What Does It Take To Stay Motivated?

Are you ready to finally rock the body you’ve always wanted? Even if you’re over 50 and you’re tried to stay motivated for fitness but failed time and time again?

You may have already tried every diet in the universe and promised that THIS Monday would be different a million times, but I hope to shed some new light on what it takes to actually STAY motivated (and if that’s even possible)…

Many people believe motivation needs to stay high to reach their fitness goals, but that may be holding you back.

If you’re struggling with constantly falling off the path, or just plain failing over and over again, this is the place for you.

Ready to dive into a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into staying motivated to finally reach your fitness goals?

women exercising outdoors in the sun on exercise mats.

Always Remember That Your THOUGHTS Are Under Your Control.

If you’ve been finding yourself about to give up your health & fitness efforts because you’re just sick and tired of failing, and you never seem to be motivated, you may want to think again…

Ask yourself, why do I think I will always fail, and who benefits from that thought?

Do you think you’ll always fail because you’ve tried all those diets and exercise programs, but the weight still comes back? Do you just plain think that you’re the failure?

I can guarantee that you are not a failure. And that you are perfectly capable of reaching your goals.

Hint: I have another post on why you need a Growth Mindset to lose weight successfully.

How I Stay Motivated for Fitness

I am happy to say that I am able to stay on the path of fitness, and how I think directly influences my ability to keep going when the going gets tough (and it always does).

But here’s the thing: it isn’t motivation that keeps me going! What the heck?

Nope, here are the key things that keep me going on my chosen path:

  • Environment: Make it easier to succeed and tame the procrastination monster.
  • Action: Action isn’t the result of motivation, it’s the CAUSE.
  • Systems: Instead of goals. These can move us toward goals and beyond.


Setting your environment up for success is the first key to staying motivated for fitness. This entails not only removing distractions, but making sure that your environment is set up in such a way that what you want to accomplish is practically inevitable.

You see, our surroundings play a sneaky role in how we ultimately act.

Picture this: You, armed with your meticulously crafted grocery list, ready to conquer the aisles and emerge victorious with only the essentials.

But the grocery store is a cunning labyrinth of temptation! End-of-aisle displays beckon with their siren calls, and before you know it, you’ve succumbed to the allure of a buy-one-get-one-free deal on artisanal hummus. 😩

Alas, the grocery store, with its sly choice architecture, plays tricks on even the most determined health seekers.

Now, we don’t have a lot of control over our grocery store layouts, but we can sure set up our own home and work areas to benefit ourselves!

infographic showing how environment, action, and systems can set you up to stay motivated for fitness

A small change in what you see in your environment can go a long way toward changing your behavior!

In Cass Sunstein’s book “Nudge,” co-authored with Richard Thaler, the authors delve into the concept of choice architecture and how it can be used to influence people’s decisions in a positive way. The term ‘nudge’ refers to a gentle push or suggestion that can steer individuals toward making better choices without restricting their freedom.

How is your environment helping you get – and stay – fit?

Don’t be afraid to change it up and get rid of the parts that don’t work for you and lead you away from your desired destination.

You may have to experiment to get make the most of your environment, but it is time well spent!

Some Advice from James Clear

I like to shake it up with info from all over the web the books I read. James Clear, in his fantastic 2018 book, Atomic Habits has some critical advice for you. He says, “Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.”

For a terrific read that’s both entertaining AND actionable, be sure to check out his book, Atomic Habits.


Forget the idea that you need to be motivated to get started – it’s time to embrace the notion that action itself is the spark you’ve been searching for. Let’s dig into this innovative concept that “action creates motivation.” 

putting on shoes to stay motivated for fitness

It’s about how taking those small steps, even when you’re not feeling particularly inspired, can kickstart a motivational chain reaction. Get ready for a shift in perspective that could seriously shake up how you tackle your dreams! 🚀

For example, have you ever had those days when hitting the gym seems like an insurmountable task? 

Instead of waiting for the motivation fairy to sprinkle its magic dust, try this: just put on your walking shoes and take a brisk walk around the block. 

More often than not, you’ll find yourself energized and ready to tackle a more robust exercise routine.

You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

Zig Ziglar

If you find yourself stuck in a motivation rut, don’t just sit around waiting for motivation to strike; take a small step, any step, to set things in motion. It’s like creating these little motivation catalysts around the tasks that seem daunting. 

The magic is in picking a simple thing you can do right now, creating a path for motivation to tag along. Start with that tiny action, and soon enough, you’ll find yourself on a motivation-fueled rollercoaster. 

I like to call it the Ignition Step strategy – a cycle of doing a bit, feeling motivated, doing more, and getting even more pumped up. It’s all about building this awesome loop of action and motivation that keeps the momentum rolling. 

