How to Stay Motivated & Disciplined in Fitness & Weight Loss | NoobStrength
How to Stay Motivated To Work Out & Lose Weight
A lot of people wonder how do they stay motivated to work out.
A lot of people also struggle with motivation and discipline, especially when it comes to fitness.
You are probably one of those people.
I know I’ve been.
For the record, I am going to be mostly talking about motivation in fitness, but its pretty much the same animal for everything else as well.
If you’ve been reading other articles on motivation, you’ll know that motivation is just an emotion.
You also know that discipline is what’s actually going to help you create a long term habit.
The problem is: it takes, on average, 66 days for something to turn into a habit.
This means that even if you have a SMART goal and a solid action plan, you still have to physically make it through the 66 days.
This is where people fall off the wagon.
I had a guy diligently track his nutrition and calories consistently for 2 weeks, only to lose it all on a weekend ski trip.
I also knew a girl who was part of a weight loss accountability group at work.
The problem is, as soon as one person fell off the wagon, so did everyone else, including her.
Honestly, creating a new habit is extremely daunting: You have to maintain a new change or behavior for 66 days straight.
You face unrelenting and unpredictable obstacles and temptations along the way and all it takes is one slip up for everything to come crashing down.
So what can you possibly do to increase your odds?
That’s where the Superhuman Motivation Framework comes in, which I am going to talk about in this article.
Yes, its a cheesy name but look who you’re talking to.
Essentially, it’s a set of principles and strategies that I’ve internalized to help myself stay motivated in fitness when I don’t feel like it.
Not only will it help keep you motivated to make it through to your 66 days, it will also help you get back on track quickly if you do slip up.
It will also help you come up with new goals to take on and see them through as well.
The Superhuman Motivation Framework is broken down into 6 key concepts and strategies
1) Adopting an Ownership Mentality
The first is Adopting an Ownership Mentality, which is essentially the idea that if something goes wrong that involves you, you still have to acknowledge that you played a part in it, regardless of who’s “fault” it is.
The following scenario has happened to me more than once:
I would go out to a restaurant with my friends.
Everyone orders an entree and dessert.
I know that if I also get the dessert, I would be overeating.
However, my friends egg me on and give me a little bit of crap.
Eventually, I give in because I don’t want to be “that asshole who only orders a salad.”
The next day, I feel a little guilty.
Well, there are two ways I can handle this.
The first is to blame my friends.
This is the path that most people unfortunately take.
It's also the easiest.
They pressured me into doing it so I had no choice but to go through with it.
Therefore, I feel justified in saying that it’s not my fault.
The second is to take ownership.
By taking ownership, I understand that at the end of the day, I was the one who decided to order the dessert.
The fact that I had peer pressure is irrelevant.
I made the decision.
I could even go a step further and take ownership of the fact that I went along with the choice of the restaurant, knowing that they had irresistible desserts, instead of suggesting a healthier alternative.
And if I wanted to go even further, I can take ownership of the fact that I ultimately decided to go out with these particular friends, knowing full well that they do not see eye to eye with me on my health goals and have a history of overeating.
Learning to take ownership will prevent you from falling into a Victim Mentality, which is a one way ticket to misery and the opposite of Ownership.
Victims always blame others for their problems and are ultimately unable to accomplish their goals.
One common way people tend to victimize themselves in fitness is by blaming genetics instead of their lifestyle choices.
"I’m fat because I everyone in my family is fat.”
This ends up starting a vicious cycle often leading to confirmation bias, which is when you interpret new evidence in a way that confirms your existing belief.
What tends to happen is that this person may justify eating a bunch of cake because they believe they’re genetically doomed to be fat.
Obviously the cake will make them even fatter, which will only strengthen their belief that they’re destined to be fat.
And the cycle goes on.
Yes. I know someone like this.
Don’t be like that.
Learn to adopt an Ownership Mentality.
When you truly understand the concept of ownership, you will be able to internalize the fact that no matter what circumstances life throws at you, you will ultimately have a choice in how to act.
2) The “Good” Strategy
The second concept, I call the “Good” Strategy.
It is basically always finding the positive in a situation no matter how bad it might be.
This is an idea I got from a Navy SEAL named Jocko Willink.
I’ll be honest, saying that this is easier said than done is probably the understatement of the century.
However, it is an extremely important concept to internalize because nothing will cause you to lose motivation faster than having a negative mindset.
This past Christmas Eve, my car was T-boned at an intersection by a driver who I later found out, fell asleep at the wheel.
This is obviously a bad situation to be in and I thankfully walked away without a scratch.
The driver didn’t speak a word of English and had 2 other guys in the car with him.
His insurance company was also known to be scummy.
Needless to say, it was an incredibly frustrating situation.
I had numerous opportunities to allow myself to succumb to negativity, but I didn’t.
Instead, I said to myself:
Well, believe it or not, there were a lot of positives.
I had an opportunity to learn more about Car insurance and the claims process
I had an opportunity to practice remaining calm in a stressful situation
I had an opportunity to practice assertiveness in a higher stakes situation, especially when dealing with the opposing party’s scummy insurance company
I had an opportunity to learn more about car shopping and potentially get a nicer car.
At the end of the day, if something happens, it happens.
I can’t change it and there is literally no benefit to being negative about it.
I could not have forced the other driver to stay awake at the wheel and obsessing over things I can’t control won’t make the situation any better.
Instead, try to say, “Good” and look on the bright side, as difficult as that may be.
Got laid off from my job?
Good, an opportunity to find a better one.
Tweak my hamstring and can’t work out legs?
Good, an opportunity to improve my upper body.
Accidentally overate Saturday night?
Good, an opportunity for me to practice intermittent fasting and eating less on Sunday.
