One of the hardest things to maintain over this time has been my motivation – we all get caught in the same trap and it is often the periods where our motivation is at its lowest that our resolve comes undone & we go back to old patterns.
..know this; you’re not alone!
Motivation is not a constant; it comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. We just need to remember that whilst it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently…it does come back! Motivation is at the heart of all of our action – so our success or failure depends on it. Getting to know what triggers your own motivation; understanding and acting upon it, is the key to moving towards your goal.
I know it seems impossible at times – there are days where you feel mentally, physically & emotionally exhausted – and don’t really feel like doing anything. I’ve been there many times and in fact find that to be my biggest struggle. Some days I give in, but most days I try to find ways to break out of the slump. Decisions are everything – I constantly remind myself to appreciate my decisions; it’s the only real control I have. One of the things that has helped me is having a heightened awareness of those things that kill my motivation and trying to develop a set of tools to combat them – I’m not successful 100% of the time, but I’m heaps better, to the point where it does not undo the hard work I have done.
As I have mentioned before in my blog, I have suffered from depression for most of my adult life. It is a much misunderstood illness and one that people struggle to understand that I have; generally I’m a loud, funny & positive person – so my symptoms seem incongruent with my personality. All may be going well, and then it will hit me like a steam-train out of nowhere…no warning, no flashing lights – just a brick wall of sadness and paralysis. I go from being an extrovert, to a frightened turtle retreating into its shell overnight – and even I struggle to comprehend what has happened. But as painful as it is, depression can become comfortable – you know what to expect, for the most part. As you hide under your doona, you sink into familiarity; you know the pain, you’re in the pain, you can safely bet that tomorrow will be more of the same. But it’s not hopeless: I have learned that with some small steps, you can get started down the road to positive change…as scary as it is at the time. Exercise & a healthy diet has actually made a marked improvement – and although it hasn’t cured it, my episodes are far fewer and my bounce back is much quicker. We just need to step out of our comfort zone more often…
The idea of stepping out of this comfort zone, any comfort zone comes with its own set of fears and dread. There’s a good chance whatever we are experiencing will come with anxiety, because anxiety accompanies uncertainty. We need to stop constantly beating ourselves up, and instead try using the same encouraging words we might use for a friend or loved one, turning to your external supports; people, places or things that lift your spirit & nourish your potential.
I am blessed with a loving partner, good friends, workmates & trainers who will often lift me up when I’m feeling down on myself. As you know, I was blessed just over 3 months ago with a wonderful gift from Travis & his amazing team at Result Based Training – they have embraced me into the RBT family and are a daily source of support & inspiration for me. To date, I have lost a total of 31 kilos! My mentor Nik, has been with me every step of the way – through all the ups and downs, the tears and laughter. I asked him about the concept of motivation, and here is what he had to say:
“Maria has asked me to write about motivation. Nothing specific, no terms or requirements of what should be in this, but just about motivation. Well to be honest I needed to find the motivation to even write this. I’ve certainly been procrastinating about it but I sit here now with a change of mindset, a shift, wanting to finish this piece for her.
Motivation is something that we all have inside of us. Often we have it in patches, maybe a bit higher on a Monday morning then it is on a Friday afternoon, but it is a commodity that we can all internally draw from.
So if it’s always there then why isn’t it we are motivated all the time? Why is it that we don’t just achieve every single thing we put our mind to every single time we do it?
I’ll use Maria’s experience as an example. She always had the motivation to do something about her weight, maybe not everything at times but certainly something. And this is something we can all relate too. But what Maria has now is clarity. It took her years to get to this point, years of torment, years of self talk both positive and negative, and years of having an idea of what to do change her life. It also took the extreme trigger of losing her parents to know that she had to do something. Clarity allows us to know. Clarity has no distortion. Those with clarity know what they want and therefore find it easier to draw from that motivation inside.
I ask Maria the same question I ask myself when I need to find motivation and I’ll ask you the same, ‘What’s your why?’ What is the reason why you get up out of bed? What is the the reason why you exercise? What is your reason why you do what you do?”
The one thing I always go back to is remembering why I started; I will often go back and read over my blog from the beginning, to bring to life how I felt only a few short months ago…it gives me the opportunity to take time to sit back and be proud of what I’ve done. Seeing how far I’ve come gives me a sense of purpose and strengthens my resolve to keep pushing on. If you are struggling to feel motivated, try finding inspiration from others – inspiration for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I often chat to others at the gym, read other people’s blogs, books, magazines, even Google my goal and read success stories. I think about my goal every day, and the decisions that I make each day are all based around it. If you commit to doing things to further your goal every single day, you will definitely see it getting closer and closer…
I remind myself every day to just stick with it – “Whatever you do Maz, don’t give up,” So even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up – the motivation will come back. The goal of health is a long journey, and lack of motivation is just a little bump in the road – not failure. I keep reminding myself to ride out the down times, and surf on the flows, and I’ll get there. Focus on the benefits, not the difficulties. I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by how hard it is – eating right and exercising is hard – sometimes just thinking about it makes me tired lol. But, instead of thinking about how hard something is, I think about what I will get out of it – how good I’ll feel when I’m done, and how I’ll be healthier and fitter in the long run…Try killing those negative thoughts & replacing them with positive ones; turn “This is too hard!” to, “I can do this! It sounds cheesy, but it works. Really.
Having been a big, unhealthy woman for most of my life, I always longed to be like my smaller, healthier, fitter counterparts. I let my envy of the lives they led, poison my desire to be like them – “Love me for what I am”, was my motto, and it led me to cutting off my nose more than once! I focussed my energy on being a victim of ‘not having’, to the point that I forgot to do what’s important. It still haunts me; I find a moment in every day that I am envious of people who are thinner, fitter, stronger, prettier, sexier, more disciplined than me…but envy is no fun at all. It’s the thing that tricks us into thinking we’re never enough; it tricks us into wanting everything but the things we have; it makes us want all the talents but our own – and makes us think that we should feel bad about ourselves because we haven’t done enough. And then in the ultimate irony, we lose motivation & give up…how can we be motivated to build our own lives when they’re so hopelessly inferior?
But that is where I have changed my perception; I now look up to and admire those that I used to envy; I allow their knowledge, success & passion to drive me – I’ve replaced being envious, with feeling pride & taking action. I’ve replaced my excuses, procrastination & over-thinking with actually getting off my ass and changing my behaviour. Action not only gets things done, it also brings with it a wisdom that’s not available through just thinking about it. When you practice something & it becomes a habit, you get a true feel for it – when you do something new you learn & feel things that you couldn’t have unless you tried. Begin now. Do one tiny thing to be healthier today. Tomorrow do another. Soon you’ll be so far along you will have forgotten what that kind of inactivity is like. Stop wishing, and start doing!
The journey continues my friends!
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