Last week we were talking about the true purpose of exercise and what it means to us. The next hurdle after we have selected our goal could be motivation to start taking steps in achieving that goal. Today we will look at exactly what motivation is and why it gets so much of the blame for blocking our path to success.

What is “motivation”? It can often most simply be described as a feeling of desire to work toward something or to progress with passion. Think to the times you have felt a strong desire to take action or work toward anything in your life. I bet if you are like most, the task felt simple and working toward it didn’t take much effort at all when you were motivated. Your drive and passion were behind the work that had to be done. If this was a small project, I bet the time flew by and it was accomplished with a sense of purpose to the end of the goal. If it was a longer project, with multiple steps over a period of time, I bet that motivation did not last through to the very end. If you stayed the course anyway, it may have come back at times, but then faded at others. The point of this trip down motivation memory lane, is to reflect and accept the fact that motivation is a fickle thing. It comes and goes just like your craving for doughnuts. Motivation, just like your unreliable friend that offers to help you move, may or may not end up actually helping out in the end. So, if we truly can’t rely on motivation what or who else can we turn to make progress toward our goals?

Action! We can always reliably turn to action for making progress toward what we want to achieve. It may seem simple, stupid, or obvious that action would be the thing to turn to. Let’s think about it in another context. If we feel motivated to take an action or not, the very act of taking that step always gets us a little bit closer than if we waited until the magical motivation fairies blessed us with their presence. One step forward is always going to be one step forward. Plain and simple. We should start to recognize that motivation is nice when it’s there, but it is by no means the measure of when we should take steps to what we want to achieve. If we want the end result from an exercise goal or any other goal, it takes movement toward that goal. The road to getting there consists of the number of steps it takes to reach the top, not the willingness for us to want to take those steps. Any one who has achieved anything in this world, I guarantee you, did not enjoy or feel motivated for every part of the journey. They achieved where they are by taking consistent action regardless of how they felt at the time.

The steps taken are completely up to you. They can be big steps that yield a big results, or they can be small steps that are simply punching the time card toward progress. Regardless of the size of the steps taken it is at the very least a step taken toward something rather than staying in the same place. Consistently making the choice to progress is always better than waiting for the right circumstances or the motivation to move. It is time to switch our point of view from “Motivation-> Action -> Result” to the much more reliable “Action-> Result”. Motivation can come and go, Action however will never let you down!

What is one small step that you could take today that would move you closer to your goal? After you accomplish that step, give yourself a pat on the back, and leave motivation in the dust. When you wake up the next day what’s another thing you could do? No matter how small the step is, just keep moving forward. Motivation may catch up eventually and make the ride a bit more fun, but regardless you are the one in the driver seat. Only you can decide if you are going to move forward or stay put.

(Post in the comments below your goal and some simple step you are taking today to make it happen!)

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