I noticed in my gym this week that there are a lot less people than there were in January. I remember the first week after New Years the place was packed. Everyone had created fitness goals and were there to achieve them. They had all bought new outfits to wear (as if a new outfit was somehow going to help). You can see the effort they are putting into their workouts. The sweat on their forehead as they workout.
I always hate this time of year in the gym. All these extra people create long waits for the machines and dumbbells. But its ok, by February, everything will be back to normal and only a few of the new comers will still be hanging around. Those usually won’t last past February.
I write that above with a touch of sarcasm because being someone who has had a long battle with weight loss, I really feel for these people. I wish everyone could be healthy and fit. Just like I wish everyone could be rich. But the truth is that anything worth having in life is hard. You have to work hard for it. Its not easy. You have to work at it each and every day.
Remember those people in the gym? They all want to improve their health but soon seem to lose all of their motivation. How many times did you set a goal to help you achieve financial independence only to lose your motivation a few weeks or even days later? Why is that? Why do we lose our motivation on the goals we set for ourselves?
The answer is actually very simple but the solution is a little harder.
The reason we all lose our motivation is that the WHY (why are we losing weight, why are we saving money) is not big enough to over come the reasons why we don’t want to do it. Let me explain that a bit.
Weight loss –
Those that set New Year’s resolutions usually say something like this – I gained a lot of weight last year or during the holidays eating. I need to lose weight so I will join a gym.
Becoming financially independent –
I want to be rich so I will start saving money.
Both of these are very vague goals. Actually they aren’t even goals. These are just wishes or dreams. A goal is a very specific task that has a time limit on it. But more on that later. We are discussing motivation and the WHYs here.
What is a WHY and why is it important to your goals?
Your WHY is the reason you set your goal. Yes, we all understand that part. But most people don’t have a big enough WHY. The bigger your WHY, the better your chances of success. So lets try our two examples again.
Weight loss –
- I know my health will be affected if I keep this weight.
- It will cause high blood, heart disease, diabetes, and lots of other problems.
- That costs money and endangers my life. I don’t like how I feel with this extra fat.
- I don’t like how my clothes fit me.
- I don’t like how I feel people treat me when I am this big.
- I don’t like being out of breath when I walk up stairs.
- I want to live a long life for my children
Becoming financially independent –
- I hate always being late for my bills
- I want to be able to afford the nice things in life
- I want to travel the world on my own terms
- I want to provide a good education for my children
- I want to provide a house for my parents
- I want to provide an education for my siblings
Do you see the differences in all of these WHYs? Do you feel the emotion that must be inside someone who feels this way? That emotion is the first step to driving you to success. When you are trying to break your bad habits and make a huge life change, you have to overcome inertia. Wikipedia defines inertia as:
Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion (this includes changes to its speed, direction or state of rest). It is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant velocity.
What this means is that once you get going in a certain direction, its much harder to stop and change directions. That’s where the WHYs come in. You need something that is more powerful than inertia for you. My WHYs won’t work for you, you have to figure out what works for you. Dig down deep and find your own pain. What hurts you? Make a list of the reasons why you want to achieve your goals. Yes, write them down. You will use this list when you feel your motivation start to fade. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. But the difference between those that fail and those that succeed is that they successes find ways to keep themselves motivated. They know that motivation isn’t a one time thing, its an everyday thing.
Now you know motivation isn’t a one time thing. You have your list reasons of why you want to achieve your own goals. So get out there and crush it. Make it happen! When you feel the motivation slip, and it will, just go back to your list and it will get the fires burning for you again!