Ask Jillian Michaels: I want to exercise more, but it’s so difficult for me to overcome my natural laziness. How do you stay motivated every day to work out?

Jillian Michaels.

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Jillian Michaels.
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Jillian Michaels

Question: I want to exercise more, but it’s so difficult for me to overcome my natural laziness. How do you stay motivated every day to work out?

This has got to be the most common question I get: “How do I get or stay motivated?”

And it’s a great question, because the truth of the matter is that weight management, overall health, and wellness are truly simple. It’s a matter of managing the amount of calories you eat based on your goal, managing the quality of your foods based on simple common sense – don’t eat foods that have artificial colors and flavors, and try to go organic with meat, dairy, and thin-skinned fruits and vegetables – and moving your body more.

So if it’s so simple, why is it so hard for people? Because it’s work. Anything in life worth having is work. Period. Whether it’s a healthy relationship, a healthy career, or a healthy body, you will have to work for it and sacrifice for it to a certain extent. This is the “how” of success – educating yourself on the task at hand, determining the smartest course of action to move forward, and then doing the work.

The key to tolerating the “how” associated with the goal is having a “why.” And people much smarter than me have made that saying famous. If you have a why, you can tolerate the how. So, the question becomes, what’s your why?

Now, often we answer that question with sweeping generalizations like money, love, and health. But those aren’t detailed visions you can form emotional connections to. Have you ever stopped to really think about what those things actually look like in your life?

What does health mean to you? Is it improving a medical condition that’s plaguing you, like Type 2 diabetes, or is it wearing a two-piece instead of a one-piece bathing suit? There is no reason too profound or too superficial as long as it matters to you.

For example, my “whys” are as follows: Meet my great-grandchildren, be an inspiring role model for my kids, feel extremely confident during sex, fit into and look good in a certain brand of skinny jeans, look 35 at 45, be living proof that the Jillian Michaels brand delivers results – and on and on.

The things I’ve listed are far more important to me than a slice of pizza. It’s a matter of perspective.

So, forget this notion that you’re lazy – you’re absolutely not. It’s just that life can feel punishing, and more work is more punishing unless you have a purpose. That “why” is your purpose, and work with purpose is passion.

So take a little time to really think about what it is you want and what it is you’re trying to get motivated to achieve. Think about how your life is going to improve once you’ve achieved it, and how will it feel to live in this new reality. That is the why that will allow you to tolerate the how!

Do you have a question for Jillian Michaels? Send it to AskJillianMichaels@insider.com and she may choose it for her next column.