One of my all time favourite quotes is “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” As a coach I’ve dedicated a great deal of my life to trying to figure out how to help people reach their goals in health and fitness. Some are incredibly easy to coach and others, not so much. You can motivate, inspire, praise, scold, offer rewards or impose punishments and still some people just won’t do the work.
And then it dawned on me.
Motivation, inspiration, all these things I would offer my clients meant nothing unless they were driven towards their goals from within. The idea that we can be motivated by anything other than ourselves I believe is one of the greatest myths of the fitness industry. Others can provide us with tools to help us find that motivation (although I would call that educating) however there must be something inside of us that switches when we make the decision to push through pain, discomfort (physical or mental) and grind away towards our goals.
So how do we find that something?
It all starts with why. Why do you really want to reach whatever it is you’re striving for? Typically it isn’t the first thing that pops into your head. To get the crux of what’s driving us towards success takes time and deep self reflections, which isn’t always an easy or comfortable process. One of my favourite ways to practice self reflection is journaling. Writing any and all the thoughts I have around a particular goal or activity, without any filtering or judgment and then going back and reading them with a more analytical approach, looking for recurring themes or anything that really resonates that I can then use as an anchor to fire me up when I feel my internal motivation waning.
Don’t go searching the world for motivation. Look within.