What is Motivation?

Get motivated!

Raised hands is motivational

Is this motivation--what do you think?

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” Lawrence J. Peter

I was recently kicking around one of my fave blogs, Project Swole, which is run by my bud Steve. I found a post that I thought would be fun to revisit. It’s titled Make Your Own Motivation.

We all struggle in our day to day lives. Maybe not with the exact same things, as some are blessed differently than others. You may be surprised to learn that what you struggle with isn’t all that different than the next guy.

Seems that I’m always wrestling with having money to pay the bills, work, time with my family, etc. (not in that order).

Setting priorities is a great way to start. This can be as simple as jotting down your top 5 short term goals and taping them to the fridge. To-do list are a popular form of doing this on a day-to-day basis.

It never fails–I will put off sleep in order to do something. It doesn’t have to be anything important either, such as watching a t.v. show that I’ve seen before. Then the next day I’m wiped out, and think to myself, “Self, what the heck were you thinking?”. To which I reply, “I dunno.”

Exercise and diet are two other common areas that many of us put at the bottom of the list. I’ve been guilty of that on many occasions. The sad part is, I know that it’s going to make me feel like crap.

Break it down

Steve has a couple of great suggestions that I want to share.

  • Get a lifting partner. Bottom line, accountability. You’re so much less likely to bail on the gym if somebody is expecting you to be there.
  • Tell others about your plan. Accountability rears it’s head again. I know that if I have to answer to somebody, the chances that I’m going to flake are much less likely.
  • Health first. *Spoiler Alert!* None of us are going to live forever. I know that may shock a few people, but it’s true. That being said, take care of yourself so that you can take care of your loved ones, and anybody that may rely on you. That includes work.
  • Being strong is a good thing. You just never know when being in good physical condition may come in very handy. Steve uses the example of something falling on you or a loved one, and you being able to lift it off. Or how about being attacked? If you’re all fluffy, you’ll have a hard time defending yourself. Here’s a secret–when you’re in good shape, you will have a confidence about you. Would-be attackers don’t like confidence in their prey, and will often chose another target.
  • Music may soothe the savage beast, but it can also turn you into one. Training while listening to soft jazz will not coax you into lifting a heavier weight. Something that causes a guteral response, like good rock music, will get your juices flowing. Who knows, you may just get a new personal record with the right song.

Bring it in

Whatever the reason, everybody needs to find their motivation. For myself, it’s all about my family. My wife and daughters are everything to me. I want to do everything that I can to be here for them as much as possible.

I have a day job, which I really enjoy. I have responsibilities there. We also own a business. I have goals that I want to achieve.

Without putting my priorities in order and proper perspective, I’d fail. I just can’t let that happen.

What do you do to keep your priorities straight?

Photo: Christopher Bruno

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11 Responses to “What is Motivation?”

  1. I love the “Break it Down” section. My husband is my lifting partner and I think it’s beneficial on so many levels. Also, I started my fitness blog and Facebook page to put it out there so people could see it. This helps to hold me accountable and is just another way to get motivated.

    Now, I’m going to Rock Fest this weekend so if you have any tips for not messing up my normal “healthy” routine too much, I’d appreciate it! Maybe I’ll just plan on getting back on track when I get back. ;)

    Great post!

  2. Todd says:

    @Melinda, #1 I’m a huge fan of your blog. Thanks for coming by.

    #2 Have fun at Rock Fest. (Man, it’s been forever since we went to a concert.) Food is probably the hardest part in that type of atmosphere. If you can take food, that’s probably the best plan. If not, use your best judgment. If you’re going over night, some basic bodyweight exercises can be squeezed in.

    Or, you can use Scott Smith’s (Motivation to Move) “I workout so that I can go out” theory. He totally figures that he busts butt in the gym, and eats well 99% of the time that he is going to enjoy himself when he and his lovely wife go out.

  3. I love this! Especially “Being strong is a good thing” and music’s effect on beast mode. I cannot work out without my music… it motivates me and lets me get into that “space” where everything else is blocked out. Just me and the weights :) . Thanks for a great post!

  4. I think having a training partner has, at times in my life, been my top motivator to train. That sumbitch was always stronger than me so I worked my ass off to catch him. Never quite got there, but got pretty close. Thanks Todd!

  5. Todd says:

    @Suzanne, Being in a quite gym just isn’t right, and I’m not talking social butterflies chatting my ear off while I’m squatting. LOL I’ve got to have my music going too.

    @Steve aka Project Swole, I miss having a lifting partner for that same reason. The best gains that I ever made was when I trained with my friend Gus. He motivated me to always be improving.

  6. Ah, priorities! I guess everything feels like a priority, right? Like when I just have to watch the same Seinfeld again that I have seen at least 25 times now (honestly, who gets sick of Seinfeld?). But, I rarely sacrifice myself for the less important things. I try to always make time for a good diet and plenty of activity. Am I always perfect? Hell no! But I have my clients do a little task when we are discussing their weight loss plan.

    First I have them write down their main goal, as well as any smaller goals they have. Then I have them write out an action plan that they are going to do to achieve those goals. Then I kick them in the ass if they fail to take massive action on those goals!

    Solid, right?

  7. Rick Kaselj says:


    I find telling people one’s good is huge for motivation.


    Rick Kaselj

  8. Greg says:

    I’d love to have a lifting partner, but since I work out on my lunch break and my schedule’s so hectic, it just doesn’t work for me. Makes it tough on the days when I’m just not feeling motivated…

  9. Todd says:

    @Susan, The ass kicking is sometimes the motivation that is required. :)

    @Rick, Are you saying that a person’s health and well being is a huge motivation? If that’s what you’re getting at, then yes, I’d agree 100%.

    @Greg, I understand completely. I train at home, so a training partner is a little difficult to come up with also. Obviously, given circumstances, not all of these will work for everybody. When working out in a crowded public gym, listening to what you want can be difficult. Sure, you can use an MP3 player of your flavor, but I find that when I’m lifting heavy, headphones are a huge distraction.

  10. Matt says:

    Definitely a good post to revisit Todd.

    I find that a “lifting partner” can come in many forms. You don’t necessarily even have to do the same exercises, so long as you succeed in pulling each others ass free from the unyielding pull of the couch’s tractor beam.

    At work a group of us guys just started spending a couple of lunch hours a week down at the building’s gym. Quite a few of them just run on the treadmill (despite my pleas), but just knowing that they’re going down to put in work is enough to guilt me into going (and I can dish out the guilt right back).

    I agree with Suzanne all the way! Music is my constant lifting partner. It gives me the push I need to squeeze out just one more rep, and that’s what it’s all about (You do the hokey pokey). :)

    Live your dream!


  11. Todd says:

    @Matt, thanks. That’s awesome about the lunch time group.

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