How to stay resilient when motivation starts to decline?

by | Feb 11, 2024 | Mindsets, Podcast

What do you do when your motivation starts to slip? Goals that seemed inspiring at the beginning become boring after a few weeks.

That’s why you need to be able to build discipline and habits.

Change is slow. Especially when we are learning new things and forming new habits. Changing what you eat, how you move and work out, but also in any other area of your life.

What we are doing and what we are capable of doing may not be enough to get the desired result.

Whatever you were doing before led to the results you have now.

You need to start doing more, longer, or better.

For example, some people have to start counting calories and that is a huge effort for them. While they are learning that skill, they might not be seeing progress on their body for weeks, and that can be demotivating. But they are building a skill that will help them get results.

For someone else, it might be grocery shopping or strength training.

💡 It’s good to invest time and effort into building skills and habits, even if they don’t directly translate to results in short term.

Whatever change you want to achieve, you have to step out of your comfort zone. It should not be too far, but it shouldn’t be really comfortable either. There is an area in the middle where you feel challenged, that’s inspiring, you feel like you are moving forward, and every small win feels rewarding. But it’s not so far away from your current abilities, that you feel overwhelmed and don’t take action.

Learning to navigate your nutrition is like learning to play a musical instrument. You buy a guitar and after a week you say: I’ve been practicing hard, why am I not getting the results I want?

💡 The problem is that people think it’s different with food. For eating 3 times a day, they know how to eat for their goals.

If it were so easy, people would not be struggling. Often, it is not the nutrition part that is problematic, but the practical part. It’s beneficial if you know all the tricks how to manipulate your diet, to make it easier for yourself. It’s beneficial if you have systems in place, such as regular meal prep, that support your goals.

But there is one essential skill that’s not talked about – emotional regulation. It helps you to stay disciplined when you don’t see progress, when it takes longer than you expected, or when things get hard.

“I keep joy in the front seat of the car. Joy is driving the car. And if that’s ever not true, then it will be a full reassessment. I want [ultrarunning] to be something I do my entire life… No matter how bad I’m hurting or how much of a zombie I look like in the tough moments, I am reminding myself how lucky it is to be out there doing this thing I love so much. It can be fun and hurting at the same time.”

Courtney Devaulter

Professional Ultra Runner

Let me tell you a story.

When I started running in 2015, I admired people who go run every day, in any weather, any time. Those who get kicked sand in their eyes and ask for more.

I strived to be like them, because:

  • Putting the fork down
  • Putting the running shoes on
  • Putting your game face on

Is uncommon nowadays.

David Goggins is one such example.

He is tough as nails. He has overcome many obstacles in his life. His alcoholic father physically abused him. He was bullied at school.

And he ran ultra-marathons with broken legs, lost 50 kg in 3 months by eating 800 kcal a day and exercising for hours, and completed several special operation trainings.

But here is a different view.

I used to think I was highly disciplined because I would get up every morning at 5:30 and run before work, exercise after work, not take a day off work, track every gram of my food, more more and then more. Always optimizing.

All these things became comfortable for me, but not sustainable. And not productive for my goals.

Hard things have different forms. For one person, discipline means ordering a salad. For another, discipline means ordering pizza without tracking it.

Discipline and toughness on the outside can be an adaptation to trauma. Although It’s much better than abusing drugs, resilient people can regulate their emotions.

Resilient people accept their emotions, not push them down or run away from them.

Emotional regulation in practice:

  • When you don’t exercise, you don’t beat yourself up for it and feel frustrated. You move on.
  • When you overeat one day, you don’t throw away all your progress, you accept it and continue.
  • If you want to be resilient, you need to be resilient physically, mentally and emotionally.

“We often suffer more in our imagination than in reality.”. Seneca

When I started training for my first Spartan Ultra in 2016, I had to run a lot. I had no money for a gym membership where I could run on a treadmill when the weather was bad. But I mastered my self-talk. I created the phrase “I am going now or I wouldn’t go at all.” – it simply means now or never.

If you want to achieve meaningful things in life, you need to have the ability to regulate your emotions because:

  • There will never be an ideal time to start.
  • There will always be times when you will be tired.
  • There will always be times when motivation is scarce.

And even when you feel excited and motivated to run today, tomorrow you might wake up to a different reality.

That’s because emotions are like wind – sometimes you have wind at your back, other times blowing in your face, and it can always change.

Instead of relying on how you feel, it’s better to learn to create your feelings.

👉Motion creates emotion.

You can accept your emotions and act according to what you want to achieve.

Become a high performing athlete

Improve your sports performance and health with personalized online coaching. You will learn all you need to know about how to eat for health and performance, how to create balanced meals, avoid cravings and get accountability and support necessary for you to succeed