I recently put a post up on Facebook asking what the biggest challenges were in succeeding with your health and fitness journey.The response was huge and the comments and questions are still coming in!
It was fascinating to see how people all over Australia have similar barriers to success when it come to achieving their health and fitness goals.
One of the main things mentioned was ‘motivation’ which is what I want to look at today in more detail.
Motivation is a very personal thing, what motivates some people can be very different to what motivates others, but I believe there are two very clear aspects to motivation that need to be recognized separately if you are to succeed long term with staying ‘motivated’.
The first type of motivation is the thing you hear or see that makes you want to get out there and go for a run or eat better – it could be watching a movie, seeing someone’s transformation online or even just deciding for yourself it’s time to make a change. You know what I am talking about, when you are filled with energy and promise yourself that ‘this is the time’ and you are going to start ‘fresh’ and knock it out of the park!
This type of motivation is great to start with but it can also disappear very quickly and when it goes away it can be replaced with feelings of guilt and failure as you have gone from ‘I’m going to do this’ to ‘I can’t do this’ in a very short space of time which can also be very de-motivating!
I believe that whilst that initial burst of motivation (or inspiration is probably more accurate) can be useful you need a motivation strategy that will work long term and in my experience the only thing that does this is PROGRESS and RESULTS based on having a challenging but achievable GOAL (preferably that is written down somewhere you can see it!).
How amazing do you feel when you have tried on your jeans after a week of eating well and they fit so much better than they did a week ago, THAT’s the kind of motivation that keeps your on track and focused on your goal. Small steps are the key and keeping your goal achievable and broken up into small bits is also important….. you might have a goal of losing 5KG but that’s not going to happen in a week so break it down into smaller bits and say ‘for the next 4 weeks I am going to lose half a kilo a week’ and then set my next mini goal… by focusing on the small goals and the process you are more likely to stay motivated and on track.
It works the same if your goals are fitness related…. When I started doing pull ups I could only do a couple, but I set myself a goal of doing one more every week, today I can do about 15 of them consecutively but the point is that had I tried to get to 15 in the second week I would have given up and considered myself a failure (and probably gone and eaten some chocolate!)
Nothing will motivate you more than slowly achieving your goals in a sustainable way and having small wins during your journey. I have worked with many amazing women who have achieve incredible transformations and they all have a couple of things in common – firstly they all had a really compelling reason to want to change in the first place and secondly they all accepted it was going to be a journey with lots of small wins along the way rather than a sprint with dramatic results.
It’s also really important to accept that you are going to fall off the wagon during the journey but that doesn’t mean that you throw away all your good work to date – we all have had those days when things go wrong and next thing you know there is an empty packet of Tim Tams on the table in front of you…. That’s OK – just move on, you don’t need to start again because your journey shouldn’t have a beginning and an end….. remind yourself why you started in the first place and make the next day a good one!
Being inspired by someone else or something you see is a great way to start but I believe that real long term motivation only comes from inside when you put to work the real power and drive that we all have inside us and start to see some progress and results.
That’s the real secret to staying motivated!
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