5 Easy Steps: How to Get Motivated to Workout & Win at Life
The mental framework to fight cancer, climb mountains, and transform your body.
We all want to get in shape, but we don’t always know how to get motivated to workout. Often we start a workout routine only to get off track when life gets in the way.
Why We Lose Motivation
One reason we lose motivation is that we don’t have a clear goal. Or we don’t have a good reason why we want to achieve it.
In addition, we sometimes don’t believe that we can reach our goal. That makes it a lower priority and we get distracted with other things.
Lastly, our default behavior is avoiding difficult things and we develop bad habits.
Luckily, motivation is always within you. And when you learn how to get motivated you’ll overcome all obstacles and reach your goals.
How to Get Motivated in 5 Steps
Motivation is a frame of mind. And there are 5 steps to this mental framework that I call GRAPH. Because when you use all 5 parts you plot your path to success.
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 have a desire to climb higher. But you 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 make your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Setting goals is an important first step for how to get 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, then you’ll probably turn back when the climb gets too hard. Likewise, you will quit when the results stop coming easy if your fitness motivation is selfies and likes.
Whereas a compelling reason drives you. Climb that mountain to prove to yourself that you can reach new heights. And work 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
Affirmations: Believe in Yourself
Not only do you have to believe in the reason behind your goal, you also need to believe in yourself.
Self doubt is normal. But when disbelief is greater than belief, you give up. You’ll quit half way up the mountain if you don’t believe you can make it to the top.
Of course, 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 doctors. But at the end of the day, I had to decide to fight. And I had to believe I could win.
Whatever your goal, your mind determines your success or failure. So when doubt creeps in, remind yourself that you can reach your goal. Then visualize yourself achieving it.
Identity Based Motivation
Studies show that your self-identity motivates your actions1. Meaning, you can change your behavior by identifying as the type of person who embodies your goal.
For example, if you portray yourself as a health conscious person, 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. Rather, visualize yourself as the person you want to be.
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, distractions are social media, TV, and video games. 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. Like 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?
Habits: Make It Automatic
Habits are the tiny decisions you make without thinking. And they drive your daily actions for better or for worse.
There are 3 steps to form a habit, 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:
For instance, many of us have a bad habit of hitting the snooze button in the morning. The trigger is feeling tired. The action is hitting the button. And the reward is sleeping for 10 more minutes.
In this case, break the bad habit by moving the alarm clock across the room. That way it’s harder to hit the snooze button. Then you also create a good habit – getting up 10 minutes earlier.
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 Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s so useful 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 8 years now, but I learned a lot about motivation through that adversity.
Unfortunately, my brother was recently diagnosed with cancer that required multiple surgeries. Now he’s 6 months into an experimental drug treatment which causes chronic fatigue.
But that didn’t stop us from climbing a 12,000 ft 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.