“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” ~ Zig Ziglar
It’s going to happen! You might as well be ready for it!
Most people struggle with their motivation when it’s regarding exercise or eating healthier. There may be times when your motivation will seem as far-fetched as six-pack abs. This is completely normal and anyone striving to make lifestyle changes should have a coping strategy in place to deal with this situation when it arises.
The key to gaining better control and mastering your motivation is to understand what motivates you.
Our natural instincts move us towards pleasure and away from pain. It’s that simple.
By human nature, we will do more to avoid pain. It’s a fact that most people react rather than act, meaning, they first need a wake-up call or some sort of “pain” (ex: heart attack, diabetes, etc.) before moving into action.
Motivational experts skillfully associate pain and pleasure and use them in behavior modification. Whether it’s the words they use, the thoughts they think, the images they visualize, or the actions they take … they stack up pain deliberately to discourage undesirable behaviors, and they promote pleasure to encourage new desirable behaviors, or to reinforce good habits.
Here are 8 Strategies you can use to keep yourself motivated and on the track to getting real results.
1. Find Your Reasons Why
You need to figure out a compelling purpose. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 lbs, you need to identify WHY that’s important to you. Is it to feel sexier for your spouse, fit into that old pair jeans, or feel more confident? Once you identify your initial reason, keep asking “why?” to dig deeper and finally come up with true reason that will motivate you!
2. Connect to Your Core Values
This is the ultimate secret. If you can connect the process (ex. exercise and eat healthier) to your core values, even in small ways, you can change your game. For instance, some core values might include freedom, happiness, love, connection, family, or growth. Figure out what matters most to you and work from there.
3. Change Your Mindset
You can instantly find more enjoyment in exercising by shifting your mindset from “having to workout” to “getting to workout”. Often, people say, “I’ve got to workout!”. This phrase leaves the person feeling compelled and thus less empowered. Instead, consider adopting the phrase, “I get to workout!”. Now, all of a sudden, this puts the person in a state of gratitude instead of obligation. Big difference!
4. Find your Happy Place
Remember how good it feels after you’ve had a great workout session or you’ve eaten a healthy meal. Find a way to anchor that feeling within yourself so that anytime the going gets tough, you can easily revert back to your “happy place” to remind yourself why you do this.
5. Use Reference Points From Past Successes
Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed or unsure of your ability to achieve a good workout or prepare a healthy meal. However, if you can think back to similar situations in the past where you were successful, then you can realize that it’s possible to do again. For example, if you were once able to do 12 push ups in a row, then draw from that experience and reassure yourself that you can or will be able to do it again.
6. Find a Visual Reminder
A visual tool such as a photograph or a piece of clothing can serve as a reminder of your weight-loss goals and your progress. Find something that reminds you of why you began this journey and put it somewhere you can see it everyday. This visual reminder can be a motivational phrase written on a piece of paper, a magazine photo of your ideal body, a photo of yourself when you were in better shape, a bikini or dress or pair of jeans you’d like to eventually fit into. Whatever you choose, the important thing to keep in mind is that this visual tool must be realistic. When the going gets tough, use this tool to pull yourself back on track.
7. The Buddy System
Pair up with someone who shares similar fitness goals as you and together, you can support and help each other through the rough spots. This is one of the greatest advantages of partner-training. Training with a friend can take your workouts to a whole new level and save you both $$.
8. Take Action and Reward Yourself
Here’s a secret that once you know it and apply it, can change your life.
Action comes before motivation.
Instead of waiting to feel motivated to get started, go ahead and take action, the motivation will follow, especially if you have a reward waiting yourself. You might not always look forward to your workouts and I’m sure there are a zillion excuses you could make for skipping out, but if you can push aside those negative thoughts and just get started, not only will you feel great about getting your workout done, but you’ll feel empowered and more confident for not giving in. Once your workout is done, reward yourself with something that makes you feel good – and preferably not a piece of chocolate cake!
Try these Motivation Strategies and see how they can empower you to take action and stick to it! And remember, take it one day at a time. Good Luck!
“Success is in the sum of small efforts repeated day in & day out” ~ Robert Collier