Today in my “Ask Angie” series I am going to be answering an age old question about motivation that I’m sure many of you have. This question comes in from my lovely subscriber, Amy V. from Dallas, Texas. Her question is this:
I’ve been a subscriber to the blog for a while now and I just love your holistic approach to fitness! I was hoping you could help me with motivation. I can stay motivated for a while but then “life” happens. Holidays, birthdays, vacations all seem to consistently derail my efforts. I always feel like I’m playing catch up. It’s like I have to start over getting motivated after everything. Do you have any secrets to share with us? How do other women stay motivated and what message do you give to your clients when this comes up?
Thanks for all you do!
Amy V. – Dallas, Texas
The Truth about Motivation
Thanks so much for your question, Amy! I’ll do my best to answer your question as I see it. First let’s just get this clear from the beginning. No one ALWAYS feels motivated, not even me. Feelings of being lazy, uninterested, burned out, bored etc. are common human emotions and I think if most people are honest, they have these feelings from time to time. It’s also perfectly natural to go through cycles where your motivation levels ebb and flow to a certain degree. No one can be at the top of their game, ALL. THE. TIME.
With that said, that doesn’t mean we have to give in to these feelings. This is where the secret ingredient of anyone who achieves their goals is going to come in: DISCIPLINE! Did I just hear a collective groan? 🙂
That’s right. Discipline is going to be your best friend when those feelings come up of not wanting to workout or eat what you know you should. Discipline is what separates the women from the girls, here. If you don’t have a certain level of discipline when that alarm goes off at 5 am, you’ll just hit that snooze and save that workout for another day. If you don’t have discipline, you will eat the same crappy food everyone else is eating at lunch instead of ordering the salad you’d planned to. Your goals will go no where without a certain baseline of discipline. There’s no way around this, folks.
How do You Stay Motivated?
Motivation isn’t as cut and dried as most may think. It’s actually quite complex. I’ve found over the years of working with women that everyone has many layers of what motivates them. Short term goals seem easier to stay motivated for while longer, bigger goals can really challenge a person to do some major personal growth to achieve.
For example, girls getting ready for their wedding day is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to motivation. Every bride I’ve ever worked with was SUPER motivated. These women had discipline like no other, even if this was not normally in their character. They would do EXACTLY what I ask them to do to reach their goal. They will give up alcohol, food, parties, whatever it took to fit into that dream wedding dress. These brides had deep internal motivation.
But the tricky part comes in for most people when they’re just trying to find their motivation to be healthy in daily life. When there’s no major life event coming, or vacation or reunion, etc. This is where deeper meaning is going to have to be found. You will really have to find your “Why” to stay focused long term. If you don’t find other reasons beside fitting into your skinny jeans, then this more surface level goal won’t sustain you when you hit some of life’s inevitable challenges.
Let’s say you face a challenge of losing your job or facing a break-up. If your deeper levels of motivation for living healthy are because this is the standard that you’ve set for yourself, or you know living this way makes you a more confident person, etc. you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy routine regardless of what life throws at you. It will just be a part of your nature and actually something you can lean on during hard times.
If however, you’ve been working out and dieting to lose weight just for surface reasons only, well the chances of you sticking with it when negative emotions come up are pretty slim. This level of motivation is easy to spot. Just notice what you do when you get stressed out or angry. What do you do when things don’t go your way? Do you make sure you get that workout in because you know it will make you feel better or do you binge eat and suddenly lose all interest in exercise? Really begin to shine a light on this for yourself. Getting honest about WHY you’re doing something will be a major indicator of any true motivation issues.
If you’re living healthy for the right reasons, lack of motivation will not be a chronic issue. Feelings will come and go but you wouldn’t dream of letting them derail you for too long.
Keys to Finding Lasting Motivation
- Follow the “3 Strike Rule” – First realize that “feeling unmotivated” is just that, a feeling. This too, shall pass. But don’t allow yourself to wallow in it for more than 3 days. You can skip 1 day, or even 2, but by that 3rd day you better be picking yourself up and getting going. Anything longer than that and you’re setting yourself up for a difficult reentry into your healthy lifestyle.
- Permanently Raise Your Standards – While short-term goals are awesome and fun to work towards for the easy win, if you “permanently” raise your standards for yourself, you will expect more from yourself as a way of being. Your standards won’t just be about a trip or wedding. You will WANT to live at a higher level just because you’re worth it and deserve better. It’s just that simple.
- Realize There’s No Standing Still – Even if you think you’ll just stay at the level you’re currently at and be happy, life doesn’t work that way. We’re never really able to stay in one position for long. You’re either progressing and getting better or you’re getting worse. It’s like you throw a ball in the air, it’s not going to stay at the top without more energy pushing it up. It will start to come down. That’s how we are too. We need progress to be happy. We’re either getting better or getting worse, your choice.
- Know your “Whys” – Once you get past the surface reasons of losing weight and eating healthy, such as getting noticed, receiving complements, getting to buy cute clothes, etc. you need to find out deeper driving forces for when life gets challenging or stressful. Is it to be a good example for your kids, to have the energy to perform well in a job you love? Maybe you know you want to do some strenuous overseas travel. All of these things will require a certain level of good health. These reasons will help you stay focused when you “feel” like giving up.
- Realize Your Perception of Life Gets Better – Understand that when you’re healthy and confident, you see life differently than when you’re not. Your perception and clarity will be completely different, in a good way. As you are physically lighter, life feels lighter too. Life loses it’s heaviness and more joy naturally comes in when we’re honoring our physical health. You make better choices and standing up for yourself gets easier.
Motivation is Personal
Motivation is a very personal subject and everyone’s motivations will be different. And even what motivated you to workout in your 20s will most likely not be the exact same when you’re 40. We’re going to change, evolve and hopefully find a rhythm of living that doesn’t really even need motivation anymore. My goal for each of you is that you’ll find peace with your body. That you’ll finally realize that the attention you give to your physical body is a sacred act of self-care. It’s not a luxury, but an absolute necessity. I think it’s a requirement for living a happy and fulfilling life as well.
I hope you enjoyed reading today’s segment of “Ask Angie!” I love hearing your questions so please shoot me an email so I can answer yours’ next time. Please SHARE this post with your friends and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE below!
You may also like my post “Transform Your Life in 3 Months!”
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