You gotta want it.

I’ve been lifting weights for over 2 years, but it’s also a hobby that’s made me next to no money while costing thousands in man-hours. So while it would look all hardcore for me to put on my tightest T-shirt and sneer, “I do this shit because it’s hard!” the truth is that there are many times my own motivational fire needs a little stoking.

So how does a hard-training guy or girl like you stay motivated to hit the gym day after day, year after year? Truthfully, for motivational techniques to work, they must be both intrinsic (from within) and sustainable. You need concrete, no-nonsense ways to set you on the path toward a lifetime of hard, focused training.

So while having the gym staff call you Mr. Olympia may fire you right up for the upcoming leg workout, it probably loses its edge once the novelty wears off.

See, for a goal to be effective, it must be specific, and more important, have a deadline.

I regret not setting more goals early on. Of course, I always had “aspirations” a look I wanted to achieve, strength levels I wanted to reach but they were too loose and were seldom accompanied by a hard deadline.

Goals are important, but at the same time it’s crucial not to become goal-obsessed. You simply will not reach every goal you set for yourself. I don’t care how much of a machine you are; at some point, you’ll fall short. The trick is to not get too down on yourself when it happens. Remember that every failure also presents an opportunity to learn. Dust yourself off, reassess, and start anew.

Think of how many goals are made in a drunken haze every December. Now think how many of these goals are abandoned by January. I get it, life is busy. Goals get swept aside.

Break the cycle: Make reviewing your goals a priority. Just spend five minutes every morning reminding yourself how important your goal is to you, and how you’ll eventually reach it, no matter what trivial challenges life might throw your way. Personally I go through this during morning cardio sessions. I remind myself why I am on the bike, why I train, what I am working for and that it’s all about progress.

On the surface, working out is shallow.

A fitness lifestyle seems all about you and your goals, not to mention the requisite social media updates and pre- and post-workout selfies. These all eventually ring a little hollow.

At a certain point, you need to find your own motivation. Certain mind games and articles like this can help reset your focus and maybe offer a little perspective, but at the end of the day you have gotta want it.

Aspire to Inspire.

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