Motivation is a Lie


I took this photo one morning as a joke, but it really does sum up how I feel before most runs (at least in town; I love trails). It also really captures what I actually do before many runs – bang my head against the wall.

People looking to get fit are almost always searching for “motivation,” for some magic bullet that will make them excited and happy to workout, make them look forward to exercising.

Motivation as a path to success is a myth. It’s a fairy tale. It’s BS.

Motivation alone will never get you where you want to be. But discipline will.

I still find it funny when people call me a “runner.” Sure, I’ve come to love running on trails through forests and on mountains. But most of the time – and especially during quarantine – my running has been limited to sidewalks in town and the same old, all-too-small trail networks nearby. Pure blah. So most of the time I don’t enjoy running. I don’t look forward to running. I dread it. In fact, before most runs, I will huff and moan and whine and, yes, actually knock my head against the wall next to the door because I don’t want to run.

On those days, there is no motivation. There is no joy. There is nothing but dread.

But running is a means to an end. It’s a necessary evil. It’s an investment in pain and discomfort that will ultimately help me achieve what I want to achieve, hit the goals I’m shooting for, and be a healthier, better version of myself.

So I rely on discipline. I’ll whine and complain while getting my shoes on. Bang my head. Then… take a deep breath, open the door, and just start.

Those are the days you win. The days you make progress. Not the motivated days.