Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated

file_000-76For some people, staying motivated in a new lifestyle is difficult. I read about it or hear about it on Facebook almost daily. Everyone who sets out with the best of intentions to get fit or healthy often faces moments of doubt and weakness. I have faced down these doubts and had to learn to push through them.

How I get through them may or may not work for everyone. We all have our reasons for wanting to get healthy (mine have been posted here often) or wanting to get fit, and as varied as those reasons are, so are the motivations behind them. Further, the way we face down the obstacles to our success is as unique as we are. I use my determination and set my mind on a goal and I don’t quit until I reach it. I am very single-minded when it comes to my goals, and I will easily forego any distraction to reach my goal. This doesn’t work for everyone, however.

Some people analyze the obstacle and  formulate a detailed strategy to overcome it. Others pretend the obstacle isn’t there and keep pushing onward. Then there are those who let the obstacles get the better of them and feel crushed under the weight of the pressure to succeed. Regardless of the method, people who successfully stay motivated persevere and get past the difficulties and harness the success instead of concentrating on the challenge.

In my experience, success has come when I set my mind to a goal but allow myself to fail. Heck, I expect it. I tell myself that I will lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date, yet there’s this little voice in the back of my head that says, “And if you don’t make that date, it’s completely okay. Just keep working until you do.” It seems to work for me. I’ve met a few goals and passed the date on a few others. The one thing I never did was quit.

Another thing that has helped me is to focus on the many different data points that are all measures of my progress. Most people look to a scale to gauge their progress in a healthy lifestyle. This is a mistake. There are so many things to consider, many of which will provide feedback when other areas are stalled. Some of these are:

  • Your body measurements (waist and shirt sizes). When your pants begin to feel looser, you’re making positive progress.
  • Your blood work/physical results. It’s hard to argue with improving blood chemistry.
  • How you feel. Eating healthier and exercising has positive effects on the body and the mind.
  • Your appearance. Your body will begin to reconfigure. Three months after I began running, I have started noticing my body getting leaner and the loose skin I have from my weight loss is getting tighter very quickly.

Look for the positives and harness them. The positives are your successes, and as long as you keep your mind on them, you will find it easier to keep yourself motivated.

If all else fails, fake it. When I first started running, I disliked it. After a few runs, I had an internal dialogue with myself and I decided that I needed to change my attitude about running to become more successful at it while I was building the habit to run regularly. I decided to fake it until I actually liked it. The crazy part? It worked! I now enjoy running, and often I find myself smiling while running when I realize how easy it is for me now.

Find your motivation. Work on it. If you find yourself demotivated or lacking in motivation, talk to someone. Talk to a friend, family member, or reach out and talk to someone online. Heck, feel free to message me! Don’t wallow in it, and don’t let your doubts or lack of motivation consume you.

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