The Key to Motivation

Is there such a thing? I recently had  a conversation with a health care professional.  He asked me “What is the key to getting people motivated and succeeding in their goals?”  I thought back to my own journey, as well as several clients that have made amazing changes in their lives.  It’s not a simple answer – and definitely not one answer for all – but I’ll do my best to explain!

The term “wellness” is defined as follows: 
noun
1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.
2. an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.

I believe these definitions hold very important truths.  1. It’s a deliberate effort.  2. It supports prevention vs. treatment.  Wouldn’t we all like to prevent ourselves from being overweight and unhealthy? But why is that so hard? At what point did it start to slip away from us?  Why do we wait until our health is literally failing, we’re in pain, our career is at stake (military folks), or even our LIFE is at stake?! And why the heck is the deliberate effort so hard?

My first step was to decide I wanted to change my health and accept the help that was being offered.  For me, that help was my husband.  He loved me unconditionally, but he wanted me to be healthy and happy with myself.  He was the first one to guide me into cleaner eating.  Your help may come in the form of your spouse, a best friend, your trainer, a doctor, your co-worker, etc.  

The next two steps actually happened by accident, or at least I discovered them by accident.  My husband saw my  progress and continued to encourage me.  He suggested that I participate in the military bodybuilding show that was about 6 months away.  I half-heartedly agreed to do so thinking he’d forget about it.  Instead he began telling all of our friends and his co-workers.  A few weeks later I had all kinds of people coming up to me asking when my show was and could they come watch!  My husband had done 2 things that I now believe are some of the biggest keys to getting and staying motivated

  1. Goal Setting
  2. Accountability

I had to write out a detailed plan.  I didn’t want to stand on a stage for the first time just “winging it”! I had to think through and schedule everything – what/how do I eat, what obstacles would get in my way, financial costs, workouts/posing, literally everything! I know for certain, had I not had a specific plan with a hard deadline to be in a teeny-tiny bikini, I would not have stayed on course as deliberately as I did.  I also know without a doubt that having loved ones, friends, fellow-gym goers, and yes, even those that possibly wanted to see me fail, helped me follow through to the end.  The more I become confident in my journey, the more I began vocalizing my goals to everyone I possibly could.  The more accountability I had, the more I wanted to go for it.  The more I spoke my intentions, the more real they became.  

Now, I’m not just talking about posting it on your Snap Chat or Facebook page either.  I mean audibly saying it – OUT LOUD – so that both the person you’re speaking to and you, yourself, hear each and every word!!  And saying it often in every situation possible.  It didn’t matter if we were going out to dinner or if it was bedtime.  “Sweetie, I really want to stay on track, so I’m going to order the salad with the grilled turkey strips and dressing on the side.  I’ll also only have 1 piece of bread and 1 glass of wine.  Will you help me make sure I stick to that once we get to the restaurant?” “I need to make sure I’m in bed no later than 9 tonight.  Can you please remind me about 8:45 so that I can start heading upstairs?”  Not too difficult, is it?  And more difficult to stray from your goals after having done that.  Then, after accomplishing that, you wake up feeling encouraged and motivated for making great choices the day before and ready to tackle another one.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, either does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily ~ Zig Ziglar

 

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