Take Action → Get Motivated

According to a 2013 article in the Guardian, “if you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work. Don’t consider afresh each morning whether to work on your novel for 45 minutes before the day begins; once you’ve resolved that that’s just what you do, it’ll be far more likely to happen.”

Of course, we’d change “work on your novel” to whatever it is we want to accomplish, be that your daily workout, or eating more fresh food. JUST DO THE THING. Action, baby. That’s the key to staying motivated for your fitness!

Systems For the Win

If you’re sick of setting lofty weight loss goals only to find yourself stuck in a frustrating cycle of ups and downs, trust me, you’re not alone. It’s time to shake things up a bit and shift our perspective from fixating on goals to embracing the power of systems.

Now, I get it – goals have been our go-to motivators for as long as we can remember. Whether it’s shedding the stubborn pounds, running that extra mile, or fitting into those jeans from a decade ago, we set our sights on the end result. 

But what if I told you there’s a more sustainable and enjoyable way to approach your fitness journey?

Enter the game-changing concept of “systems over goals.”

Picture this: Instead of obsessing over a specific number on the scale or a particular dress size, imagine building a rock-solid system that seamlessly integrates healthy habits into your daily life. It’s not about a quick fix; it’s about creating a lifestyle that naturally leads to the results you desire.

Why systems, you ask?

Well, systems are like the backbone of success. They’re the routines, processes, and habits that shape our day-to-day actions. By focusing on developing a well-crafted system, you’re not just chasing a fleeting goal – you’re building a sustainable foundation for a healthier, happier you.

So, where do you start?

  • Define Your System: Identify the habits that align with your health and fitness aspirations. It could be something as simple as a morning walk, incorporating more veggies into your meals, or dedicating time for self-care.
  • Make It Enjoyable: Let’s face it – if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable. Find activities you genuinely enjoy, whether it’s dancing, hiking, or trying out new recipes. Making your system enjoyable ensures you’ll stick with it for the long haul.
  • Celebrate the Process: Shift your focus from outcome-based celebrations to acknowledging the small wins along the way. Did you complete your daily workout? High-five! Enjoying a colorful salad for lunch? That’s a win too. Celebrate the journey, not just the destination.
  • Stay Adaptable: Life is full of surprises, and your system should be flexible enough to accommodate them. Embrace change, tweak your habits when needed, and remember that progress, not perfection, is the key.

By adopting a systems-centric mindset, you’re not just chasing a goal; you’re cultivating a lifestyle that supports your well-being. So, ditch the rigid weight loss goals and focus on building the kind of system that will keep you feeling fabulous for years to come.

Conclusion: Give Your Motivation Staying Power Using Environment, Action, and Systems

Congratulations! You’re ready to embark on a journey to redefine your approach to health and fitness, and I’m thrilled to be your guide in this adventure. We’ve uncovered the secrets to staying motivated for your fitness, and it’s time to wrap up our exploration with a few final thoughts.

Remember, motivation isn’t a constant flame; it’s a spark that can be kindled and nurtured. Let’s recap the essential elements we’ve discussed:

1. 💡Embrace Your Power Over Thoughts:

Challenge those negative beliefs that may be holding you back. You are not a failure, and your goals are absolutely achievable. Cultivate a growth mindset and watch how it transforms your perspective on your fitness journey.

2. 🏘️Craft Your Supportive Environment:

Your surroundings play a crucial role in shaping your actions. Take a cue from choice architecture – set up your home and work environments to make success practically inevitable. Small changes can yield significant results.

3. 💥Spark Action for Motivation:

Flip the script on motivation. Don’t wait for the perfect moment; take small actions now. Remember, action is the cause of motivation, not the result. Embrace the Ignition Step strategy and watch how these small steps lead to an inspiring chain reaction.

4. 🔁Build Sustainable Systems:

Say goodbye to the cycle of setting and missing goals. Shift your focus to building powerful systems. These are the daily habits and routines that seamlessly integrate health into your life. Think of it as planting seeds for a garden of well-being that will flourish over time.

5. 🎯Your Motivation Ignition Steps:

To make this journey even more tangible, I’ve created an Ignite Your Motivation worksheet just for you. Download it and start identifying those small, actionable steps that will set your motivation ablaze.

As I close this post, always remember, your fitness journey is not fixed. It grows and changes. Celebrate the process, embrace the small wins, and stay adaptable as you weave health and well-being into the fabric of your daily life.

Thank you for joining me on this exploration of motivation. You decide your own fitness story. I can’t wait to see how you will grow and change. Here’s to a healthier and happier you!

Remember, you can download the Ignite Your Motivation worksheet to help you jumpstart your motivation right here.

I hope this post has been helpful!

Any questions? Comment below or shoot me an email at kathy@phasetwofitness.com.

If you want even more help with accountability, encouragement, recipes, workouts and just a great place to hang out with other women over 50 just like you, join the Fit Fabulous Over 50 Facebook group!

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