Motivation. Oh man, motivation. Lack of motivation is one of the worst feelings to have. Like spinning your tires in the mud or trying to swim with no air. You desire one thing but fail to go through the motions of getting there. You know what I’m talking about. It is common to struggle with finding motivation every day.
I’ve accomplished amazing things with one of my struggles: I lost 150lbs in 16 months and have kept it off. It wasn’t easy and almost impossible without figuring out ways to keep me motivated, but I still have to fight every day to find it. The motivation for me to lose weight was to be able to fight in the SCA, Society for Creative Anachronisms. I knew I couldn’t do it at 330lbs so I had to change my eating habits, workouts had to be a thing now and my mindset had to completely change.
Right now I don’t even want to be writing. Why? I have more than enough subjects to write about and it doesn’t exactly take an extraordinary amount of effort to sit and type. Why is it ‘easier’ to tell yourself no and not go through with it instead of just making the decision to accomplish something?
It takes almost the same amount of time and in the long run, most of the time the same effort. Is it because we’re afraid of failing? Or is it that we’re afraid of doing better than we thought therefore adding more responsibility and raising the bar? No matter what is holding us back in finding our motivation I’ve used these tricks in helping get my butt moving – whether it be writing a blog or getting my sweat on in the gym.
Benchmarking for Comparison
When you start on any journey such as getting in shape or working on a talent, make sure to take note of your starting point. Metrics are important. Take pictures of everything along with measurements and any other number or way to keep track of progress. Don’t beat yourself up over your starting point, just use it to motivate you to be a tiny bit better every day. It won’t come in handy right away, but as you continue your journey it will aid in motivating you to push harder and compete with your past self.
And when you feel yourself starting to slip, because we ALL slip, you can look and compare where you’ve come from.
One step further:write two lists. One list of current things you cannot do and another list of some things you’d love to do when you reach your end goal. For example, when I wanted to lose weight tying my shoes was something I could not do and being able to run a 5k was something I’d love to do. All of these lists help keep things in perspective.
Goals and Finding Your Motivation Mindset
Always have goals. Even if you start out super small. One blog a week or 20 minutes in the gym every other day or fight practice once a week. Set yourself small and attainable goals and put a reminder everywhere.
I have small notes left on white boards everywhere. This way the end goal doesn’t seem so impossible and intimidating. I found setting weekly and then a monthly goal does the best for me. The secret is to make these goals hard enough to push yourself but easy enough to achieve them, which will build your confidence.
When working towards these goals, be aware of your mindset. If you don’t achieve a goal, instead of beating yourself up, you should focus on why you didn’t achieve that goal and work on it. Learn from your mistakes. Forcing yourself to put a positive spin on failures can seem cheesy at first but doing so will slowly help improve your thought process in a positive way which eases the fear of failure.
You are the only person that is going to be in your corner no matter what. Through thick and thin. Easy times and hard. You know yourself better than anyone else and you have to live with yourself.
It’s hard to admit when you have a weakness and even harder to push yourself to exploit them and use them against yourself. Know what mistakes you continually do. I snack like crazy at night on anything and everything I can get my hands on. I will start to make every excuse in the book of why it’s okay and I KNOW my resilience never lasts. So I instead force myself to be extra busy at night and throw out anything that might tempt me.
I’ll save my gym trips till later in the day and will focus on chores or even video games. Anything to keep my hands and mind busy and away from my weakness of snacks late at night.
I know that I won’t make the trip to the gym if my gym clothes are not easy accessible. So I make sure to always to pack a gym bag that’s ready to go.
I know I won’t go to fight practice if I don’t have achievable goals planned out and once again have my gear washed and ready to go. I also make sure to tell my knight and my fellow fighters when I’m going so they either go too, which means I have to go, or they help motivate me when I’m having an off day.
Know what excuses your brain easily jumps to and don’t allow it to happen.
Knowing your goals clearly and knowing your weaknesses are helpful, but sometimes following through can be difficult. When you find your focus starting to drift, firmly tell yourself NO.
Don’t let your brain start to formulate ways around your current goal. Let me hop on the computer and start to type my blog…. but I haven’t checked on Facebook in 5 minutes…. NO. I know if I end up on Facebook it will be hours later and any little motivation I had to write is now gone.
There’s always tomorrow, right? WRONG. Do it now. Don’t even give your brain a chance to think about it. Even if you need to start a mantra in your head to keep the other voices of bad habits and laziness out, you need to commit to your goal. I will go on a run now. I will go on a run now. I will go on a run now…
Always, always, always reward yourself. I mean, they even teach dogs with positive reinforcement, why not use that on yourself? Of course keep it all within the guidelines of your goal but treat it like it’s a special reward. Pushed extra hard at the gym? I found an extra delicious protein powder that I save for after a hard work out. Did some extra art work or wrote a blog? Play a video game for an hour. Know your weaknesses but also know how you can reward yourself to help motivate yourself.
Routine. Routine. Routine.
This is my biggest secret and how I’ve been able to keep up with weight loss and being active when fighting for the past year. Motivation is hard to come by and extremely fleeting. But when you get in a routine that includes time to work towards your goal it becomes easier. Almost to the point of where you start to look forward to those moments. Don’t be afraid to start out small but doing the same thing every day or even every week will prove to your brain it’s doable, you’re not going to die and before you know it you’re going to start seeing results!
I am the least motivational person I know. If I could sit in my bed all day every day reading I probably would. I’d be miserable but the urge is there. Instead I push myself every day using these tips and now I’m doing things I never would have thought possible.
Don’t limit yourself and don’t over think it. Take it one day at a time and be understanding with yourself. It’s not easy but the end result is worth it in more ways than one.
Have you found anything that spurs you into action and jumpstarts your motivation? I’d love to know and I always want to try different things to keep things new and exciting. Let me know what works for you in the comments!