When you’re trying really hard to get fit, stay fit, lose weight, transform your body, lean up it can feel like a big slog. You know you want to be healthy and maintain that health for as long as you live, yet keeping motivated can be a challenge.
So, I’m going to help you get and stay motivated. This is not ground breaking, however it’s often easy to lose track. You may do some of this already, although perhaps not consistently. As we know consistency does not have to be 100%, however it does help keep you motivated.
Why is a very important word. As human beings we need direction, to have purpose, if there’s no reason to do something then we might as well sit in our chairs and veg.
Understanding our own reasons to do something creates drive and motivation, it will also help you to take action and push your comfort zone.
Change can be uncomfortable and you can find you feel resistance, finding excuses why you can’t do what you set out to do, being too busy, looking after kids, there are loads of reasons why not, you just have to find your reason to.
What change are you making or do you want to make? Why?
It is common to focus on the number on the scales as a reason to eat a certain way or exercise and it can often feel de-motivating when those numbers do not go the way we want them to. Its why there needs to be a deeper reason to take action.
You need to find the deeper why not just the surface layer, it could be:
- You’ve always wanted to run a marathon
- You want a new career and need more confidence to go for it
- You want a baby
- You’ve always wanted to win a bodybuilding competition
Have a think about your reasons why, once you have one example ask yourself again, why is that important?
"When you are motivated it feels brilliant, you’re in flow".
Link to your life
The examples highlighted above do not include any measurements, which are great to have, however the motivation comes from understanding why that measurement is important, what will it mean as a result of hitting that number.
Being healthy is often separated out from the rest of our life. We can make health the central pillar that supports the rest of our life – this is the ultimate reason why. Health enables us to have the energy and confidence to do anything we want to, to be really present in this world instead of struggling and suffering.
This brings the ultimate motivation, there are many wonderful people out there busily working hard at being great workers, looking after family whilst sacrificing themselves and their health. If health was at the centre of our lives imagine how much better life would be and how much pressure would be relieved off the struggling NHS.
Life comes with unpredictable challenges, which you often cannot forsee and having plenty of tools in your health toolbelt will help you to deal with them – you will build personal resilience which means you are much more able to be motivated, even in the toughest of times.
What do you need to get away from?
For many people there will be a trigger which makes them decide they need to focus on their health. This can be their mental and physical health. For me it was being unable to walk a mile without stopping at every lighting column.
This away from can be very very motivating and will often prompt a strong reaction, and therefore lots of action. However, after a while as the problem gets further away and doesn’t seem so bad, the old bad habits can start to creep in – which is why you also need….
Having those goals which drive you forward will really help you to keep focused and motivated, this is why it’s so important to understand:
- Your own values, what is important in your life.
- The areas of your life which you are neglecting or need to make changes in.
- Whether you are currently prioritising actions which are actually important and aren’t just distractions or other peoples priorities.
- What actions you do need to take to make your life the best it can be.
So that you can have a clear path and purpose to making changes and being the best healthy person, you can be.
This does not mean that you have to be constantly striving and taking action to make changes, sometimes it will be time to be in a maintenance zone. This zone can often end up being a destructive place because for many it is the time to let go of all the control and healthy eating.
It does not have to be like this, if you consciously create the Maintenance Zone so that you have a goal to keep healthy, although not in the same way as if you were in training or leaning up then you will only have to tweak if you decide to follow a new health driven goal.
There still needs to be a reason why you are keeping healthy, and you’ll have some regular actions which you will undertake, such as eating 70-80% healthily and perhaps doing slightly different activity. This can be a great opportunity to explore other options and it will make the maintenance zone more fun instead of chaotic overindulgence.
Motivation is often lost when you try to make big changes or if there are just too many to cope with. Another factor can be the change you are creating is overwhelming and taking over your life, this creates conflict with work, family etc and will make you a lot more likely to lose focus and motivation.
Therefore it’s so important to take small steps, make small changes so easy that you will stick to them.
The healthy mind
Motivation is driven by the mind, to have a clear reason why will help focus your mind on the task that you want to achieve. However, if your thoughts are in a negative space then you will struggle to keep and find motivation to take the action necessary to achieve your goals.
You can train your thoughts just like you train your body, after all the mind is a muscle. Using relaxation techniques you can start to focus on your thoughts in a positive way. You can quieten the voice that says you can’t and replace it with one that says you can. The starting point is awareness, then making small changes, You Tube is a great resource for guided though meditations which will help you to train this muscle.
Like everything this take practice, which take time, the mind muscle will not be trained over night. The mind is full of neural pathways, and I’d like you to imagine a pathway through a corn field. Current thinking or even any bad habits have created a well trodden pathway, it may be one which you would like to change and may have even tried to do so in the past.
When you tried to change it, you may have lost motivation (remember the why), or even tried to make massive changes and ended up back where you started. The best way to make this type of change is by taking small steps which will tread a new, solid path, one which feels comfortable so that you’re more likely to stick to the changes.
Motivation feels great
When you are motivated it feels brilliant, you’re in flow. There will always be competing priorities in life and factors which may impact what you are trying to achieve, and these will also affect your motivation. By developing tools to help you keep focused and motivated you will find this flow comes along more frequently and you will achieve your healthy goals.
Guest post by Emma Hadley.