to habit to be getting my butt in the my garage and lifting. The habit you regularly feed (especially in the absence of motivation) is the one you’ll practice most often. You’re currently feeding the blame-everyone-else-and-continue-not-doing-shit habit.
Do you think I want to make smart food choices every day? I make good choices most of the time but I don’t eat salads in a state of euphoria thinking, “Holy hell, this is the tastiest bowl of rabbit food I’ve ever had the pleasure to chew for 20 glorious minutes until my jaw is sore.” Some days, particularly those times of the month when my ovaries feel like they’re going to rupture through my abdominal wall, I’d rather wake up and eat a sleeve of Oreos dipped in ice cream and, if the mood is right, roll myself in a pool of melted chocolate and eat my way out. But I don’t.
Then again, sometimes I don’t give a damn and indulge my cravings because I know enjoying my favorite things occasionally isn’t going to negate the results I’ve achieved. I refuse to be obsessive over what I eat because I’ve experienced the dark side to doing so (e.g., binge eating). Most of the time, however, I make smart food choices because, again, the things we do most often turn into habits. I’m getting off track, but it’s important that you know health and fitness isn’t an all or nothing endeavor, and you don’t have to be miserable, deprived, and exhausted. I think this is part of your current struggle; you’re trying to do everything when you should focus on doing the few right things consistently.
You have to make a choice: Are you going to choose to do these things — work out a few times per week and make good food choices regularly — even though you don’t feel like it and make some progress, or are you going to do what’s easy and makes you feel better, temporarily, and blame others (i.e., me) for your lack of motivation?
You are in control. The choice is yours. If you truly want to achieve something, you need to suck it up, sweetheart, and do what needs to be done instead of taking your frustration out on someone who provides ample free information in an attempt to help you reach your goals and become the best version of yourself. Instead of complaining about not being motivated use that energy to say, “I’m not motivated, but I’m not going to use that an excuse. I’m going to do something anyway because I know action is the only thing that will lead to results.”
You have two options, and you must choose one. Do what’s easy and blame me and continue to be dissatisfied with your health and fitness, or, choose to take action regardless of not being motivated and start inching closer to improved health and fitness levels. You can still gripe and complain, if you must, but at least do it while you drive to the gym.
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