The Single Key to Motivation… Goals.

The Single Key to Motivation… Goals

by Jonathan Lawson

We’ve all been sidetracked from our fitness goals at one time or another.  Having been involved in this industry for over two decades, I’ve heard my share of excuses, too.

These excuses are usually pretty legitimate on the surface, but often boil down to one of two things.  A lot of times it’s just time management, but more often than not it’s a lack of motivation.  Frankly, the time management problem usually evolves from a lack of motivation, too, so I guess there’s really just one reason we get sidetracked.

It really boils down to the fact that if you want something badly enough, you’ll make the time and you’ll make it happen.

I can speak about this from first-hand experience.  When I first started bodybuilding my enthusiasm was extremely high.  I started seriously at 18-years old and did my first competition at 19, and the results and feedback I got caused my motivation to sky rocket. After my second contest at 20-years old I lost the edge because of a few reasons and both my training and nutrition suffered.  At 21, however, I started working at IRON MAN Magazine and the fire was stoked again.  I did a couple of more bodybuilding competitions and then continued with yearly photo shoots after that, so the fire burned at full-force for several years.

Then I got married, had a son, moved half way across the country and had a
career change.  I’ll be the first to admit that my fitness goals got sidetracked.  I was still training pretty hard, but nutrition was slipping a bit and I didn’t have an actual goal I was working towards.  That’s the  big key.

Then I went and broke my foot, or at least most of the toes in one foot.  That took me completely out for a few weeks, but proved to be a blessing in disguise… or at least that’s how I’m looking at it.  The time off helped remind me of something I already knew from years past.  There is only one thing you need to stay motivated.  GOALS.

There are plenty of ways to keep your training from getting stale, but really only one way to stay motivated, and it’s something you have to find from within yourself.

Having solid and defined goals is the biggest key to your success in the gym, but also in almost every aspect of life.

Next time you’re feeling like you don’t have the time or energy to get to the
gym, try sitting down and being honest with yourself.  Analyze the reason you workout, and if you don’t already have a goal, set one.  Make it realistic and set a timeline.  Whether it’s a bodyweight, a certain look you want to achieve, a best time or a strength goal.  If you don’t have something you’re working towards then you’re likely just going through the motions.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t workout if you don’t have goals.  Some people are perfectly happy working out just to work out or for the general health of it, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  If you find it hard to get it done, however, it’s likely because you’re not working towards something specific.

I went from having very specific goals every year for almost two decades to not having something solid to work towards for the past several months.  Now that I’m back on track it has helped prove to me that the mind plays just as important of a role in physical fitness as training or nutrition, and possibly even more.

About the Author
Jonathan Lawson has been working in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years; weight training for 21 years, competed in numerous bodybuilding competitions, worked for IRON MAN Magazine for 17 years, co-owns where he has co-published over 15 e-books and writes a daily training blog.  He has appeared on the covers of, and been featured in, dozens of international magazines, books and e-books.

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One Response for The Single Key to Motivation… Goals.

  1. Greg Guillen


    May 15, 2012 4:28 pm

    Goals. I found that using baby steps and quickly reachable goals is the secret to reaching grand goals.