The Folly of Inspiration

In a previous post, I made an argument that stoicism and equanimity are far more important than motivation in long-term adherence to physical fitness and functional longevity. In this post, I’d like to extend on that thought.

Constantly relying on inspiration for daily exercise and nutrition habits is a poor mechanism for building long term fitness and nutritional habits and will ultimately lead to mediocrity or failure in pursuing long term fitness pursuits.

Let me elaborate.

Individuals who markedly improve their fitness for multiple years/decades don’t rely on the inspiration for sustained progress.

Instead of being inspired, they aim to be inspirational. They surround themselves with people who are where they want to be so that they can emulate their success, not simply be an inspired bystander; and If those people aren’t immediately available they follow them online. They have a deeper sense of purpose in their fitness game that transcends the immediate “Fix” that comes with inspiration.

If you find yourself in a position of constant wanes and undulations in your training and eating habits then you’ll need to find a more powerful mechanism from which to draw the strength to move forward. Things like motivation and inspiration are fleeting and can’t be relied upon as a consistent source of willpower.

So what can be drawn from, that is consistent and strong enough to drive yourself to the gym and lift heavy things multiple times a week and know that this time next year you’ll still be in the grind? Consider this example.

Robin, a client of mine, has over the course of 7 months gone from 190lb to 135lb at the age of 55. At her heavier weight, she couldn’t hike, go to amusement parks with her kids, or climb a ladder to put up Christmas decorations. Two years later she does Cross-Training and strength trains multiple times a week while being able to do all the aforementioned activities.

Robins’s reason to train and eat well now is rooted in wanting to continue to be able to do the activities involved with being an active mother and grandmother.

This purpose of hers will not ebb as inspiration would.