How to Hack Your Motivation

Motivation is a constant struggle; wouldn’t it be nice if it wasn’t so difficult?

After struggling with it myself, and then working with thousands of first responders and trying to keep them motivated with their fitness and nutrition, I decided to go on a search to find an easier way.

I ended up learning how to hack my motivation, and I’m not just talking about for purposes of fitness, but for anything I wanted to stay motivated doing. I’d like to share some of those things I learned with you today, to see if they can help you too.

Here are three things I needed to know about motivation.

1. Motivation is fleeting.

You’re never going to be motivated all the time, no one is. And I promise the people you see in your Facebook newsfeed aren’t always as motivated as they say they are. Knowing this before you start something new is important.

There are going to be days when you feel motivated to do something, but don’t expect that to be every day. Take advantage of it when it’s present, but know that motivation is a roller coaster ride.

Stop being hard on yourself if you’re unmotivated, you’re just like everyone else. And it is not a sign that you should quit or give up.

2. Motivation comes AFTER you do that thing.

Many people wait for motivation to come before they do something. Sometimes that does happen, as in the case of hitting rock bottom, but that doesn’t happen often (thankfully). If you’re waiting for motivation to start something, just do it now. Motivation will come AFTER you do that thing.

After you work out, after you eat well, after you do something heroic, after you tell your significant other you love them…

Think about the last time you did any of those. Do you remember how you felt before? How about after? Especially when you started to see results from all the hard work you were putting in. That’s hack number two…. You need to first do that thing, and the motivation will come after.

3. Motivation involves both your vision and your mission.

This one is a little deeper. You may have heard about finding your “why”–your deep reason for doing something. The reason for doing something must outweigh the reason for not. That’s where your vision and your mission comes into play.

Vision – Where you truly want to be in the future. This is the selfish reason for why you want to do something. Don’t take selfish as a bad thing, because this is absolutely needed. You’ve heard the adage if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. This is that part of the equation. It’s going to keep you waking up at 0’dark thirty in the morning to get your workout in because it’s important to you. Don’t skip this part, if it’s always just about other people you won’t last, and you’ll also be doing a disservice to them.

The next piece is your mission. Your mission keeps you honest. It gives you purpose. It’s why you’re working this profession, what you’re giving back to the world based off your own struggles or experiences. More than likely your mission tends to put other people ahead of yourself on the priority list, and it’s often what you feel you were born to do.

You need both your vision and your mission for this all to work. Just know it’s healthy to have a constant battle between the two. If you examine your life now you may be a little too far on one side of the equation, but you always have an opportunity reevaluate where you are and adjust.

When you do something that aligns with what you want, AND the impact you want to have on the world, there’s nothing that can stop you.

The key to this exercise is to either write out both your vision and your mission, or come up with a photograph that reminds you of them. Then put it in a place that you can review daily to remind yourself of why you started. Because motivation needs to be visited daily, you need to constantly see it. Whether that’s near your alarm clock (like mine), on the refrigerator, on your locker at work, etc.

Maintaining Motivation

Now these tips will help you get started with your motivation, but how do you keep going?

Make personal development a daily activity. You’re already doing that, by reading this article, and the awesome posts on this website.

How can you continue to do that?

Podcasts are great resources. There are hundreds of great podcasts, including the Law Enforcement Today podcast, which I am personally subscribed to.

I also have my own podcast where I help first responders with their health, fitness, motivation, and mindset. You can check out the First Responder Fitness Podcast on iTunes, or on my blog at Do a quick search for “Motivation” to see several on the topic.

I appreciate you taking the time to read, and never hesitate to reach out with questions. Above all stay safe, your family is depending on you to make it home safe every single night.

Marc Hildebrand is a current LEO, Precision Nutrition Coach and Certified Personal Trainer who had his own struggles with nutrition.  He used the information he now teaches to lose 100 pounds, and has made it his mission to help First Responders everywhere make it home safe every night. To learn more, visit his website at