Lessons in Motivation

*amidst a global pandemic*

The free time presented to me by the State of New York’s current (at publication date) stay at home order allowed me to create this site and write my first article.

Let’s talk about that

The constant state of fitness social media is relentless, and a global pandemic wasn’t going to slow that. But… it did for me. A lot. More than I’d like to admit really. The onslaught of home workouts and “no gym needed” content flooded my feed and made me feel like shit.

To begin with, creating content for instagram tends to feel more “part of the job” than “passion” for me (more on that at a later date). So when stay at home orders swept the country, I wasn’t too quick to start pumping out the resistance band workouts and bodyweight circuits. And by “wasn’t too quick”, I mean I initially deactivated my entire account to get away from it all and get my head straight.

“Alex…are you sure you didn’t mean to name this article Lessons in UNmotivation”

Alright, alright, you may be thinking that for a personal trainer, I’m not too great at the whole motivating thing right now. That’s because I wasn’t motivated. Plain and simple – like millions of others around the world – my daily schedule, my structure, my life got flipped upside down and I retreated inward. In that retreat, I learned a lot about myself and learned some lessons that I intend to carry, and I think you might like to carry as well.

Lesson 1

Be honest with yourself.

About a week or so into quarantine life, I posted this on my instagram story

black and white=moody

For some reason, it took a bit out of me to get back on instagram and post that. It felt wrong. Like I shouldn’t be saying something like that. Like I should be the person that people can look to during a tough time and still be inspired to stay on track with their goals. But I did it because it was honest and it felt right.

Guess what? I had more responses to that story than any workout video or topless ab shot I’ve ever posted. Why? Well, if I had to wager a guess it was because I was honest.

I’m not immune to feeling unmotivated, you aren’t immune to it, and neither is that influencer with 600k followers telling you to hop off the couch and do some burpees in your living room.

With that in mind, be honest with yourself. That’s step one. Now, what if you’re being honest with yourself and the fact is that you don’t feel motivated, but you want to be? That leads us to…

Lesson 2

Action breeds motivation

How many times have you heard that? Yeah… not exactly a novel concept. But, how often do you have to take that concept and put it into action? I don’t usually have to. Like most of us, I wake up most days and have somewhere to be and something to do and if I’m not there, I face some pretty dire consequences.

So what happens if you DON’T have somewhere to be. What if there’s no one waiting for you to show up and work?

That’s been one of the greatest motivating struggles of this whole quarantine. No trainer, no gym buddy, no one expecting you in their class. How do you show up when no one knows if you will? Hell, I’m one of .00001% of New Yorkers that still has access to a full gym and for the first three weeks of quarantine, I didn’t even go to it. There are people across the country that would kill to be in a gym right now, and I just squandered that for weeks! I recognize the wasted opportunity that was, but I stopped feeling bad about it by taking action.

One morning, I put my mask on, grabbed my hand sanitizer and hopped on my bike and rode up Park Ave to the gym, and had the best workout I’ve had in months. After that workout, I came home feeling accomplished. That feeling of accomplishment was motivating. Motivating enough to finally start building my website (Hi, hello, welcome!) that afternoon.

Motivation is cascading and the snowball effect is real. Pick one thing to do and do it. It’ll make everything else feel that much easier.

“Woah, woah, woah, you’re saying just workout and then I’ll be so motivated to tackle every big project I can imagine? Yea right.”

Great point. My motivation is different than yours. How can I sit here and tell you to “just workout” when you might not be able to find the motivation to do a handful pushups throughout the day. Well that leads me to…

Lesson 3

Size Doesn’t Matter

Everyone has a different level of action they can comfortably take. For some it’s starting the day by making their bed. For others, it’s putting out the clothes they’ll work out in the night before. Whatever your action is, just do it!

As you finish reading this, just do something. Take out the trash, do the dishes, do ten bodyweight squats. Whatever floats your boat and ticks the “action” box will do, and let it flow from there.

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