Motivation, we crave it and yet no matter what we do to achieve it, it always seems to slip away. Now like many of you my motivation for healthy eating, going to the gym, saving money and even shaving my legs wavers. So how do I say motivated and achieve my goals?
I am in no way consistently motivated to do anything. But that is not my fault, and it is not yours either. Motivation is simply something that comes and goes in short bursts, it's fantastic when we have it but a real drag when we don’t. This means we can’t rely on motivation to reach our goals. Instead what we want to start working on is building a strong sense of self-empowerment and good habits. Further down you may notice I have attached a PDF titled “Staying Motivated”. I created this worksheet to provide some guidance on how to reinvent yourself, build your own source of self-empowerment and construct good healthy habits, all without having to rely on pure motivation.
Now before you jump into the worksheet, let’s chat. We all want to create great, healthy lasting change in our lives, so why do we keep stopping and starting? We all know the feeling, we want a smaller waist, more money in the bank or just to feel happier. So we join a gym, we save like crazy and we read all the self-help books. I know, because I have done it all. While the motivation is high, we do really well, we are consistent for the week only to follow it with a 3-week hiatus and only return to our goals when the motivation resurges. Now we are not stupid. Deep down we know that this cycle won’t help us achieve that #instamodellife but we continue to do it. The worst part is, when that motivation does return, we beat ourselves up in attempts to make up for the time off. It’s a vicious and cruel cycle and one that just leaves us feeling disappointed and tired.
We all have goals that are important to us, so why do we keep falling off the band wagon?
I believe this is not because we don’t want to achieve our goals, but because the goals we have do not align with our values. Think about this for a moment. In the past, it has been my goal to look fit, I always wanted toned and defined abs, ones like all the health Instagram models have. Now at times I wasn’t too far off and I may have even had abs my friends envied, but I never reached my goal. The more I think about it, the more I truly believe that this is because my desired goal was not in line with my values. So if we look at my top 5 values, they are; freedom, learning and education, health and longevity, family and relations and self-care. Now while ‘health’ is one of my values, it is not tied to an image of health. For me, my value of health and longevity is really about living a long, independent, flexible and happy life. One may argue that there is a loose connection here between my desire to have abs and my health value but that is where the issue lies. A loose link is not going to be strong enough to push me out of my comfort zone and have me creating real, lasting change.
Now this doesn’t mean we will never reach our dreams of losing weight, becoming financial free or increasing your sense of happiness. It just means we need to be smarter with the way we shape our goals and make sure they align with our values. If you are unsure what your values are, please click here to check out Dr Demartini’s values determination questionnaire. This is such a great tool to determine your own incredible and unique values.
So, for me I can quite easily fit my goal of being stronger, more toned and have a high level of fitness into my health and longevity value, as by increasing these aspects of my health I will live a longer happier life. But we can link our goals to seemingly more difficult values too. Let’s take family and relationships. If we wanted to increase the strength our goal losing weight, we could phrase our new goal in a way that benefits our families and loved ones. Something like - “I want to be a good role model to my children, for my siblings, for my parents or partner, I want them to know that good health is achievable, and by having good health I will be able to spend more quality time with them.” See how we just took a weak #instamodellife goal and made it so much stronger and purposeful. By linking our goals to our values, we give ourselves purpose for action so much more meaning to the consequences. This becomes our why!
A why that is stronger than our excuses is the first step to creating our own motivation and empowerment. Once we have out why we can also test its strength with 3 quick questions; can I do it, will it work and is it worth it? If we can answer all 3 questions with a solid yes then we have found a fantastic why, and a huge reason for why we need to make these changes.
Okay, so what’s next? Be + Do = Have.
This is fun idea that I found while watching a YouTube video by Rachel Aust. Click here if you want to check it out. I love this formula, Be + Do = Have, it is so great because it really simply sums up how we can achieve our goals. Unfortunately having really isn’t as simple as wishing for it. If something is really worth having we need to work for it, and work consistently, that is were the be and do come into it. Be really refers to the way we identify ourselves, not only the way we talk about ourselves to others but the way we self-talk and describe ourselves. Do on the other hand, is the action we take. So be and do to get your have. Sounds like a simple formula, right?
