Nobody likes a flake. They are hard to rely on and you can almost never trust them to do what they say they’ll do because they don’t have a history of showing up. Sadly, we are sometimes the flakiest person we know. It’s not that we flake out on everyone else around us, but that we flake out on ourselves. On our dreams, our goals, and our deepest desires. Maybe it’s the fear of failure that stops us in our tracks or maybe it’s because we keep waiting for motivation to come knocking on our door.
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you will NEVER feel motivated…that is not until you decide to do something about your current situation.
Motivation is like a muscle. The more reps you do, the stronger the urge or the feeling of motivation becomes. The problem is, we often wait to do anything until we feel like it.
Why is motivation so hard to come by? Because we are rarely ever excited about change. Even if we know that the change will be good for us, it’s still hard.
You’ve got to draw a line in the sand and decide you’re done with where you are and then take the next step. That one small action of going against the grain, doing something different sets off a chain reaction in your mind. It’s the wake up call you’ve been waiting for.
With that one action, you begin to feel more empowered, have more belief in yourself, and you eventually get hooked on the feeling of being there for yourself.
Think about it, if you had a friend that was notorious for flaking (let’s be real, we’ve all had them…maybe we were that friend) you would eventually lose faith they would actually follow through, and stop trying all together. Sound familiar? Hello New Year’s resolutions I’m talking to you..
We start to believe and feel the same way about ourselves when we are constantly starting a new diet or workout program and only stick with it for a few days before we go back to our old ways. I’m not at all saying that’s your fault. In fact, I think it’s the other way around. The diet and fitness industry is to blame. The major focus on weight lost and muscles popping doesn’t leave much room for variety. We’re taught fitness and health look a certain way, but we aren’t really ever talking about the dark side of what it takes to reach that ‘ideal body’. So time and time again we set out on the same journey to lose the same 15-30 pounds, using the same method, getting the same result. No wonder, motivation is lacking.
The more you show up, the more motivated you are. Especially when you are not so focused on the immediate results–they take time.
So, you don’t have a good record of showing up for yourself…
Let me guess, you’re usually the one that shows up for everyone else, but have a much harder time showing up for yourself. It’s so much easier to keep our word to others because we dont’ want to let them down or disappoint.
We might also find it easier to show up for others more than ourselves if we don’t value ourselves enough to see we are worth investing in too. Low self-esteem was the culprit of my dreams for years. I didn’t feel worthy of my goals or dreams, and as a result it was easier to just not show up than face the painful feelings of not being ‘enough’.
If you’ve ever attempted to s set and reach personal goals before, but have always failed you can start to feel defeated, tired of letting herself down, and you may start to wonder what’s the point. So it just becomes easier NOT show up.
Here’s why you’re not showing up for yourself like you do everyone else.
Guilt, shame, people pleasing. These are all major reasons we have a hard time staying consistent when it comes to creating habits we know will move us in the direction we want to go.
First thing to learn is that it’s OK to prioritize what you want for yourself. Especially understanding that it usually makes you better for everyone and everything else you are doing in life. It’s not selfish or sinful to make your goals important enough to show up for.
Sometimes we put off showing up for ourselves because we think we have time. This is one of the reasons I’ve gone from setting annual goals to focusing on a smaller number of goals to hit in 12 weeks. You have to create a sense of urgency and desire for your dreams, goals, and vision. No one else will for you, and no one else will make it important, you have to do that for yourself. This means putting your goals in your calendar and scheduling the time to take the necessary action. So, if you’re set on creating healthier habits–like eating better or working out/ moving your body more you have to create the space in your planner and your schedule for it to actually happen.
Then you have to hold yourself to it. Just like any other important appointment or meeting.
Whether you know it or not, you hold deeply rooted beliefs about yourself, others, and the way the world ought to be or about the way the world is. These beliefs are hard to break and it’s impossible to get rid of the part of your brain that holds these beliefs–the subconscious.
The good news? You can learn from your subconscious and even begin to harness its power. But you have to be willing to do the work. Reaching your health and fitness goals are about the mindset and your thoughts about yourself, food, exercise, just as much as it’s about actually doing the workouts or choosing to eat healthier. Make sure your mind isn’t the thing sabotaging all your efforts in your workouts or your diet.
You know what you should be doing to get healthier , but you just can’t make yourself do it
For most of us, we know exactly what we need to do in order to create a healthier mind, body, and soul. But we still don’t do it. The typical way we are taught to create healthier lives is usually through adding in more food rules, more exercise (that we may not even like), and doing it perfectly.
Think about all the times you’ve told a kid NOT to touch something and how much stronger the urge gets almost immediately to touch that thing. We are the same way.
As soon as you tell your brain carbs are off limits and bad for you. What do you think about? Carbs. And eating them. All day long. Or if you decide you have to cut out sugar in order to lose those last 10-15 pounds it seems like sweets are everywhere and even harder to resist than usual.
Of course I don’t think you *have* to cut either of those things out or anythign else you enjoy eating. But I do think you need to become more aware of your choices and why you’re making them. I do believe in self- control, moderation, and discipline. Those are the backbones to reaching your fitness goals this year and any other year. However, those often get confused with food rules and restriction. They are not the same thing. The difference? The heart behind it. You’ve got to become good at discerning your heart and your internal motivations behind every action you take. This is the piece of the health and fitness puzzle that seems to be missing from every other workout program or meal plan on the planet.
We usually don’t have a knowledge problem when it comes to our health. We have an implementation problem.
