Let’s be honest, staying committed to working out and eating healthy can sometimes be a knock down drag out fight with ourselves and our busy schedules. It’s not easy to say no to the desserts and treats that are brought in to the office and that we are tempted with via our co-workers. It’s not easy to wake up at 5:00 AM to get to the gym at 5:30 AM and put in more work before the sun comes up than most people do their entire day.
We all have seasons of life where our health and fitness journey is easier, and seasons where it’s harder. It’s during those hard seasons that we have to find the small wins to stay motivated and keep showing up - even when we don’t feel like it.
There are a lot of people on the internet today that will try and sell the belief that motivation will lead to success. But the problem is, that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.
Motivation doesn’t lead to success, rather success leads to increased motivation. This is based on George Lowenstein’s “Gap Theory” that states the closer we are to a particular goal, the more irresistible the goal becomes. I’m sure we’ve all at one point or another experienced this. The hardest part about continuing on any long term journey that is going to require time to make any noticeable progress is building up momentum to get started in the first place. But after we’ve built up that momentum, we often find it easier to continue going because we’re starting to see progress. Even if that success and progress is small, it gives us the motivation we need to continue.
This is why it’s so important to find the wins whenever and however you can when your motivation is waning. You don’t need to watch a hype video to find motivation. Instead, you need to find where you’re already winning and celebrate those wins.
Often times these wins aren’t obvious at first, though some are. A PR on a specific lift or numbers going down on the scale are obvious markers of success and they’re great. But they don’t happen every day. Instead, most wins come in the form of something unrecognizable at first glance. They can be as simple as noticing that it’s been months since you’ve worked out less than 2x a week. But 5 years ago, you weren’t a member of a gym at all. That may seem like a small win, but it’s still a win and equals up to over a hundred workouts a year compared to zero the years prior.
Or maybe you feel like your nutrition isn’t going the way you wanted it, but then you reflect and realize that you’ve been consistently drinking more water every day than you ever have before. That’s not a number on the scale moving, but it’s definitely a win that’s keeping you moving in the right direction.
Do yourself a favor and start finding the small wins. Try to find one every day or a few at the end of the week and write them down for yourself. Soon you’ll start to see them pile up. They’ll remind you that a bad day in the gym or a bad weekend falling off the wagon diet wise isn’t the end of the world and it’s certainly not a reason to give up completely. Your wins remind you that you’ve come too far to let that happen.
Owner and Head Coach of CrossFit Laminin