Updated: Dec 20, 2020
"Why do I keep sabotaging myself?” "Why can't I stay motivated!?"
"How do I stay motivated and on track?"
"How do I build more motivation?"
"How do I stay motivated?"
Anyone who has struggled with food and their weight, have likely found themselves bouncing back and force, being on track then off track, having good days and then bad days. Motivation can seem easy at the start. You get excited about the prospect of living your life different, faced with a new bright and shiny solution, diet plan or programme. You think; “this time it’s going to be different”. However, once familiarity sets in, you get bored, distracted or things start to get tough you find yourself looking for the next shiny object or even self-sabotaging. It suddenly becomes much easier to just give up as your motivation and focus have quickly disappeared and you feel all consumed by the problems you so desperately want to get away from!
Getting control over your own motivation is one of the KEY ingredients to maintaining the consistency that you need for real progress and long-term health, confidence, happiness and success.
Here are 7 ways to ensure that you build the right motivation which only gets stronger over time. Follow these steps to increase motivation:
1. Take responsibility
The very first thing to know is that the only person who can get you ‘back on track’ and ‘refocused’ is YOU. You must take full responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This does NOT mean blaming yourself, but understanding that you are the one in control and you are the decision maker of your life. You have all the power!
2. Clear on your WHY
When you first decide to make a change in your life what do you normally start with? The thing you want to change right, i.e. what you want to change. Then you usually think about HOW you are going to do it, i.e. what approach, solution or treatment plan. However, you may be missing the KEY ingredient of knowing your WHY. This is your purpose, your core reason for making the change. As Simon Sinek says, “start with why”. When motivation dips if your why is SO strong nothing can distract you. Focus on your why first, before moving onto how and finally end with what. This inside-out approach ensures you stay motivated EVEN when time gets tough.
3. Set slight edge goals
What goals are you setting yourself? When we set ourselves goals which are too ‘big picture’ this can easily lead to overwhelm, procrastination and avoidance. You must break it down into smaller, achievable goals, all of which are focused on moving you a few steps closer to where you want to be. I call these slight edge goals, which have the purpose of nudging you closer and closer to the big picture goal. If you ask yourself; “what 3 things could I do today that will nudge me closer to where I want to be?” Then do this consistently.
4. Focus on what you want
What is your main motivator? Is it something you don’t want? For example, I don’t want to put on weight, I don’t want to be like this anymore or I don’t want to feel anxious. You feed what you focus on. The brain cannot process a negative, so by continuously focusing on what you don’t want, you are actually bringing more of this into your life. More weight, more of the same, more anxiety. Start to focus on what you want instead in these moments. For example, I want to get fit and healthy, I want to change, I want to feel calm and relaxed.
5. Use the right type of motivation
There are two kinds of motivation; ‘towards’ (something you want e.g. I want to feel sexy and confident) and ‘away-from’ (something you don’t want e.g. I don’t want to put on weight).
Away from motivation can be good to get you started, but this is not sustainable. It has no direction except ‘GET AS FAR AWAY FROM THIS AS POSSIBLE”. Your motivation will run out once you get far enough away. It is also stressful! Trying to avoid something activates the flight or fight response which leaves you in a state of constant anxiety and stress. Again, this leaves you exhausted and drained.
If this is all you have, you will keep having to think of unpleasant stuff, which by focusing on, can actually move you closer towards it rather than further away. Start thinking about what you want instead. This means you have direction which can build over time. Focus on how you want to think, feel and act instead and remember that what you pay attention to grows.
6. Learn to handle the fear
Often we lose motivation when we start to fear change. For example, wanting to let go of food restriction is often met with a fear of weigh gain. This can hold you back and keep you stuck in the pain you originally wanted to get away from. Here are some questions to stamp out that fear:
What will happen if I don’t change?
What won’t happen?
If I had to be this way forever how would I feel?
What’s really at stake if nothing changes?
7. Celebrate the little wins
No matter how big or small celebrate every little win along the way. Your brain cannot tell the difference between getting to the top of the mountain i.e. reaching your big picture goal and getting 3 steps up the mountain. The response in your mind and body is exactly the same.
When you imagine achieving your goals you should get a visceral reaction - where you feel the excitement in your body. That’s the intensity of emotion that you need to overcome those inevitable challenges you’ll face along the way.
So think big, focus on what you WANT (not what you don't want) and get after it! If you’ve been struggling to find balance with food and your body If you’ve been on the wagon off the binge, restrict wagon If you find yourself frustrated, confused, or simply going round in circles… Then you have a choice. Do what you have always done, get what you have always got! Or do something different! Fuel your thoughts and your activities with what you DO want instead of escaping want you DON'T want.
NEED SOME HELP?
If you know you are falling victim to stress, your emotions or engaging in self-depreciating behaviour ( emotional eating, food restriction, binge eating, alcohol) and feel stuck and out of control book in a private 1:1 call with me and start to take back some control over your life.
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