Motivation - its a simple concept. Giving yourself a reason, a reward, to do something, or a punishment for not doing something.
Yet, our obsession towards being motivated is one of the key reasons why we often fail to do something. Walk with me as I explain.
Some things in life are simple to do, as our minds and bodies provide all the motivation we need. Eating, sleeping, sex, socializing, recreation - for the most part, we humans do that pretty naturally. I eat, I usually feel better afterwards. I lay down to sleep, I almost immediately feel good about laying down. We have reward systems built into us to make sure we do the basic, sometimes to our own detriment. Try not breathing for a little while - your body will really punish you for not breathing.
We then look to use motivation to get us to do less pleasant things - go to work, go to school, exercise, eating healthy. They are not always easy to do, and some days, they are down right hard. So, we try to learn new ways to motivate ourselves to get up early, or eat right - maybe a treat after the exercise to get me to do it, or I can't go to the movies if I don't finish my homework first.
And therein lies the problem - we keep treating things we should be doing as something that we need some kind of reward in order to accomplish. To reverse the thinking, if I don't get a treat after exercising, why would I exercise?
Instead, I recommend not using motivation to do something. Reliance on that reward system (or punishment system, if you choose that route), is like a crutch. Its also a child's way of thinking - do your homework, and I'll give you a sundae. Clean up your room, or you go to bed early. Reward/punishment. We are conditioned to use it.
Instead, don't give yourself that 'out'. You exercise because you should - its as simple as that. You refuse to gorge yourself on half a pizza because you choose to. Yes its hard - and that's the point.
We are no longer kids, yet many of us use the child-rearing method of reward/punishment on ourselves. I would never tell my wife to do the dishes, or no dinner for her tonight. So why would I use that method on myself?
Because we often treat ourselves very, very differently than we would other adults. We either baby ourselves, or are way too hard on ourselves.
One of the key Mindfulness concept is Acceptance. I simply accept that I need to exercise - so it becomes part of my routine. I don't have to love it, like it, or even tolerate it. I just have to do it.
I've lived for over forty years using the reward/punishment system on myself, and it was a dismal failure. Once I took the decision out of my own hands, things got a lot simpler.
Simplify your life - make decisions, good life changing decisions, and just do them, because they are right, because they improve you. Don't wait for the gold at the end of the rainbow, or the crack of a whip. Discipline comes from within.
Practice discipline. You are worth it.