Determination comes from within, but motivation doesn’t have to

One of my first blog posts when I started Fitting in Fitness was on the topic of commitment after a small shoulder injury. In that blog post, I deconstructed what determination and commitment meant to me. To recap:

Perhaps what is so striking about this word is its emphasis on persistence and persevering. In many ways, I see commitment as being result to determination–determination being the result of one’s free will, and commitment being a result of said free will. They are, however not the same thing.

Determination comes from within. Determination is your own free will. Your dedication towards a vision.

Commitment is scary. Commitment is ambiguous. Commitment is vague. Commitment requires courage.

I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine last night and she told me she needed motivation to get fit again. This triggered something in me and made me think about motivation. I talked about determination, and commitment as a result of determination… but I never thought about my motivators.

Then today, while I was on the elliptical after one of my birthday dinners (yes plural, yes I’m obnoxious), I was having a moment where I felt discouraged and tired. I use my elliptical time as catch up time for my own thoughts and to catch up with friends and so I started texting one of my best friends who’s joined me on this fitness adventure, Jerry. I complained about how I felt like I couldn’t do it. His response: “YOU GOT THIS. Halfway done? You’ve done it once. You can do it again.”

This made me think – #4weeks2shred is brutal, but I’ve totally survived it before. There’s no reason why i can’t do it again.

Reflecting on this entire process, I realized that there were multiple motivators going on in this situation. On one level, there’s the obvious friend providing support to me. On another level, I was also receiving motivation intrinsically from the fact that I’ve done cardio before, and I’ve done this plan before. Then of course, there’s the end goal that’s also serving as another motivation because 1) I want to succeed for myself but also 2) because I’ve written my goals down and shared them, and I didn’t want to let anyone down.

In that same period of time, a friend who I hadn’t spoken to in a while reached out to me and asked me for fitness advice. I took some time to explain what macros were, and shared my favorite protein power with him. Even though this was something small, it felt good to be able to give that advice. It was validating.

In my counseling course, we talked about ethics and the idea of beneficence and nonmaleficence, the idea of doing good and not causing harm. While they seem similar and slightly redundant, doing one doesn’t necessarily mean the other. I found this to relate to the motivators that I had because I found motivators that were both intrinsic and extrinsic. This was because of the support system I created for myself and this blog itself.

In thinking about all of these various motivators, I came to realize that while motivation can come from within, it can also come from the outside. And more importantly, I came to realize that all of these different motivators can come together to help support your determination to form commitment. In other words:

Commitment = Determination + Motivation

Motivators exist in a lot of different places. It’s about finding what motivators work for you. In thinking back, I don’t think there’s a single type of motivation that works best for me. I think that the inherently cyclical nature of combined motivation has impacted me the most. I never thought about what kind of motivation I needed, but I just made sure I surrounded myself with whatever I could get.

And to my friends who read this and are looking for your motivation — I don’t know that any amount of motivation would have been helpful if it didn’t start with determination. Motivation is around me and I’m sure it’s around you; but if you don’t let it motivate you in the first place, then what good is any motivation at all? Believe in yourself and don’t find excuses. Instead, find yourself and prioritize yourself. You can fit in fitness, I know you can!

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