Most of us start out the year with the same resolutions: we want abs, we want to look great in a bathing suit, and we want to feel confident in our bodies. We feel unstoppable and are powered by a huge wave of fitness motivation. At the start of January we are ready to take on the world, only to re-discover our old routine by the end of the month. If you rely heavily on fitness motivation, this is probably a familiar story. Heck, even if you are motivated, eating entire pizzas and binge watching Netflix can still become the norm.
Why fitness motivation isn’t enough
The problem with relying on fitness motivation to get you into shape is that it’s not guaranteed to stick around. It’s elusive and hard to enter into a binding contract with. It could be a like one night stand, or a relationship where one person just won’t commit. When the going gets tough, fitness motivation is like a friend who was only using you for your family’s pool: nowhere to be found.
We would all love to believe we can set goals and achieve them because we want them. That desire- that fitness motivation- can be strong when we look in the mirror and see how we want to improve our bodies. It can temporarily peak when we see an article about a Brazilian booty workout and are inspired by the fitness model. That same fitness motivation is hard to find when we go out to lunch with a friend and binge eat (“I’ll have a cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate milkshake! It’s cheat day.”) At this point, you need something more than wanting abs like someone else or some bullsh*t motivational quote, like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” We all know that cheeseburger is amazing.
You need fitness motivation to inspire fitness prioritization
Prioritization, unlike fitness motivation is here to stay. We prioritize a lot of things; we pay bills, we go to work, we even move our schedule to make room for our favorite TV shows. Our health is one of the last things we think about when prioritizing. Somehow we forget the direct impact fitness has on our quality of life.
Why do our fitness goals fall into our “luxury” or “hope to someday” categories of life? Why don’t we think of the advantages of squeezing in our workouts and planning out healthy meals? There are countless immediate and long-term benefits of a healthy life- including looking more like those fitness models. It has become the American way to not think about these benefits until they are gone and we were just labeled with a lifestyle disease by the doctor.
When we don’t prioritize our health, we rely on emotional external factors to help us reach our goals. When counting on motivation, if life gets in the way of our exercise plans we can easily make excuses. Motivation doesn’t sustain us. Allow your fitness motivation to inspire a change in schedule and health being boosted on your priority list. Prioritization will help you be satisfied with your results.
Excuses can kill fitness motivation: but prioritization will trump an excuse
Crafting excuses that derail us from our dreams is natural human behavior.
We all have people in our lives of whom we could be jealous. It could be because they have a great body, great marriage, or have great talent. We convince ourselves that they just fell into their current situation, and that they are “lucky.” The reality is, at some point they had to make sacrifices to become what you are jealous of.
When we move our goals from hope to priority, making sacrifices is a decision that we have already made. If you prioritize health, then working out trumps watching TV or scrolling through Facebook. It means including your kids if necessary, folding the laundry tomorrow, rearranging your schedule, etc etc.
Basing decisions on fitness motivation and feelings can make sacrifices easy to excuse and dismiss. Prioritization solves that issue. When something really becomes a priority, you will make a way, make time, and make it happen!
Motivation doesn’t make time: Prioritization does
Have you ever heard someone say “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy“? I think these phrases should be retired. These justifications become our reality.
Of course there are seasons of life when things our out of our control, and we really are just too busy. However, for most people this is their reality, everyday, year-round, with no end in sight. We wear busyness like a badge of honor and resting makes us uneasy.
It isn’t that we don’t have time to exercise- it’s that we don’t make time. Many of us are caught in this busy trap and are always playing catch up, overwhelmed, and stressed. We were not designed to live a fast-paced, constantly stressed life. Stop overcommitting yourself, learn how to say no, master the art of a short but powerful workout and meal prep, and you’ll see drastic improvements in your quality of life and relationships. I give you permission to prioritize you, instead of everyone but you, and I give you permission to quit something.
You were not made to do everything, and having a constantly noisy, busy mind isn’t helping your health and cortisol levels. Fitness motivation gets you pumped for that new workout program, but prioritization makes you stick with it when you’re working overtime, the kids get sick, or something unexpected tries to throw you off track. It’s the grit you need to stick with it or get back to it, even though your to-do list is long and you don’t “feel like it.”
Those abs will come, feeling great in a bathing suit will come- but most importantly improved quality of life, health, improved energy, and boosted confidence will come. They aren’t guaranteed to follow motivation, but they will come with prioritization and consistency.
Fitness motivation is essential to get started
There are lots of reasons to start working out. It could be to look better, to feel better, or to have more energy for your kids or work. Fitness motivation is essential to start your journey but it needs to inspire sustainable change.
So how do your prioritize?
- Write down your goals and your WHY- keep them where you can see them
- Create a calendar: make room for your workout
- Set reminders, habit formation takes time
- Find an accountability partner
- Create self-imposed consequences or rewards
- Meal plan: control your diet and limit your unhealthy foods
- Keep a daily diary for nutrition and fitness
Messing up is ok: but you need to rebound
Going through every week with a perfect, healthy lifestyle is impossible for most of us. Things come up in our schedules we can’t control, and every once in a while we need to have that slice of pizza. When we prioritize our health, it’s easier to come back from little hiccups, and we are less likely to get stuck in ruts with our excuses.
Give yourself grace, but come to terms with the fact that you won’t always feel like working out or eating only one cookie (oh, what an understatement). But you do it anyway. Step by step, you create momentum, changed health, and a more confident you. You are worth being high on the priority list!
Don’t just read this article. Put it into motion- write down your goals and your motivation, and use that push yourself into a sustainable change. Put your health at the top of your to-do list. You can do it!