We all feel it once in a while. That feeling that you're letting yourself down because you're, well, flawed. Even if you try to make little changes, somehow you manage to revert back to bad habits. Maybe your new clean eating routine goes well for a while. You definitely feel and look better for it! Then sowhere along the line, it becomes more difficult to follow. Maybe you're more stressed at work, and you find yourself reaching for a sugar hit. Sound familar? Old habits set back in and you may gain back some weight. You ask yourself, "Why do I always fall off the wagon?".
These negative thoughts won't help one bit. They won't help you reach your goals, rather they leave you feeling unworthy. Self doubt is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to staying motivated. The language in which you speak to yourself is critical to achieving anything in life. Remember, you're human! You're not flawed, not a failure and you definitely don't have to be perfect. You might compare yourself to a friend who always seems to have it together. Maybe it's someone you're secretly stalking on social media. The important thing to remember is that they have their own struggles.
Finding motivation is the first and most difficult step to making positive changes so you can succeed in your healthy routines. You can want something so badly, know exactly what you need to do, but fall short because you feel you're not strong enough to keep it up. But guess what? You’re not alone! Everyone finds it hard to establish ways to stay motivated. A healthy combo of motivation and determination is the recipe to achieving almost anything in life.
Do I have genuine self-motivation?
Ask yourself the following questions to find out if you have a foundation of confidence:
• Do you schedule your workouts and get to them no matter what?
• Do you feel excited during a tough, sweaty workout?
• Does your inner voice tell you to put down the doughnut or chips?
• Do you constantly remind yourself that you're making these healthy choices for the right reasons? Whether it be to have more energy, to feel stronger or to have a happy gut?
The key to staying motivated is similar to fuel in a car. You don't need the motivation tank to be full to drive, you just need to prevent it from running on empty! Wasting your time and energy to stay highly motivated will only end in failure. What is however, is thinking a drop in motivation is failure. But motivation has a natural rhythm! Things like weight loss and exercising more are not a linear process. Like everything in life, they can be a roller coaster, but it's up to you to enjoy the ride.
How to get motivated and keep it up
1. Discover your motivator
Motivation stems from having a goal. What is yours? Once you uncover what you want to accomplish or achieve, you’ll find that motivation will grow. Try to uncover the real reason that you want to feel better, lose weight or simply make healthier choices. Here are some possible motivators. Dig deep!
• I want to feel proud of myself
• I want to build my confidence
• I want to have more energy to keep up with the stresses in life
• I want to balance my hormones
• I want to find out if I really do have a food allergy or intolerance
• I want to improve my health through weight loss
Keep reminding yourself why you started in the first place. Repeating this motivator to yourself will get you further and further. Many people find that asking themselves the following questions help:
• If I stop making changes, what will my health be like?
• If I stop making changes, how will my home life be affected?
• If I stop making changes, how will my work life be affected?
• If I stop making changes, how will I feel in six months time?
2. Realise your motivator
Daily affirmations are key to achieving anything in life. Write down your motivator and look at it often. Each time you see it, take a moment to visualise yourself accomplishing your goal. Focussing on it will make it even more clear with each passing day. Another tip is that the more you tell people about your goal or make it public, the more drive you will have to achieve it.
3. Create the right plan
Now you need to map out exactly how you’ll achieve your goals. It's important to be practical. It's dangerous to create massive ideas that you know will be tough to stick with. Instead, set small, realistic, attainable, goals that require a proper schedule. It's in your hands to take action and make time. This way, you can always be on top of checking them off the list! Small steps add up to big changes. They're also less overwhelming and not as scary as you thought!
4. Get the right support
Goin back to making your goal 'public'. Sometimes friends, family and even colleagues can be the best supporters. For example if you're trying to exercise more often, a friend who is aware will suggest going for an evening run together. By being open about your goals, you’ll likely be an encouragement to others!
5. Go easy on yourself
Being hard on yourself is one of the most dangerous bad habits. Remember that everyone has a few off days here and there. It's okay! Just pick yourself back up and keep going on the healthy routine you first established. If you feel thrown off course, go back to creating small steps. This will help you get to the point where you left off.
If you notice that your motivation is waning, give yourself a break from working on your goals for a couple of days. The problem with motivation is that the more people try to master it, the more elusive it becomes. By allowing motivation to run it's natural course, you'll stay on track.
6. Apply in other parts of your life
Practice sticking with commitments you've made in other areas of your life too. This helps strengthen the idea that you can keep a personal goal. Whether it's cleaning out a closet or paying off student debt, your overall promises will fuel confidence in other areas of your life!
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Read next: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others