Your alarm goes off at 4:20 a.m.
You roll over and hit snooze... AGAIN. This is the third time this week you haven't made an effort to hit the gym before work.
It's COLD. It's DARK. You were up too late last night. Your kids are being crabby. You don't have the mental capacity to talk yourself through a workout.
Next thing you know, those three missed days turn into three months away from any structured form of physical activity. You seemed to be motivated before... but where has the motivation gone???
This all happens to the best of us at one point or another. We're usually motivated to lose weight or get healthier because of a negative stimulus. AKA - you hate the way your clothes fit, you don't like the extra fluff around around your mid section, you no longer are as "fit" as your best friend, etc.
But you want to know what happens once that negative stimulus is removed?
Motivation goes away.
You finally reach your goal - fitting into the smaller pair of jeans, being able to beat your friend in that 5K, seeing a certain number on the scale...
AND THEN... you start to get a little more relaxed when it comes to the food you are putting in your mouth, you start skipping the gym to get a couple extra hours of sleep, and you begin to participate in a few two many after-work happy hours.
You were so focused.. so determined.. so what happened?
Finding your motivation from a negative stimulus (which is usually the case) is truly setting you up for disaster long term. Once the negative stimulus is removed, you no longer will be motivated. I see this happen far too often with MANY people who are trying to lose weight. They finally get to their 'goal' weight and feel GREAT, but then go back to similar unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits. The motivation was simply gone after the negative stimulus was removed.
This can really be tough and unfortunate for many reasons. First of all, if you continued to only stay motivated by a negative stimulus, do you realize how much negativity you are going to display across every area of your life? You're most likely bound to be in a very negative mood throughout your entire process of weight loss, and your family and friends aren't going to want to spend as much time with you I would assume! (you negative Nancy, you!)
The truth is, if you're only motivated by OUTSIDE things, your emotions are going to be tossed back and forth like waves in the ocean. The world is always changing... so why would you let external factors affect how you live your life? Affect if you're going to live a healthy lifestyle day to day?
How exhausting is that? You truly will never be at peace and never be happy or motivated by anything if you leave it up to the world. You need to be anchored in something. You need to first look INWARD.
I feel like my past is a prime example of letting my motivation be tossed with the waves of the world and stem from negative stimulus. In the past, in order for me to be motivated to workout and eat healthy, I almost always had to be training for something... whether that be a half-marathon, a bodybuilding competition, a Tough Mudder - you name it. I cut out processed foods, and I would grind every day and night. Nobody could get in the way of reaching my goals. I would constantly find someone to compete against, beat them, and then stake out my next goal.
I did this for years and years - in college and even after. I always needed to prove to somebody that I was enough and that I was better. And this was EXHAUSTING. I soon found that anybody can grind 24/7 for a set period of time while training for a goal, competition, or race, but honestly most of life happens outside of these 'prep trainings'. I realized that I
was motivated by the fear of not being good enough and the fear of gaining weight.
I suffered a bad back injury which put me out of the gym for almost 8 months. And you want to know what else went out the window? My nutrition. I no longer could train every day, and my motivation for just being healthy disappeared. I started binge eating, and literally just laid on the couch every day. I wasn't happy with myself or the life I was creating. And honestly, I didn't care.
Fast forward to today. After being in the health and coaching industry for almost 11 years now, I see how unbalanced people are in their fitness journeys. Many people are 'all in' or 'all out' and it fluctuates depending on their mood. It wasn't until I took a good inward look at what was going on in my soul and my mind where I found motivation that stays and doesn't leave.
It's hard to "be okay" on the inside. The world is constantly telling us that we are never enough - we need to be stronger, leaner, smarter, or more beautiful. Every tabloid talks about how to improve so many of your physical attributes, because we are visual creatures. Rarely do you see anybody talking about the 'static of your soul' and how that can affect your motivation and intentions in life. It very much can affect the directions you take in life as well.
So you want to know what's even more important than NOT hitting the snooze button at 4:20 a.m.? Taking the time to garden your soul with the healing it needs so you can attain and grow healthy desires. Motivation lies where those healthy desires are born.
It takes time. And it takes nurturing. It's what some people will call 'woo woo'... which is unfortunate because it's definitely the most important aspect of continual growth and positive change.
Your motivation needs to stem from healthy desires, from continual spiritual growth & maturity, and gardening your mind with healthy thoughts. This will lay the foundation for motivation to grow and develop deep roots that will not be ripped out easily.