Motivation Must Come from Inside You to Stick Around when Things Get Hard

Aggressive Predator

Internal level of ferocity

Imagine you have a wall full of pictures of some fitness idol of yours, and you say to yourself, “I want to look like that.” Those images and that individual’s goals and success are there to motivate you to improve your own physical conditioning. It works for a while, but then your drive starts to fizzle out. Why?

Because serious fitness is hard.

If you’ve got posters of Arnold, Dorian Yates, Bella Falconi, Lee Haney, and Phil Heath all over your walls, you’ve definitely got some great inspirational examples. The problem comes when you only use those external images, effort, lifting, and meal plans to drive you to the gym each day. That drive will eventually fade, and you’ll end up just going through the motions and wondering where your gains went.

I know from experience how your goals can come to a standstill out of nowhere. It took me a long time to figure out what was going on, too. Was I a quitter? Maybe I just couldn’t hack it. Maybe I didn’t have the genetics I thought I had?

That’s how I thought when I was young. When reaching my goals (anything, not just fitness) got hard, my effort dropped. Eventually, I would quit or stop for a while, waiting for my motivation to return. The problem was that it wasn’t my motivation. It was someone else’s.

Modeling your life and behavior after successful individuals is a good way to see results, but that modeling is just on the surface. The motivation to reach that same level of success has to come from inside you. Deep inside…in that place where you don’t let other people.

While it’s perfectly fine to say, “I want to be like that,” or, “I want to do that,” you need to realize those are just superficial statements. You’ve got to dig a little deeper inside the dark twists and turns of your mind and figure out why. Why do you want to be like that, and are you personally willing to push yourself hard, even when it seems impossible? Are you ready to go up against not only the world and its expectations, but yourself?

After all, what’s the point of emulating the best and becoming like the best? To borrow a phrase from a great movie, The Incredibles, if everyone is the best, then no one is. If you really want to be the best at something, you’ve got to be better than the current best. Then you’ve gotta up your game, else another will topple you from the podium.

It’s not enough to see someone successful and want to be like that. You need to open yourself up to some serious introspection, figure out why you want to be the best, and then steel yourself for the sweat, pain, and perhaps blood that you’ll find on this path.

Only when you realize that the task at hand is nearly impossible, but you agree with yourself to do it anyway, will you have a chance at success. Find that passion within yourself, and then fight like a pack of starving wolves to surpass those you sought to emulate.

Fight like this is a fight for your life, and maybe then you can be the best.