A neat psychological trick to stay motivated

written by Philip Stefanov  |  MARCH 1, 2022

Much has been said and written about using positivity as a means of becoming motivated to chase goals. For example, if you want to have a good workout, watch those who always train hard and find pleasure in the pain. If you're going to get lean, look up transformations online. If you want to get strong, follow powerlifters on social media.

Intuitively, the approach makes sense because we are social creatures and copy those we admire. But what if there were another, more effective way to stay truly motivated and never let yourself step off the gas pedal?

The Consequences of Not Achieving Goals

I loved watching bodybuilding videos, following professional athletes, and reading inspirational quotes when I first started training. It pumped me up for each workout, and I felt amazing. But, over time, the tactic stopped working, and the videos, quotes, and ideas that motivated me before didn’t do much for me anymore.

Aside from relying on sheer discipline, I had to find another way to get excited and keep going. That turned out to be the visualization of what my life would be if I quit and didn’t reach a goal. I didn’t have a huge “Aha!” moment where I came up with the idea. Instead, the process occurred naturally because my high school graduation was a year away, and I didn’t want to be fat in my suit. Yes, it was shallow, but I was also seventeen.

Anyway, I kept going because looking good and not looking fat for my graduation was the thing that kept me going. Sure enough, the tactic worked. I kept losing weight relentlessly for around eight months, dropping from 240 to 170 lbs.

How to Apply This In Your Life

We all struggle with motivation from time to time, whether that involves work, school, fitness, or something else. Here is what I recommend you do right now:

  1. Take a blank piece of paper and a pen and set aside ten to fifteen minutes.
  2. Sit down and consider one area of your life in which you struggle with motivation.
  3. Write down the area you struggle with, and then write one goal you would love to achieve in the next six to twelve months.
  4. Think of one to ten consequences of failing to achieve your goal and write each down.
  5. Put that piece of paper somewhere visible to keep as a constant reminder.

Here is how that might look:

Let’s say that you struggle to stay motivated with fitness and your long-term goal is to lose 30 pounds. The consequences of not achieving that goal could be:

  1. “I’ll keep feeling tired and unable to keep up with my kids.”
  2. “I’ll feel self-conscious on yet another beach vacation.”
  3. “I’ll be at a higher risk of health issues down the road.”
  4. “I’ll keep going on these stupid diets for a few weeks, give up, and return to square one.”
  5. “I’ll disappoint myself yet again and feel like a failure.”

The reasons can be as shallow or profound as you want them to be because they have to be yours. Attach emotion to each consequence and honestly imagine how they would impact your life, relationships, and anything else you can think of.

Thank you for taking the time! Until next week,


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