Fitness Motivation vs Commitment and How to Foster Both

You’re about to notice a trend around here and that is posts that might be applicable to new year’s resolutions. I’m a big believer in them and some of mine over the years have changed my life so check out this printable for motivation to change yours but on to why we’re here. What is the difference between motivation and commitment let’s dig deeper into that because I think it’s important. Can you make a go of your fitness routine with just one? Maybe. However I think to stick with it AND enjoy it you need both. Plus chances are we’ll talk a little bit about what you can do to foster both your motivation levels and your commitment to it. All just in time to sweat and 2019 is the year you’ll finally stick with a fitness routine. 

What is motivation

Motivation is the fun stuff or the stuff we want to part of the equation which means this might be the easier more universal side of the equation. The can be brain based sorts of motivation like to stay healthy, work on a medical issue or to have more energy. These could all fall into the category of I know I should be doing this. Since less than 5% of the population meets minimum healthy living guidelines it’s a decent bet that 95% of you all fall into this category. We want to be doing more, we know we should be doing more but obviously this isn’t enough to get most of us going. 

The next one is the wants that are more emotional or maybe we could say not as pure reasons. These are things like wanting to look better, be confident rocking a bikini, tone the jiggly bits or to loose weight as a simple ultimate goal. This would also include getting your exercise in for bucket list reasons like only ever doing one half or triathlon. These reasons are no better or worse than the ones above really you only need one that gets you off the couch. That one is the most important reason to you.

Motivation can also come in a different form too and that is actually liking your chosen activity or at least how you feel after. Maybe every time you do actually get on your bike you have so much fun the thing is it only happens twice a year. Maybe your chosen activity requires some cash yet you always spend it one something else not keeping fit. If this is the case though there are lots of activities that you might love that are free or practically free. The good news is that most of us actually have lots of motivation already. We want to be healthier or hotter and some of us might already have an activity we know we love and that’s half the battle!

What is commitment

Commitment is the hard part it’s the part that when we’re lacking it keeps us from accomplishing our goals. Commitment is the part that gets and keeps you going when it gets even a little bit hard. Once you find the socuce of your commitment though it gets easier so there is hope! Commitment is what gets you out the door when it’s cold, when you’re busy and gets you out of your pj’s when you really don’t want to. Trust me we all struggle with this from time to time. The dictonery definition alludes to a moral or legal contract or obligation but in this case it’s with yourself. Remember that motivation thing which comes from your brain or your heart while commitment is all brain baby! Although there are some hacks you can employ to get you there. But when you want to just stay home eat junk and crush candy it’s your brain that has to remind you to get going and get moving. Commitment really is a contract you have with yourself to put yourself first (sometimes), take care of yourself, keep yourself healthy and accomplish your goals.

The good news is commitment can be worked on if you have absolutely zero at the moment. There are pretty short roads to making you a dedicated lifetime exerciser and once you get just a little bit down the line, but we’re going to get into that in a minute. After a little while habit and motivation do the heavy lifting for you and commitment isn’t so hard. Sure it’s still required from time to time like in the winter or in the final stages of marathon training but overall your motivation will get stronger and you’ll even crave a workout. How’s that for commitment?

Do you need both

I would say you do need both at least some from column A and some from column B however that stacks up is probably individual. I have serious doubts that just one or the other will do. I’m almost certain that no lady out there wouldn’t want to change just one little thing about her body if she could, so chances are the boys are the same too. I also doubt if there is a single solitary person out there who doesn’t exercise that couldn’t think of a good reason to start. The other thing is I actually doubt that there is anyone out there not working out currently that wouldn’t wave a magic wand and start if they could. So the good news is we’re all motivated on some level then! However motivation alone is not enough. A lot of the time we’re more motivated to do something else in the moment, plus there’s always tomorrow right?

What a lot of us are lacking is commitment and that’s a hair harder of the two for sure. What I find helpful is to connect some why’s to your motivation reasons and try to be as dramatic and big as possible here. Also get real with yourself, you don’t have to ever share, like really REALLY real. If we lie to ourselves here it’s a lie of over simplification. You say you want to look hot in your bikini next summer but behind that is you don’t want to feel so self conscious and icky when you wear one, you want to feel like one of those ladies on the razor commercial and maybe even actually go to the beach when it’s hot! My major source of commitment is I want to take care of myself for my whole life. But when you dig deeper into that what I mean is I don’t want to die shockingly young like my dad, do that to the people I love and I worry about who will take care of me at the end of my life since I don’t have kids. Heavy right? Since regular exercise is the best way to shorten your ill health at the end of your life regular real exercise lets me spend most of my nights actually sleeping for the rest of my life. 

I actually made a printable last year about drilling down on making a life change which I think could be useful here. When you’re in the mood to be real with yourself and a little bit brutal fill it out. Also if you want read that post to get inspired to be frank with yourself. Go check it out here. Once you dig deeper into your motivation you start to find the commitment.

How to work on both commitment and motivation


  • Dress for your workout if you’re planning on skipping, its hard not to go if you’re dressed for it.
  • Be Sally smug about it in your mind
  • Join a (maybe online) group
  • Buy some fancy cute gear and only wear it to work out then to wear it you got to sweat
  • Find some cool blogs and instagramers to follow to keep it fresh in your mind
  • If you haven’t found your perfect activity actively keep shopping for a new one until you find it


  • promise to buy yourself something cool
  • Set goals with deadlines, races are perfect for this
  •  Look at that filled out printable 
  • Make a date with yourself
  • Tell anyone who will listen your goal
  • Think about the big whys as often as needed
  • Ask a friend or family member to throw shade at you if you skip
  • Set doable minimums you absolutely won’t allow yourself to break

I’ve actually written a lot about the subject in a few other posts you might find helpful so here’s a list to check out. Mark this post and come back and read these when you find either your motivation or commitment lacking.

Which do you struggle with more motivation or commitment? Do you think you need both to stick with it? What are your top tips for staying motivated or committed to you fitness?

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