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The Difference Between Dedication and Motivation

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

I had a bit of timely story this morning. For those of you that don’t know, I get up at 3:15 everyday and make my way to the gym. Honestly, it’s really the only time I can fit my workouts in (so I decided to add more to my plate and start this blog). Anyway, the alarm goes off and I start this internal battle in my head:

Just go back to bed, man, you’ve got these soft sheets. These are nice sheets. Your wife buys nice sheets.”

“No way, brother, you’ve committed yourself to this workout program and you need to stick to it.

“Yeah, but the bed looks pretty cozy, doesn’t it? Room is nice and dark. The dog certainly doesn’t want you to leave, look at him…”

“It does look pretty good…No. NOOOO. Get up!”

I finally roll myself out and get dressed, with the exception of my shoes. I’m sitting there on the couch, looking at my shoes thinking, “I don’t want to do this”. I was a little bit under the weather this morning, too. It’s kind of like that creep R Kelly’s song, except that my mind was telling me no and my body…my body was also telling me no. However, I knew that in the past, when I didn’t want to go, I almost always ended up having great training sessions. And guess what?!

I didn’t.

It was pretty miserable, honestly. I felt slow, lethargic, and kind of weak. Physically, there wasn’t really much good that I did in there. My body would have been better served with a little extra rest. On the other hand, I felt that I proved something to myself. I can be dedicated to something, even when I don’t feel like it. I was not motivated to go, but I was able to prove my dedication. There’s a difference in those two words that I think is important for people to understand. One of the more popular statements I get from people who want to be more active is, “I can’t get motivated”. The good news is, you don’t have to.

So, let’s take a look at the two words:

Motivation: The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

Dedication: Committed to a task or purpose.

Being motivated to do something is a great feeling. You feel that overwhelming desire to complete a task, whatever that may be, because you want the result. Lacey and I have a beautiful husky named Sasha. We love her, but we often get super-surges of motivation to vacuum the whole house because we no longer want our rug to look like the frozen tundra of white fur. We badly want the result of a clean rug, even if it only lasts for about 15 minutes.

Dedication, on the other hand, doesn’t need motivation to complete the task. Being dedicated to the task means you’ve made an agreement with yourself and others that it WILL get done. This would be closer to Lacey and I saying, “We’re going to vacuum every Saturday”. Our dedication is pretty low on that one. But if we did better, our long term result would a cleaner house and less hair in my morning omelet. Seriously. Hair just floats everywhere. Husky’s are wild.

In my first blog post I talked about finding your reasons for getting more active and getting strong. That can be your motivation. It’s the spark that lights the fire that is the Rebellion! Wait, that’s Star Wars. But you get the point. Motivation is great to have, but at some point all of our motivation tanks show “E” until we can refuel. That is why, in my mind, dedication is the key term. The dedication, over time, will yield more results than the short bursts of motivation. Make sure that you’ve made an agreement with yourself AND OTHERS to be dedicated to being more active. Social contracts can be strong accountability partners. I have a number of strategies that I can’t wait to share with you guys over the next few weeks that help me maintain high level dedication.

Finish the program you’re on. Wake up when you don’t want to. Choose a healthy alternative. Tell your friends what you’re doing so they can help you stick to it.

Motivation is a luxury, but dedication is a necessity.

Now go move!

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