I’ve had the “motivation” conversation with quite a few people recently and thought I’d make a quick blog post about it.
Several people have commented on my motivation and determination to stay the course with P90X and my nutritional regiment. Some have said they simply lack the motivation while others have made remarks about how I have motivated them to do something (and believe me, I’m humbled, honored, and flattered by this). I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum myself and have lived both sides.
Here is what I tell people:
Engage that little voice in your head that says “do it.”
We all know that exercise and healthy eating will add value and time back to our lives. We know that doing these things consistently will improve our quality of life. As talked about in The Slight Edge, doing things consistently to improve ourselves will eventually cause changes for the good.
But life gets in the way. Work gets you stressed. You get injured. You miss a day, or eat bad a day, and start beating yourself up. I’m a realist; I know all of these things happen. I’m amazed at how easy it is to simply stop, to quit exercising, quit eating right, and return to bad habits. I did it for the last 40 days of 2010. I’m not perfect, and I embrace that. You should to!
But what kept me focused was that little voice, always beckoning in the back of my head: “Do it.”
Do the things that make you healthy. Do the things that improve you. Move that little voice from being a whisper to yelling at you. I’ve told people the voice is just there, but when I look in the mirror, it gets louder. And it does: I look in the mirror and I do not see what I want to see. So I train. I eat right. I make as many good decisions as I can.
So now, let’s talk about how to engage that voice:
1. What is it that is going to motivate you to make a change?
For me, it became many things. Diabetes runs in my family, as does obesity. I’ve seen what a lot of extra weight can do to your body. I decided I did not want those things in my life. I decided that I was young enough to make a difference (made this decision when I was 28, and I’m only 30 now). I knew I could break that generational curse. If I could make a difference in my life, my example would shine through to my kids.
And, I was embarrased by how I looked. Clothes did not fit well. Extra large shirts were beginning to get tight. I hated going to the pool. It started affecting how I saw myself.
Yes, I’m a bit image conscious, and maybe more than you. But it was being aware of my image and what I thought of myself that helped give me the push.
And that’s when the voice started. “Do it.”
So what is going to motivate you to get that voice? Do you have kids? Get that voice. Do you have family struggling with health? Get that voice. Do you want better self-esteem? Get that voice. Do you want your clothes to fit better, or to have more clothes that fit you well? Get that voice.
Take some time now to write down what you want to change. Keep it in front of you.
2. Now picture your body the way you want it
Women sometimes get a bad rap for being to image-conscious. Well, sometimes that can be a great thing. What we have to learn is how to take that image that we see of ourselves and be realistic with it as well as know what it is going to take to get there.
So go look in a full length mirror. I suggest getting as undressed as you can and still feel comfortable. Take an honest look at you now, and then picture your body the way you want it. Picture your body, not someone elses. Do you want a flatter stomach? Toned, defined arms? Slimming hips and legs? More shape? Less shape?
Keep this image of what you want to see in your head. Know what it is you want to accomplish. Hear that voice saying “do it” a bit louder every time you look in the mirror.
3. Put a plan into action
I love blind enthusiasm. I love people just jumping into things (as a friend of mine says, instead of “Ready, Aim, Fire!” it is just “Ready, Fire!”). This promotes action. But, at the same time, it can also promote failure by not having a plan in place to achieve your goals.
First and foremost, find something that is going to work for you. Find what you can do for exercise, and do it. And if you need help with that, contact me. Find what you need to eat to achieve your goals. Make a plan for your meals, and always plan ahead.
The plan is key here. When I started exercising to lose weight in early 2009, I went to the gym at work and simply hopped on a bike, an elliptical, or a treadmill, thinking only cardio would accomplish the goal. Guess what happened: I got burned out. Quickly. I slowly cut down the days I was going, and then I just quit.
Don’t do what I did. Make a plan. Find something that makes a plan for you. The one thing that I think Beachbody does better than anyone else is they lay it all out for you. They nearly dummy-proof the entire concept of eating right, exercising, and getting healthier.
But if that’s not for you, make your own plan.
4. Action time
Planning does not need to take days or weeks. The longer you plan, the less likely you are to start. A solid plan can be made in 1-2 days without any direct help. Jump into action as soon as the plan is made.
Then, write this down as your main goal: “I will not quit until I succeed, and then I will not quit to maintain my health.”
Quitting is easy. Society makes quitting easy. But don’t quit. No matter what, do something. Hear that voice all the time saying, “do it.” Remember that image of your body you have in your head? “Do it.” Remember the mirror? “Do it.”
Keep that voice in your head, and have it continually talking to you. Engage that voice, engage your reasons, and engage your vision. Remember, that voice is the one thing that may separate you from a healthy life and the life you could be living (or continue to live).