No Longer Impossible

In 1998, Benoit Lecomte set out to become the first person to swim across the Atlantic Ocean. Motivated by the death of his father, Benoit was determined to be the first swimmer to cross the 3,000+ mile journey. He did it. It took 73 days and 3,716 miles from the US to France. At least 5 of the days out at sea Benoit was trailed by a great white shark. All told, his accomplishment was nothing short of superhuman.

Benoit Lecomte on his 3,700+ mile swim. Source:

Motivation fuels us to do the impossible; making us dispel of all doubt and ready to take on the world. It reminds me of the cartoons where an ordinary human comes into contact with some radioactive material and once it has done it’s transformation our superhero emerges. We look to various sources to find our motivation, trying to bottle it up and use its radioactive properties to make us capable of doing the extraordinary.

The Decay of Motivation

Motivation can fuel but decays just like any other radioactive material. Source:

Motivation also has another radioactive property: decay.  The real-life definition of this property:

Radioactive decay is the spontaneous breakdown of an atomic nucleus resulting in the release of energy and matter”

Translation: it isn’t stable. It breaks down over time, which is measured every time it is divided in half. Scientist’s term the measurement of this decay as “half-life”.

If we track our motivation it follows the same pattern: initially capable of making us do the impossible, yet it has a half-life of about a week. In other words, you should count on your motivation as 50% a week from now, and 25% two weeks from now. If we only have about a week or two to bottle up this radioactive material and use it for good, what should we do?

Adjusting the Motivational Half-Life

Your motivation needs to fuel your planning and preparation

Mr. Lecomte would probably say that motivation needed to be coupled with planning. In fact, his dad died in 1991 and he wasn’t ready for his inspiring journey until 7 full years later. It took him thousands of hours of training and preparation to transform that motivation into an incredible accomplishment.

If we’re going to lose half of that initial motivation each week, we need to get started on our planning, and fast. Pair your motivation with a detailed plan to reach your goals as soon as you can form one. By the time the motivation starts to wane it won’t matter because you’re already well on your way to achieving something great.

About the Author-Chris

Chris Johnson is the founder of Cerus Fitness. Chris's personal journey in fitness started nearly 10 years--and 70 pounds--ago, when he was overweight and seeking to make life changes after a series of short lived attempts using unsustainable techniques. Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer who has worked with professional and amateur athletes since 2010 in a variety of fields: boxing, basketball, football, marathon running, triathlons, obstacle course racing, kick-boxing and others.