I originally wanted to write a simple ‘Top 10 tips to help boost your motivation’ post, but I got carried away (I still included these tips at the bottom, FYI). Instead, I went to the root of the problem. For this post on motivation I want to discuss your goals and the importance of discovering your purpose. I firmly believe that your lack of motivation or success is specifically connected to your lack of purpose. The lack of purpose, or target for your goals, creates a perpetual lack of motivation or lack of enthusiasm that prevents any specific improvements in your body, health, wellbeing or life. Simply, to maintain motivation you must define your purpose.

‘If you don’t have anything to look up to, you don’t have anything to do. A lot of the meaning people find in their life is purpose driven and in order to put effort into something, to work toward something, you have to assume axiomatically that what you are working towards is better than what you have – or why else would you do it?… If you have nothing to aim up at, then you have nothing to aim at. You have no purpose.’

– Jordan Peterson

Goals are associated to a purpose

Do you believe in your goals?
Are your goals 100% realistic?
Will your goals improve your life?

You need to ask yourself these questions. If you lack a goal, or target, in which you can’t see yourself achieving then you lack purpose or, indirectly, motivation to achieve self-improvement (or, what we call our so-called ‘goals’). Truth is, your hypothetical goals are not realistic and true if you do not believe in them – they are simply wishes.

When goals are actualised and believable then you are being truthful and honest to yourself and you will find a higher purpose and honesty within yourself, or in this case constant motivation, as you are driven by your truth. Being lost is directly associated to lacking purpose and effort. This is one of the key reasons as to why any good Personal Trainer, a Corporation, a Charity, or a local five-a-side football team will set forth goals at the start of any endeavour – it is their purpose for the road ahead, a narrow target to commit to.

If you do not have a goal to aim at then your efforts will lack the drive to improve your life – you will have no purpose. And a lack of purpose we can associate more closely with suffering, disheartenment, loss, and de-motivation. You can’t achieve your dream body if you just want to ‘look good’. Looking good is not an explicit purpose – you have to define your ‘good’ and be specific. You HAVE to be explicit on your goals, make them realistic and believable and you have to set forth a timeline for your target.

Purpose and motivation

We improve our life by setting forth our purpose. With a purpose we have been given meaning, belief and direction – all factors of motivation. We can clearly direct attention forward towards a single path in which to improve our body, mind or happiness. And more importantly, it’s achievable. When we are truly committed to improving our lives and we understand the possibilities and outcomes we can overcome any obstacle. We understand the road ahead and are willing to reach the destination by any means – because we understand its possibility.

Nobody believed that breaking the 4 minute mile was possible until Roger Bannister completed the feat in 1954. Breaking the 4 minute mile was thought impossible. Yet, after only 46 days Bannisters record was broken by another man. Once the impossible had been achieved the flood gates opened, belief flooded in and many more athletes have broken Bannisters time since. You must believe in your goals.

Here are some important factors to help set out your goals

  1. Set short(daily to a week),
    Medium(week to 3months) and
    Long term goals (3months to 1year)
  2. Be Specific with your targets.
    (How much weight specifically, how fast specifically, what weight do you want to lift)
  3. Measure out your effort.
    (How much effort is involved, are you able to commit daily, what is required on your part)
  4. Be Realistic with your targets.
    (can you actually achieve this, objectively analyse your behaviour and attributes and commitment)
  5. Set a Timeframe for your targets.
    (What day will you achieve this by, how long will it realistically take you achieve this effort, consider lifestyle factors such as family commitments)
  6. Believe in your targets.
    (If you do not believe in yourself and the targets you are setting then you will fail. You must believe that it is possible.)

Medium term goal: I will lose 1 stone in body weight through committing 4 days of cardio per week and 2 weights sessions per week for the next 8 weeks without fail. For the 8 weeks I will eat within an average calorie target of 1800 calories and a 160g of protein daily target.

Other reasons why we lack motivation

We compare ourselves to others
Far too often we compare ourselves to others and do not measure own success with any weight. We look at the success of others and simplify their achievements without considering their efforts or sacrifices. It’s natural as human beings to believe that we deserve the best and when any extra effort is required –beyond the norm, or perceived norm – we lack drive. We revert to complaining that the other person simply ‘got lucky’ or ‘didn’t work as hard’ or ‘has a genetic gift’. This is simply not true in the majority of cases. How can we accurately understand the commitment and effort put forward from the individual you are comparing yourself with? They have achieved their success due to their hard work and relentless ambition. You too must harness your own determination and set focus on your own achievements and ability, not others.

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do” – John Wooden

We fail to believe in our self/the possibility
Familiarity is our reality and the unknown often scares us and challenges our character. As long as you are not expecting to fly or talk to dead then setting a realistic of goal, of say weight loss, is entirely possible. If your goals are not realistic then you will never achieve your target. However, if your goal is now realistic but it’s a difficult goal then it is now simply a measure of your character, belief and the realistic timeframe in which you hope to achieve. True success is difficult, and this should excite you. Difficult goals create great reward, they fill you with purpose and drive motivation. But, if you don’t believe in your ability and the realistic timeframe you will need to reassess your goals to make them more manageable or smaller in scale to what is more believable.

You have no specific target/purpose
No purpose/target then you have no desire or long-term drive. Your efforts are guided aimlessly and this will create doubt and misdirection. This is will, again, create a lack of target or purpose (associated more closely with suffering, disheartenment, loss, and demotivation).

Top tips

Here are some simple tips to help you stay motivated. I feel this is a cop-out because I understand that your purpose will drive your need to action and so a top tips is really for those with no purpose. However, some days you simply need a kick in the butt to get the fires burning.

  • Download New Music/playlists
  • Plan your week out in advance
  • Book time slots for your exercise/classes
  • Ask your partner/a friend to join you
  • Change up your usual routine/gym/classes
  • Change your guidelines for exercise
  • Lay out your gym clothes the night before
  • Practice mindfulness and block out doubt with positive reinforcement/self-talk.

I hope this post has helped you realise that it is not simply a lack in motivation that is holding you back, it is a lack of purpose. A purpose which you have yet to define, or set your sights at. Take the time to distinguish your specific goals and create your purpose to achieve a better life for yourself. Aim up and set forward your on actions to success.

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