Motivation Isn’t A Requirement, It’s An Excuse

I was checking out the posts in a Facebook group I’m a member of, and I saw this image:

Yeah, it’s a screenshot from a cell phone, but it’s what was posted. I have no rights to this, but it falls under fair use since it’s about to be the topic of commentary.

The meme addresses those who use a lack of motivation as an excuse to not get to the gym. I, myself, have mentioned motivation a time or two, particularly my lack of it.

But what sets me apart from “Robin” in that pic?

Easy. I don’t view motivation as a requirement to get me to the gym, while “Robin” there uses it as an excuse.

When I first started on this journey over six months ago–not a long time, I admit, but bear with me–there were a few things I did. One of the most important was to accept a few things about who I was now that I was stepping down this path.

One was that I was someone who weighed and measured his food. Another–one more relevant to this particular discussion–was that I was someone who followed a weight training plan.

I took that and I internalized it. I found opportunities to reinforce both of those things as key factors in my being. They became my habits.

So, when I lost motivation, I still lifted.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t particularly easy. This was especially true since the lack of motivation was probably tied to a lack of progress under the bar. But I did it.

The reason was simple. I didn’t dareĀ not lift.

“But didn’t you fail to lift after the hurricane?”

Yes, I did. Part of that was the whole situation threw everyone I had built out of balance. I’m making no excuses because I already admitted that it was a problem that I need to address. I never said I was perfect.

However, the whole time, I was antsy. I needed to lift, but there wasn’t really an opportunity to do so and it played on me because I’d made it a key part of who I felt that I was.

Make no mistake, that’s some powerful mojo.

It’s how I was able to pick right back up when I got home and get back to work like I’d been here the whole time. It’s how I managed to shift things right back to the status quo before I lost a week due to the storm.

And believe me, lifting feels the exact same now as it did before the storm. I don’t even feel like I missed time. Well, I did after squats last week, but the soreness was the only thing that reminded me that I’d lost some time.

Here’s an interesting thing, though. It doesn’t just apply to lifting. Bestselling author Larry Correia gave some advice to aspiring writers that has some relevance right now:

First thing, writing is a job. Treat it like a job. If you just screw around and write when the mood strikes you every once in awhile, you will probably never make it as a writer. Jobs have schedules. Schedule time to write.

Let’s be honest, “when the mood strikes” is writer-speak for “motivation.” What Larry is saying here is that you make time to write if you want to write. If you decide you’re a writer, you freaking write.

It’s kind of the same thing, and as a writer, I’m here to tell you that they are.

When someone talks about motivation, and how they wish they had it, it’s usually in the context of how they’re basically excusing themselves due to this lack of motivation.

But if you look at people who train regularly and really talk to them, they’ll tell you that they lift a lot of times when they’re not motivated. Some will say that they felt it after they got started, and I’ve certainly felt it, and others will say they just did it because, despite their lack of motivation, their goals were too important to them. I’ve been there too. Others have other reason they trained.

In the end, though, they all lifted when they weren’t motivated to lift.

If you look at top-flight athletes, they train all the time. It’s awesome to behold their work ethic, yet I’m willing to bet that if you talk to LeBron James or Koby Bryant or Shaquille O’Neal or Michael Jordan, you’d find out that they worked hard in the offseason even when they weren’t motivated.

You see, being motivated is awesome. It makes everything easier. It’s something that sort of lubricates the mind to slide right into where it needs to be for you to do what you need to do.

But it’s not a requirement. It’s not essential. It’s never been essential for anyone…except for those who want to claim that the lack of it is grounds for them doing nothing.

The only way motivation should really matter is if you want it for a scapegoat.

If that’s the case, just knock it off. Own up to the fact that you just don’t want to do the thing bad enough to do it and call it a damn day. While it may not make you feel warm and tingly deep down inside, at least it’s honest. “I don’t feel like it,” would even be an improvement.

Take a look at all those people you respect. I’m not going to say that they’re no different than you, but I will say that they’re not as different from you as you like to delude yourself into thinking. They’re people who took what they had and made it something special.

It’s up to you to see what’s inside of you and what you can do with it. You may not make it to the pinnacle of your chosen area of focus, but you can come pretty damn close just through some hard work.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

3 thoughts on “Motivation Isn’t A Requirement, It’s An Excuse”

  1. There needs to be more emphasis nowadays on habit-forming instead of motivational quotes.

    When you build up the habit like working out, even when you don’t want to do, you still do before you feel like crap if you don’t.

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