Friday, April 19, 2013

It's Not Too Late--Motivate

Motivation at rest tends to stay at rest, and motivation in motion tends to stay in motion...unless acted on by an external force. What is that external force? It's me and you. When it comes to getting healthy and other goals, we all know in the back of our minds (if not at the forefront) that motivation plays a big part...and sometimes a lack of motivation is a big player too.

It can be tempting to slouch back in the mindset that "I haven't had the motivation up until what's the use?" when you're trying to eat healthier, exercise, lose weight, sleep better, get more energy, or achieve anything else in your health. Outside of health, the motivation we feel toward life overall often mimics how we feel about our health.

We all have Ups and Downs, but what do you do when motivation sinks a lot during the Downs? It's a tough feeling, because you can make so much progress during the "up" moments and watch it jump backward during the "down" moments. Guilt tends to bubble up as this happens, only making matters worse. When a goal once seemed clear and within reach, these slumps in energy and motivation can make every type of goal feel confusing again.

Don't worry, because it's not too late to motivate for your health and your life in general. If you want it, you can get it. How? Now that's a tricky question. Sometimes all the "How," "When," "Where," and "Why" questions can get in the way of your motivation rising naturally. If you're trying to track every step of how you'll get to your goal, you'll be less able to follow the clues that you stumble across just living life. Sometimes what can help bring motivation back into your life is to temporarily ditch the big looming questions and start with the statement "I want _________" (fill in the blank).

Next, ask yourself how much you use guilt or imposed expectations as fuel for motivation. The reason it's important to realize this is because these fuels don't burn as brightly to power your motivation. Making yourself feel guilty for things you do or don't do creates a cycle of not motivation, but of guilt. Even if you do accomplish steps toward where you want to go, you can't enjoy your healthy milestones as much when you're sharing them with guilt.

Likewise, if you're trying to motivate yourself for someone else's expectations for you, it becomes more of an uphill battle rather than a hearty challenge. Also try and recognize when your expectations for yourself are too high or burdensome.

Finally, remember that challenges will always arise when you're trying to get something you want, whether it be with health or with any other goal in life. Learning to ride the waves of ups and downs, instead of expecting all ups, will help you weather the storm and not backslide too severely in motivation when times are tough.

And when you do backslide, just remember that it's okay to fall--stand up, dust yourself off, and try it again. Remind yourself, I have it in me.

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