One of the common obstacles I’m offered as to why a weight loss goal has not yet been achieved is, a lack of motivation.
Thankfully that’s a fairly flimsy and totally fixable obstacle because:
Motivation is 100% within your control.
Yes, it may seem like it ‘just turns up’ and then ‘just takes off again’ however it absolutely does not need to be that way.
The first step is recognizing that ‘staying motivated’ means coming from a place of ‘want’ rather than ‘should’.
SHOULD won’t cut it long term.
“I should go for a walk before work”
“I should cut processed carbs Monday to Friday”
It’s language of pressure and it’s not fun. It makes you think restriction… and who wants more restriction?
WANT involves forming an emotional attachment to your goal.
“I want to be an inspiration to my children and to have the energy to race around the park with them… for years to come”
“I want to enjoy results I can feel proud of for the time I put into my exercise… and I know this comes from fueling my body with quality food”
It’s language of possibility and Yep, it’s motivating.
Motivation is like a shower – the effects don’t last so you need to do it daily. You’ll have experienced that whatever you feed (or focus on) will grow. Feed love and you’ll experience more love. Feed apathy and you’ll experience more. So, with that in mind:
On feeding your motivation:
1. Get really super-crazy-clear on your want – the goal – and what attaining it will give you.
=> ok, so you’re clear… now it’s a matter of keeping that want at the forefront of your mind. It’s not to be jotted down and then forgotten. This is the fuel that gets you out of bed at ‘stupid o’clock’. Or that means you choose your scheduled training session over an impromptu meal out. It allows your to politely decline the average-looking-yet-convenient-hot-chips your mates are powering into.
=> reframe any language of pressure that you are currently in the habit of using. Trade in;
“I must” / “I have to” / “I should”
“I can” / “I will” / “I want to”
2. Prepare for those inevitable instances where motivation will take a hike – if you let it – you know them because you’ve been there before right?
=> perhaps when you jump on the scales after a solid weeks exercise and that number has crept UP! Perhaps on holiday. Or in the colder, wetter months. Maybe when you get that next super exciting or just super high pressure project at work.
=> know what you’re going to do before you need to do it… again ‘need’ implies pressure, and you’re doing this because you want to. Because the possibilities are exciting and because your goal is super-crazy-important to you. Once your know your danger times when motivation has run out on you in the past you can get preemptive and stop it in it’s tracks (!) you can take action and seek that support or do that activity that pumps your motivation right back up where you want it to be.
3. Adjust your motivation expectations to your maximum benefit. What do I mean? Well if it takes something HUGE to get you motivated you’re going to struggle… you’re at the mercy of your high expectations and sometimes no matter what you do the result is going to be a lil disappointing. It’s a fact of life. We don’t win every time. And that’s ok!
If you can find motivation in the small frequent things, you’ll be able to build (and keep!) momentum a whole lot more easily and more quickly.
=> I’m not asking you to drop your standards, I’m merely suggesting that if your standards are too high it can be an excuse. Like perfectionism. It can be a reason to do nothing. To expect nothing rather than risk disappointment.
…if I need 100,000 plus visits a week to my website to ‘be motivated’ enough to put my heart into my writing and consistently prioritize posting twice weekly… well, I’m not going to write twice weekly and I’m not going to ever get to that healthy rate of people visiting my site. And frankly, that means I don’t deserve it…
=> I need to do the time – pay my dues – before I expect to see the huge results I’m seeking. And while I’m paying my dues I’ll be stoked with each comment or share I get. Every time a client says to me “Are you inside my head or what – I read your post this morning and it sounded just like you were talking to me?!”
It’s true for you too.
Yes, of course your could stick to an hour a day exercise and clean eating if you lost a couple of kilos a day doing that… even for a couple of kilos a week right? The thing is that’s not the way it works. Once you decide to be motivated by even your small success’s you’ll find those success’s build on themselves.
4. Structure motivation into your weekly routine. As I said, theres no point waiting till you’re unmotivated. Be proactive and make it easy on yourself.
=> you know what helps you feel motivated – those activities that are possibility focused, that get you excited… then make time for them each week and each day.
=> in point 2 we covered the preemptive actions to take if you feel your motivation fading, this is more about the regular habits that just happen naturally and easily as a part of your lifestyle. Here are 6 of my favs however I strongly recommend taking the time to find the habits that resonate best with you;
Listen to one of my fav podcasts while walking to and from work.
Train at a gym where I get to see people with both the training ethic (they work HARD!) and the body that motivates me to push myself harder.
Have a note-book or folder (computer or paper) titled ‘reference points for success’ where I collect the testimonials, personal/client success’s or simply just those little interactions that make me feel REALLY AWESOME! Make it a habit to look at these on the occasion I encounter a hater or a similar zero value interaction.
Surround my working area with my goals and values and pictures that motivate me.
Catch up – face to face – with someone I respect… a person that brings out the best in me (and vice versa) where I always leave the catch up feeling energized and motivated.
Allow the time just before sleep for the best fuel for my mind… for me this is reading the blog of someone that is currently excelling in the goal I’m working towards. It’s a chance to get inside their head – to hear their struggles AND to see what motivates them.
5. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Backing yourself is the best motivation. It is vital.
It’s also a catch 22.
The person lacking motivation generally doesn’t believe they can do it… so what’s to feel motivated about right? …I’m motivated to take the steps, sacrifice the time, spend the money and waste the energy to prove I can’t do it… Yeah, that’s hugely compelling!
The thing is each step builds on and compliments the last… and I believe you can tackle them in any order. You can start by structuring motivation into your weekly routine (4). Or by getting clear on what achieving your goal will give you (1). You could even start with just adjusting your motivation expectations (3). Or of course with preparing in advance for those instances where motivation has taken off in the past (2).
Perhaps the best place to start – if in hindsight I wanted to pick one again! – would be to start by backing yourself (5). To believe in yourself is to light a motivation fire… and you can then feed it with all the other steps – to prioritize the time, invest the money and free up the energy to prove to yourself you can do it.