Why You Failed in the Past and How to Succeed in the Future

As far as I can tell, there are just two reasons why anyone does anything:

  1. They are motivated to do it.
  2. They are dedicated to doing it.

And there is a huge difference between the two.

Motivation is a feeling. An emotion.

People workout, for example, when they’re motivated to do so. They feel like hitting the gym, so they do.

But once that feeling wears off, once they are no longer motivated to exercise, they stop.

You see this in gyms across the world every January. People set New Years Resolutions to get healthier because the thought of a new year motivates them to do so. But once it becomes too hard or “life happens” they stop going.

The motivation, that feeling of “I should do this”, is long gone.

Not everyone, though, falls into this trap. Some people still exercise and eat right come February, March…. even April.

How do they do it? How are they able to stay motivated for so long?

The truth is, they aren’t.

They might not be motivated to hit the gym in the morning. They may not want to take a salad for lunch. Yet they still manage to do it.

These people don’t need motivation.

Back when they decided to make a change, to live healthier, they didn’t do it on a whim. They didn’t watch The Biggest Loser and think, “Hey, I should hit the gym tomorrow.”. Something happened inside them and they thought, “ENOUGH! I’m changing my life, no matter what it takes!”.

They dedicated themselves to living healthier and making lasting change.

Dedication is the opposite of motivation.

Dedication means doing things when you don’t want to.

Dedication means fighting your motivations on a daily basis.

Dedication is the difference between someone in great shape and someone that wishes they were.

When you wake up in your warm bed on a cold winter’s morning, you are motivated to stay there. A dedicated person gets up and hits the gym anyways.

When you are starving at work and your boss brings in pizza and donuts, you are motivated to indulge. A dedicated person eats their salad instead.

In “The 4-Hour Body” author Tim Ferriss has a chapter titled “The Harajuku Moment”. In this chapter, Ferriss describes why it’s so hard for people to make lasting change when it comes to their health. He believes that people won’t change until they’ve had their “Harajuku Moment”. He describes this moment as “an epiphany that turns a nice-to-have [e.g. losing 20 pounds] into a must-have”.

In other words, the “Harajuku Moment” is the moment when someone decides to dedicate themselves to change. Becoming healthier and more fit is no longer an option, but rather a necessity. A way of life.

Going to the gym or taking a salad only when they feel like it won’t do anymore. These things become part of their day, like showering and brushing their teeth.

If you’ve failed to make changes in the past, a lack of true dedication was likely the issue. Ask yourself, how dedicated were you to the process?

All diets work. All workout routines will get you results.

The difference between succeeding and failing isn’t which diet you chose, or 3 sets of 10 instead of 5 sets of 5. The difference between succeeding and failing is often your level of commitment.

If you want to change, you can’t just show up when you feel like it.

You need to be dedicated.