With a simple google search you can come up with diets, workouts, and meal plans all promising the body of your dreams. You’ve probably even tried a handful of them a time or two.
More information isn’t going to help you feel motivated to take action. You need to understand why the things you’ve tried haven’t worked in the past. This way you can learn from those past experiences and figure out what adjustments you can make moving forward.
What if I’m too busy to commit to working out and eating better?
We make time for what’s truly important to us. Plain and simple. The things we value are the things we follow through on. It’s ok to acknowledge you may value comfort over pushing yourself. We all do. But at some point you will either have to lean into the pain of change or live with the pain of regret. I used to feel too busy too. I would put my workouts off until the end of the day, and most of the time they wouldn’t happen. Or I would say I’ll start eating better, and wouldn’t actually take any steps towards making that a reality.
Not only did I not feel good in my skin at that point, but I also didn’t feel good about how I was showing up in the world around me. Your body isn’t the end all be all. And there are goals more worthy than weight loss or fat loss that is for sure. However, when I finally started showing up consistently to take care of myself my whole demeanor changed. I started to believe in myself again–or perhaps for the first time ever. It was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone through exercise and nutrition that I started to see my confidence rise. I became more courageous in other areas as well–regardless of what was happening on the outside.
Why it’s so much harder to create ‘good or healthy’ habits
We are hard wired for pleasure and comfort. Instant gratification will lure us in every single time unless we are intentional about exercising self- control or discipline. Im not 100% against seeking pleasure and comfort at times, but to give into those desires and temptations all the time ins’t going to lead anywhere good–mentally, emotionally, or physically. There’s a sweet spot that lives right in the middle of rules and restriction aka diet culture and have whatever you want-whenever you want it anti-diet culture.
I don’t see self control and restriction in the same category. One is helpful, the other isn’t.
The ‘bad’ habits come easier because they are usually the ones hitting the reward center in our brains. That’s why its often easier to grab for the bag of chips or the tub of ice cream than it is for the apple or the carrot.
At first you will have to manually override your urge for intstant gratification. Holding onto the vision and the goals you’ve set for yourself is one powerful way to do this. The more you do this, the easier it becomes. It does take sacrifice. It does take discipline. It will take you actively choosing to do the harder thing time and time again. But it does get easier.
Keep yourself in check though. Stay curious and ask why you’re making the decision you are at that moment. Is it out of punishment or from the dieting perspective? Or are you making those choices to soothe and comfort yourself in a way that may actually be doing more damage than good. Eating your feelings only solves the problem temporarily.
“Life happened and now I have to start all over..”
Life gets in the way. There will never be a way around that. There have been so many times I set out to start a new diet or a new workout program in the past only to get sick or to have one of my kids sick. It threw me off. I was unable to keep going because I wasn’t able to follow the rules perfectly.
Trying to follow diet rules or workout programs you don’t like is really only a recipe for disaster. When we can’t follow the rules and we haven’t formed new habits to replace the old ones it is so easy to slip back into our old patterns and routines. Instead of creating more rules around food or exercise, create new habits. Habits will stick no matter what life throws at you.
How to get more motivated without flaking out on yourself:
Strategies to start showing up for yourself consistently to help you create habits and reach your goals.
- Do the work to figure out what your deep seeded beliefs or thoughts are about yourself, food, your body, exercise. Usually in this busy, fast paced life we just go through the motions day after day even if they aren’t producing the results we want. It’s time to wake up, sister! Start asking yourself WHY you just did what you did.
- Pick 1-2 things to work on at a time. Make them small changes, and action items that make you feel excited inside. If you pick things that bring up feelings of fear, anxiety, or dread, you’re not going to be very motivated to stick with it. So pick things that make your heart leap with joy. Even in the action items seem small and insignificant. Remember, you’re simply trying to build trust in yourself and your ability to follow through and create a new, healthier habit.
- Create a schedule or routine. You have to schedule those actions from step 2 into your calendar or they won’t happen. LIfe will get in the way. You won’t feel motivated in the beginning, so you have to rely on discipline and desire at first. You have to create the motivation to stick it out by action. Treat these commitments with yourself as important appointments that cannot be broken–just like you would if the appointment were with someone else. If you schedule time to move at 11 am, then that is when you are going to move your body even if you don’t feel like it, at least at first. You can work on creating more flexibility later. For now, you need to build the habit of showing up for yourself.
- Motivation boils down to discipline, action, and commitment. The more consistent action you take, the more motivated you will feel. Staying consistent will require discipline at first. Which can be uncomfortable or feel restrictive in some ways. Keep your eye on the prize–what do you want that you don’t currently have? Remember: You will never feel motivated until you commit to taking action each and every day. That means taking action even when you don’t feel like it.
- Focus on creating new habits that will fuel the healthier lifestyle you want to create for yourself instead of following rules. It’s important to emphasize the importance of creating habits you know will move you in the direction of you want to go and that align with your values and priorities. If you try to set goals or create habits that don’t align with your core values or the things you truly value, you will have a hard time sticking with them.
- Have fun. This is often overlooked when it comes to working on our fitness goals or any goal for that matter. But this might be the most important tactic of them all. If you’re not having fun while you’re reaching your goals, you’re doing it wrong.
Don’t let this information sit on ice. Do something with it starting today. Take one small action before you feel motivated. Then keep going. Commit yourself to showing up and start thinking like the version of yourself you want to be now. Work on creating motivation from within and you will be unstoppable.
What is one thing that helps you stay motivated even when you don’t feel it?
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