Motivation and Commitment

When you think about being motivated to exercise, you may think about Boot Camp participants who faithfully arrive for class at 5:30am, no matter if they are a morning person or not, the person taking his dog out for a walk in the pouring rain, or the runner out on the trail for three hours on a Sunday morning in preparation for an upcoming marathon.
When it comes to exercise, many people struggle to stay motivated. “How can I get motivated?” is one of the most common questions I get asked. One problem with staying motivated is our definition of it. We tend to think of motivation as a feeling. Motivation is not a feeling; it is the result of a commitment. Once you make a commitment, you have made a contract with yourself, or someone else, to follow through, regardless if you ‘feel like it’. Frankly, if everyone only exercised when they ‘felt like it’ few would ever get around to their daily sweat sessions.
Consider a mortgage payment. Once you purchase your house and sign a contract to pay a certain amount to the bank every month, you follow through. You budget your expenses to make sure you are able to make the payment on time each month, regardless if you ‘feel like it’ or not. You made the commitment and are accountable to the bank to follow through. Just like a mortgage payment, commit to your fitness goals to keep on track. To ensure success, have a plan to stay accountable to your commitment.
In the example of the Boot Campers, dog owner, and runners, each person had made a commitment and are kept accountable. The Boot Campers made a commitment to their training partners and coach, attendance records, fitness tests, and simply being missed by others keeps them accountable. The dog owner committed to give his dog exercise everyday. The dog would surely let his owner know if he wasn’t getting out enough. Finally, the runner committed to training for a race. If she misses her training, the end result will be poor performance in the race.
If you want to be ‘motivated’ in your fitness program, start by setting a goal and making a commitment to it. To be successful with a fitness program, do not rely on motivation to keep on track. Instead, make a commitment to a plan and enlist a friend or coach to stay accountable.
Tanja Shaw is a Kinesiologist and Fitness Coach, specializing in weight loss,group fitness, pre and postnatal fitness, and health and wellness programs. She owns Ascend Fitness Coaching, home to Ascend Fitness Boot Camp, Stroller Boot Camp, and personal training programs. For more fitness tips go to

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