What do you want?
If we want to change anything in our life, be it changing what we eat, how active we are or even what job we have, we have to make the decision to change. We can dream about what we want to do/ be/ look like but without any action we are not going to make it happen.
Action takes a conscience decision. If we do not act on our hopes and dreams how do we expect to reach them? Now sometimes we may get as far as committing to action but then give up soon after. This is why we need motivation.
Motivation is what drives us to keep trying to achieve what we want. The stronger your motivation the more it can overcome. Barriers always present themselves to try stop you from getting to where you want to be. Common barriers include:
- Lack of time
- Lack of money
- Don't want to go against the grain
- Lack of support
- Perceiving the goal as being too difficult to reach
Yes, achieving your goals takes some amount of sacrifice. But a lot of the time it won't be as hard as you first expect. If you wanted to lose weight, you may think you have to eat salads and can never even look at a pizza again. This is not true. This is you perceiving that changing your nutrition is harder than it actually is. This could then stop you from making any kind of change to your diet at all.
Want to change your diet today? Have one more portion of fruit or vegetables every day. Done. That wasn't too bad was it.
How do I motivate myself?
Your motivation is like your brains engine. If its fired up it will get you to where you need to be. Things may slow you down but you will get there eventually. Motivation should come from inside you (metaphorically, don't go cutting yourself open).
Scrolling down Facebook every day and seeing amazing guys and girls flaunting muscular bodies may make some people want to achieve a physique like that. But will it actually motivate you enough to take action? Will you sign up to a personal trainer or to a gym once you've decided you want to look like that? My guess is you won't. And even worse, it could make a lot of people feel jealous and feel less motivated to take action.
To get fired up and ready to achieve your goals you must change your attitude.
Changing your attitude
First you must believe in the outcome. If you believe changing your diet will help you lose weight, then you are more likely to make the change to your diet. If you believe the process will cause the outcome you want, then it will motivate you to keep it up. If you don't believe it works why would you do it?
Don't think that you can't do it. Don't be scared of trying something new. Things usually are not as hard as your mind makes them out to be. We have all probably worried about making a fool of ourselves. But sometimes you have to just be shameless. If you walk into a gym what is the worst that could happen? You might have to ask someone how to use a machine. You may feel stupid but think about if someone asked you for help. You wouldn't look at them and think that they're stupid. You would be glad to help them, so it's no different the other way around. Also, on a side note, the gym is not just for slim people and a good diet does not mean rabbit food.
You must believe you are in control. You must realize that you make things happen. If you want to achieve anything you can't wait and hope it happens. You can't hope to lose 2 pounds this week or you can't hope you get the promotion at work. You have to actively seek the outcome you want and put the work in to get there.
Although this may seem dark, fear is a good motivator. If you don't commit to change, what could the consequences be? If you're not in a job you enjoy, the consequence is that you won't look forward to getting up on a morning and going to work. If you are overweight, the consequence of that could be you develop a disease such as diabetes or a heart condition. So, you must think about what you can do to combat these dangers.
The biggest part of motivation is called self-efficacy (luckily, I have auto-correct for that spelling). This is the belief in your own ability that you can stick to a process and see it through. If you decide you want to walk for an extra 10 minutes every day you should be confident you can do this. That makes it easy to stick to and keep up consistently. If you decide you want to run a marathon and you can't even run for 10 minutes you are not likely to stick to that goal (for the time being) since you don't believe you have the ability to achieve it. One great thing about self-efficacy is that it improves as you see results. If you are sticking to a training program and you start seeing your waist line shrink then you will want to stick to the plan to keep seeing progress.
How to make progress?
Set goals. Goal setting makes you prioritize what you want to achieve. Make sure the goal is something, measurable, has a set time limit and is realistic.
Also make sure you know what you are going to change to reach these goals. It must be something that replaces your old, bad habits and you must be able to make it part of your everyday life. So, for example, replacing watching TV on an evening to an hour’s walk would be a great change which you could easily incorporate into your life.
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take
If you try and don't succeed straight away that isn't failure. It helps you learn and improve for the next time you do it. Dieting, exercise and anything else in life is never an all or nothing approach. If you have a setback, stop, reset and carry on. Don't let one set back make you give up and stop completely.