We all have an important goal, one that means a lot to us even if we haven’t had a clear why until now. So why then do we keep failing to succeed? Do we need pure motivation, or is it something else? I am willing to bet that in the past we have all had obstacles get in our way. We crave motivation, is because in those moments of powerful motivation, to be and do better seem to overrule our habits. But our habits are strong, so naturally without even realising it they bubble back to the surface and before long these habits and all those obstacles send us right back to the start.
So how do we overcome those pesky obstacles? First, we need to become aware of them. For me, I know that one of the biggest things that gets in between me and my goal to become stronger and more fit, is “I’m too tired” or “I had a busy day”. Many times, in the past I have made it my goal to go to the gym on my way home from work, but after a busy day guess how often I follow through. Over time “I’ll just do it tomorrow” became my mantra and all of a sudden, my dreams of being stronger and more fit were slowing squashed. Now I’m too tired is not my only obstacle, but let’s just stick with it for now. I like the obstacle “I’m too tired”, because it is not uniquely mine, many of us share this same obstacle. So how do we overcome it?
Finding solutions to our obstacles is the next step in creating self-empowerment. It is important that we think about solutions for these troublesome obstacles before we need them, so when they do arise we have the tools to overcome them. Now I can share with you some of my solutions, but we have to remember that we are all unique, so some of the solutions that work for me may not work for you. This is where we need to sometimes get a little creative and find solutions that we can really incorporate into our lives. So when I think about my “I’m too tired” excuse some of my solutions are;
Exercising before work. 9/10 if I schedule in a work out before I head off to work I do it.
Change up my workouts. Sometimes I really am just tired, so a slower yoga session or a long walk works out better for me.
Get a gym partner. With Dave coming to the gym with me It’s almost like I can’t cheat my workout. That really is the power of accountability but I’ll come to that later.
Now these are just a few of my solutions that I have found work for me but there are so many ore out there with some that will work better than others. Now our solutions may not work all the time, we are human and things come up, but try not to beat yourself up about this. At the end of the day if our solutions are leading to greater consistency then we need to be too worried.
Okay so we have our why, we are aware of our obstacles and we have come up with solutions for these obstacles should they arise. Next step tracking. There is a reason health and fitness trackers have become all the rage at the moment. Tracking is a great tool to help us better understand our baseline, and then how much action we may take to reach our goals. In the worksheet below, I have made up a very simple tracking sheet, something that can help visualise how we have been accomplishing throughout the week. Filling out and then keeping these trackers will provide us a really great picture over time. Not only will we see all of the work that has been put in, but also seeing the frequency increase means that good habits are forming. Even tiny change over time will accumulate to something huge, and if we can make those small changes consistent, well get ready for some life changing results.
Finally, the last step is creating accountability. Now I mentioned it earlier in a way of not being able to cheat your goals and while this is important, accountability is so much more than that. By talking about our personal goals and our why, we not only tell whoever we are talking to that this goal is important, but we also confirm that with ourselves. It emphasises a sense of obligation and gives our goals and why even more power and strength. Yes, accountability can give you a good source of external inspiration and at times pressure, but if we involve the people who encourage and support us the most, we don’t only feel obligated but we are also offered a fresh perspective, are kept on track, and we have a witness to all our progress. Sometimes we can be a little blind to small results and shifting changes. Having a friend, partner, trained professional or even a sea of Instagram followers can be so powerful at encouraging us to continue working towards our goals.
Okay, so a quick recap before you jump into the worksheet. Endless motivation is a myth!We want to create self-empowerment and the steps to do that are;
Create your why, link it to your values and test it’s strength by asking… Can I do it? Will it work? Is it worth it?
Address your obstacles
Brainstorm solutions for your obstacles
Track your actions, and
Create some accountability for yourself
Finally stop praying for motivation. All you need to know is BE + DO = HAVE
Click here for the "Staying Motivated" PDF