People come to see me for lots of different reasons – to lose weight, get their health on track, manage their stress, quit smoking or just to talk about what is happening in their lives. The common question no matter what they are hoping to change or achieve is “How do I stay motivated? ”
I hear lots of stories about ‘failed’ attempts, lack of self control and the million and one reasons why its too hard, takes up too much time, costs too much …… All it takes to turn this around is for you to actually make a strong and determined decision to do so. I know this because I have lived it from both sides .
Motivation is a slippery thing. You don’t have it until you decide you do. You don’t keep it until you keep going. You don’t find it until the situation you are in becomes unacceptable to you and things have to change. Even then, it sometimes slips away.
Finding the thing that will keep you going in the difficult moments is essential to success. For me, keeping on top of my weight and staying healthy all comes down to my gorgeous kids. My mother died of cancer many years ago, my father has had a stroke, heart attack and cancer. I don’t want my kids to have to watch me go through these illnesses especially if it’s avoidable. I don’t want them to feel the heartbreak of their Mum leaving them way before she wants to. I also really like my husband and I’m keen to have as long as I possibly can with him.
The other thing that keeps me on track is that I like to be able to pull on some jeans and feel good about it. I like feeling confident and unapologetic in my body. I like feeling like myself again. I remember not feeling this way and how it wore me down and I don’t plan on going back to that. I may not look like a supermodel but I am healthy and happy with where I am at and that’s a good place to be.
It hasn’t always been this way.
A couple of years ago I found myself overweight and overwhelmed. I had a lot of crazy stressful stuff happening in my life and my Dad was really unwell after a stroke left him not even recognising his own daughter or wife. Sometimes life presents you with opportunities to sink or swim. I decided that it was time to get my health and weight under control even if the rest of my life felt like a bit of a rollercoaster. The difference this time was that I felt determined !
Getting a bit ‘bloody minded’ about what you want to change can get you going. Try to break your goals down into bite sized chunks. I decided to aim for 6 weeks of low carb, portion controlled eating with no specified amount of weight to lose. I just decided to go with it and see what would happen if I stuck to my guns. I did not deviate for the whole six weeks. No excuses. No slip ups. Just focused attention to get through that six weeks.
At the end of that time I had lost five kilos and suddenly motivation wasn’t a problem. I was on my way. Things were working and I wasn’t going to let my hard work slide away. I kept going, with a little treat here and there, for the next nine months until I got to the weight I felt happy with.
There is nothing like progress to keep you motivated and on track. Be accountable somehow to someone. Find ways to prevent self sabotage. Ask for support. Tell people what you are doing so that they don’t accidentally tempt you with things you don’t want or need. Be prepared to miss out sometimes. We are all so geared to FOMO (fear of missing out) that we can start feeling sorry for ourselves when we don’t have the ice cream after dinner. Try to change your thinking so that you see your choice as a thing to be proud of, a show of strength, a sense of control.
There are lots of great tools to help identify your goals and motivators. I’m a big fan of the “What if ?” exercise. Ask yourself a series of questions – What if I woke up tomorrow and I had achieved my goal ? What would my life look like ? How would it be different ? What would I feel like ? What would my friends and family say to me ?
If you need help sorting through the mental and physical obstacles which are stopping you from reaching your goals ask for some help. Getting clarity about what you want and how to achieve it is the first step towards a healthier, happier, more confident you.