With a winter storm bearing down on the Northeast yesterday, I walked into the gym and it was overflowing with people, with every treadmill taken, and it stayed that way all morning – and up until the early storm closing at 1 pm. Seeing all those folks there got me thinking about the difference between motivation and commitment.
Those at the gym were the committed… the people who took time out of preparing for the storm to make sure they got their workouts in – knowing that it was unlikely that they would be able to get to the gym on Saturday during the blizzard. They had planned ahead, making themselves and their workouts a priority, even as the snow began to fall outside.
So often I hear people say “I’m just not motivated enough to get in shape or lose weight [or change whatever habits they’d like to change].” But it’s not really about motivation. Motivation is what happens when you see that picture of yourself looking unacceptable. Or when you realize that “enough is enough” and something needs to change. Motivation happens in the moment. Motivation is that resolution that you set on January 1st, pledging that this will be the year of the “new you.” Motivation is exciting – it gets you started, but it won’t get you the finish line.
That’s because motivation is transient. One day you wake up and you just don’t FEEL motivated anymore. Maybe you’re tired, or you’re stressed, or you feel crappy, or sorry for yourself. Your motivation needle drops to zero and before you know it, you’re back to your old ways. Not exercising. Digging into the freezer for that pint of Ben and Jerry’s. And probably feeling miserable about yourself for “just not being motivated enough to reach your goal.” Again. Damn. And the cycle repeats.
In those dark moments when motivation fails you, what you really NEED to summon is your commitment. Commitment is a powerful force that takes a stand for you and your priorities today, tomorrow, and the next day. Commitment is rooted in the why behind what you wanted to change. To be healthy, to be fit, to be happy, to start that business. It’s hard to put yourself and your priorities first. Somewhere along the way so many of us get taught that it’s “selfish” to put yourself first. But if we don’t take care of ourselves we can’t truly care for others.
Commitment is focus. It means putting yourself at the top of your to do list, blocking out time in your schedule for your workout, and saying no to people who will sabotage your efforts. Commitment is a mindset that you have a new and healthier habit now.
Motivation happens in the moment. Commitment happens everyday.
Live your commitment.