It's not a mentality that is going to be developed overnight.
You will have to cultivate it over time.
3) The Patient Zero Effect
The third is something I call the Patient Zero Effect.
It's the idea that you are not the one who suffers the most from your own mediocrity.
Instead it bleeds onto everyone around you, like a disease, especially those you love and who love you the most.
Think about it this:
If I were to neglect my health and I was in a relationship, I would be cheating my significant other because I am no longer the healthy, vibrant person they were originally attracted to.
I am giving them the short end of the stick because this is not what they signed up for.
If I had kids and I let myself go in front of them, I am allowing them to see me as a broken, shell of the person I once was.
I am conveying to them that this is one of their possible futures.
A future where they are weak and fat.
Maybe they are strong and capable right now.
But by blatantly showing my weakness, I am planting the seed of doubt in their mind that maybe, just maybe, they too, are doomed.
If I get sick (and believe me I will if I neglect my health):
I will be the cause of an unwavering, unstoppable epidemic of worry and misery on my loved ones because I was too stupid and too selfish to take care of my health.
They will be the ones who lose sleep at night worrying about my condition.
It will bleed over onto their careers, their relationships and social lives all because I repeatedly chose the path of self-neglect.
And when the end comes (because it will):
I will leave them to pick up the emotional and financial burden of my passing.
They’ll deal with the grief and guilt for years to come and will spend their days pondering whether they could’ve done more.
So I try to think about these things when I find yourself losing motivation.
Try it yourself.
Really think about all the people in your life who would be negatively affected by your mediocrity.
Do this every time you think about wanting to break your new habit.
4) Future Me Visualization
The fourth concept is called Future Me Visualization, where you visualize the future version of yourself that has accomplished your goals and that you’d like to become.
This is an idea that I got from another Navy SEAL named Mark Divine.
I envision myself as someone who my future kids would look to and think, “Wow, my dad is a superhero!”
Someone who is beacon of strength, power and hope to those around him and who oozes awesomeness like no other.
Naturally, this means no dad bods allowed.
So take some time and really imagine your future self.
What do you look like?
How do people react to you?
What emotions do you feel?
Be very detailed and visceral.
In fact, I want you to take it even further.
Imagine the future, perfect version of yourself that has accomplished all of the goals you could ever have.
What does your house look like?
What do you do the first thing in the morning?
What does the rest of your day look like?
What kind of person are you?
How would the future version of yourself handle the current situation you are in?
Again, be very detailed and specific.
This will help you create a strong, powerful image of yourself that you can go back to when you are finding yourself losing motivation.
It will also give you something to work backwards from so you can more easily find out the next logical steps in your journey.
And remember, there are no small visions, only small people.
5) The Heroic Avatar Approach
This is where you find a fictional character or person you’ve never met who represents the traits that you aspire to have.
Then you basically bathe in that person or character’s aura.
If you follow me on my other social media, you’ve probably noticed that I have a Captain America suit.
Is it awesome?
I had also wanted to get into cosplay for a while.
But those are not the only reasons I got it.
Steve Rogers has a lot of the traits that I aspire to have.
In fact, my future me visualization (as talked about in the last section) is heavily influenced by Captain America himself.
Every time I put on the suit, I think about all the things that Captain America represents.
I can just feel the righteousness and sense of obligation to be a better person surging through my veins.
And I have to say, seeing myself in the suit has helped me stay on the path.
I wear the suit in my YouTube videos, on Facebook, and on Instagram.
I’m basically just putting it out there so not only do I see it, but so does everyone else.
So now it's not just about staying motivated for myself, it's also for everyone else because the world is watching.
I’m willing to bet that you have your own Captain America in your life.
So I encourage you to truly embrace it and let the world know about it. It will help hold you accountable.
6) Creating an Accountability Entourage
Finally, we have the Accountability Entourage, where you create a network of people who can hold you accountable and keep you in check.
It's honestly pretty straightforward.
However, these people don’t necessarily need to be giving you feedback directly.
Sometimes, the mere presence of them in your life can be enough so that every time you interact with them or think about them, it forces you to keep yourself in check.
I have a friend that I meet with every week or every other week.
We met in an online course called Unbeatable Mind by Navy SEAL, Mark Divine.
I know, I know, I have a bit of a fascination with Navy SEALs.
Likely because of the unique circumstances that brought us together, he is the kind of person that I can trust to give me his honest opinion about things in my life.
Another friend of mine is currently training to be in the Army as a soldier.
Just the mere idea that he is going to be out there putting his ass on the line makes it hard for me to justify complaining about any situation that I’m in.
How can I complain about having a crummy day at work if this dude is literally going to be running into gunfire one day?
I am also volunteering as a Big Brother at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles.
So I have a little that I meet with once a week.
When I go about my day, I try to think about what my little would say if he saw me doing that.
That makes it a lot harder to do anything blatantly stupid.
And that is it my friends! The 6 components of the Superhuman Motivation Framework.
Just a quick recap, you learned about the Ownership Mentality, the “Good” Strategy, the Patient Zero Effect, Future Me Visualization, the Heroic Avatar Approach, and the Accountability Entourage.
They are by no means a guarantee of success, but I hope they can help you maintain the discipline and motivation you need to make it through your 66 days of building a new habit.
Whew! Wow! We have finally made it to the end!
I want to thank you very much for reading!
And as always, thank you for reading! Once again, if you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend, subscribe to the mailing list and follow me on social media using the links below!
I’m a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer and StrongFirst Bodyweight Instructor based in West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. I offer 1-on-1 personal training, group/couples training, and online fitness coaching!
If you’re interested in working with me or have any questions, feel free to reach out!