How to Get Motivated

My 5-Step Framework for Motivation to Workout & Win At Life

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: March 22, 2024

We all want to get in shape, but we don’t always know how to get motivated to work out. Even when you start a workout routine, it’s easy to get off track when life gets in the way.

I know because I’ve been there, too. But through life’s challenges, I’ve learned some simple strategies that can help you rekindle motivation and get back on the path to reaching your goals.

How to Get Motivated Mountain Climb

Why We Lose Motivation

With everything we juggle in our daily lives, it’s easy to lose motivation if we don’t have a clear goal. Even if we have a goal, we might not have a good reason to achieve it.

In addition, we sometimes don’t believe we can reach our goal. That makes it a lower priority, and we get distracted by other things.

Lastly, our default behavior is avoiding difficult things, and we develop bad habits.

Luckily, motivation is always within us. When we learn to get motivated, we’ll overcome all obstacles and reach our goals.

How to Get Motivated In 5 Steps

Motivation is a frame of mind. So, I created a five-step mental framework called GRAPH. When you use all five parts, you plot your path to success.

  • Goals

  • Reasons

  • Affirmations

  • Priorities

  • Habits

Goals: Begin with the End in Mind

A goal is a desired outcome that influences your actions and behaviors. Before you can reach your destination, you must know where you want to go.

Life is like a mountain, and we all desire to climb higher. But you will stay at the same level or go downhill if you don’t set goals.

On the other hand, when you aim for a specific peak, every step moves you closer to where you want to be.

When setting goals, it’s important to be SMART. That means making your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.

Setting goals is an essential first step in getting motivated. However, we’d all be standing on top of mountains if that’s all it took to succeed!

In addition to a clear goal, you must have a good reason why you want to achieve it.

Reasons: Why is Your Goal Important to You?

A goal is a destination. But why do you care about getting there in the first place?

Are you trying to get to the top of the mountain to post pictures on Instagram? If so, you’ll probably turn back when the climb gets too hard. Likewise, if your fitness motivation is selfies and likes, you will quit when the results stop coming easy.

A compelling reason drives you, such as climbing that mountain to prove to yourself that you can reach new heights. Or working out to transform your body and feel more confident.

Tip: Focus on how you’ll feel when you reach your goal instead of external motivators

How to Get Motivated - Reasons

Remember, sometimes the climb sucks, but the view from the top is worth it.

Affirmations: Believe in Yourself

Not only do you have to believe in the reason behind your goal, but you also need to believe in yourself.

Self-doubt is normal. But when disbelief is greater than belief, you give up. You’ll quit halfway up the mountain if you don’t believe you can make it to the top.

Some external motivation keeps you going, such as pep talks from friends or coaches. But it all comes down to your internal motivation.

When I had cancer, I had loads of support from friends, family, and coworkers. But at the end of the day, I had to decide to fight. More importantly, I had to believe I could win.

4 Ways Changing Your Mind Can Change Your Life

Whatever your goal, your mind determines success or failure. So when doubt creeps in, remind yourself that you can reach your goal. Then, visualize yourself achieving it.

How to Get Motivated - Visualization

Identity-Based Motivation

Studies show that self-identity motivates actions1. Thus, you can change your behavior by identifying as the type of person who embodies your goal.

For example, if you portray yourself as health-conscious, you’re more likely to have healthy habits like exercising since working out is consistent with your identity.

That doesn’t mean you should try to be someone you’re not. Instead, visualize yourself as the person you want to be.

how to get motivated daily affirmations

You don’t have to recite your affirmations in the mirror like Stuart Smalley on SNL. Although it worked for Michael Jordan 😂

Priorities: Remove Distractions and Make Time

The most common excuse for not working out is “I don’t have time.” This may be true. But it’s also true that you’re wasting time on distractions.

Distractions are anything that steals your time without adding much value in return. In the mountain analogy, distractions are easy trails. They make you feel good temporarily but don’t move you closer to the peak.

In everyday life, social media, TV, and video games are distractions. Like the easy trail, most games and apps make you feel good now but don’t pay you back in the long run.

Prioritize the actions that give you the most return on investment, such as diet, exercise, learning new things, and relationships.

Imagine how much more time you’d have tomorrow if you cut back on Facebook and Netflix alone. Probably enough for a 45-minute workout, right?

how to get motivated to workout

Habits: Make It Automatic

Habits are the tiny decisions you make without thinking. And they drive your daily actions for better or for worse.

Forming a habit has three steps, as defined by habit guru James Clear. When you understand this process, you can deconstruct your bad habits and build good habits.

3 Steps to Form a Habit:

1. Trigger
2. Action
3. Reward

For instance, many of us have a terrible habit of hitting the snooze button in the morning. Feeling tired triggers the action, which is hitting the button. The reward is sleeping for ten more minutes.

When I was in college, I broke this bad habit by moving the alarm clock across the room. That way, it was harder to hit the snooze button. And I also created a good habit—getting to class on time.

In the same way, you can make good habits easier. For example, put your gym clothes in your car in the morning so you’re more likely to go to the gym after work.

The topic of habits merits more discussion than I can cover here. So, I recommend checking out James Clear’s Atomic Habits. It’s so helpful I’ve listened to it twice on Audible!

How to Get Motivated: A Success Story

Earlier, I mentioned my own battle with cancer. I’ve been cancer-free for several years now, but I learned a lot about motivation through that adversity.

Unfortunately, my brother was diagnosed with cancer that required multiple surgeries and an experimental drug treatment that causes chronic fatigue.

But that didn’t stop us from climbing a 12,000-foot peak in Colorado! Proof that with the right mindset, cancer doesn’t have to keep you down.

You have to be motivated to climb a 12,000 ft mountain while undergoing cancer treatment.

Now you know the 5 steps for how to get motivated. But if you need a little more help putting it all together, you can use my free motivation worksheet. It’s designed to help you set your goal, find your reason why, affirm your beliefs, prioritize your time, and build good habits.

How to Get Motivated in Minutes

Free Motivation Worksheet

Answer 12 easy questions to unlock your internal motivation.

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