BJJ: Motivation, the Fickle Beast

Imagine something you do without fail, every day or every week. It can be brushing your teeth, taking your dog for a walk, going to work, whatever. For me, it’s wearing makeup. I wear makeup every single day. If someone were to ask me “How do you have the motivation to do it every day” I would feel very confused. Makeup is just part of my life. I like it, but motivation has zero to do with me getting up early to put it on.

For whatever reason, most average folks out there have fallen victim to the motivation trap. They’ll post online saying, “I’ve lost my motivation” or “I can’t find my motivation,” or even “How do I get my motivation back?” This is their reason they have stopped eating healthy or stopped going to the gym or whatever. This motivation thing is like a pet that keeps running away. Ultimately, I think “motivation” is a load of crap that we’ve collectively decided to buy into, and it’s something that hurts us in the long run when we rely on it.

Used with permission by Cla Cla, the artist

Used with permission by Cla Cla, the artist

We all have things we do because we want the results, or we want to be a person who does that thing. On no level do I enjoy cleaning a catbox or enjoy grading papers, or waking up at 5:10am, but I do it. I want a clean cat, I want to be a successful teacher, and I want to get to work on time. I do it regardless of how I’m feeling, and I feel good in general because I love the results.

Jiu Jitsu is no different. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t have the motivation to do jiu jitsu. Last week I messaged the professor and said “What if I just got drunk today instead of training? That’s okay, right?” His response: “WORST STUDENT!! :)” But, I made a commitment. I said to the instructor in August, “I’m coming now. Name and shame me if I don’t make it.” Without fail, I’ve come every single Monday and Wednesday, period. Sure, I let myself whine a little, then I put on my big girl pants and say “Okay, I’m going to class now.”

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. Rather than asking myself, “Will I go to jiu jitsu today,” I put it as a date in my calendar and decided “This is my life now. This is what I am choosing to do.” The sentiment that we should only do things we’re motivated to do is crap and would lead to me being jobless, slobby, and binge watching Animal Hoarders and other creepy shows. I want to do jiu jitsu, I just don’t always WANT to go to jiu jitsu. Big difference in my mind, and I need to be the responsible adult in this relationship, not give into that 8 year-old whiny girl inside me.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: What do you consistently do that doesn’t depend on motivation? How heavily have you relied on motivation to keep you going to jiu jitsu, the gym, or whatever sport you do? What do you do when that motivation wanes? How do you keep yourself honest and consistent and not based on your whims and emotions?

  1. Maybe I’m missing something, but I am having difficulty thinking of something I do without motivation. To be certain, I have goals, and the acts I do in pursuit of those goals can become tedious and are not always fun. I may not always FEEL like doing such things, but in my mind, my motivation (or incentive) to do them seems to outweigh my motivation not to do them.

  2. Pingback: October 14, 2016 - BJJ News

    • Thanks for sharing, Jeff! It absolutely echoes my beliefs. Also, I need to start doing dishes more at night and not avoid them simply because I don’t feel like doing them. 🙁 boo.

  3. I’m a shiny new white belt and have been checking out female bjj bloggers. You are by far my favorite. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom. I hope you continue writing.

    ~ White Belt Babe

    • Awww – thanks so much! I’ve noticed that when I met my husband and moved to America that all of a sudden I had other main focuses in my life. Jiu Jitsu was not the only thing giving my life meaning, and because I’m not living alone, I no longer live online. So…great for my social life, terrible for my blog! 🙁