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The Myth of Motivation

Once upon a time there was a woman…let’s call her Sally (forgive me if your name is Sally I use this as my pseudo person name a lot). Sally needed to lose weight. Sally wanted to be fit and healthy. But she just couldn’t get MOTIVATED. She couldn’t get motivated to get to the gym. She couldn’t get motivated to workout at home. Sally couldn’t get motivated to shop for and cook healthy meals. Poor Sally just couldn’t get MOTIVATED to lose this dang weight.
Then one day Sally found MOTIVATION. And presto: Sally worked out every day, found the time to shop for and cook healthy meals and lived happily ever after being perfectly motivated every day.

OK, not to burst anyone’s bubble, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret, lean in real close now:


Well, now before you click out and go back to your Facebook page let me elaborate on that. Motivation is a feeling. The funny thing about feelings, they come and go. Some days we will feel motivated to do the things we know we need to do, and some days we just plain won’t. By all means on those days we have that motivated feeling we should take full advantage of it! But on those other days...

We cannot rely on how we feel to win this weight loss/healthy living/getting fit war (or to reach any other goal for that matter). Yes, sure, the motivation of being healthy, fitting into that size @#$ jeans, feeling better about ourselves, being a good example for our kids, (or whatever, you get the point) may help us win some battles, but it will not win the war! Motivation will come and go. We cannot rely on it to keep us going. When times get tough motivation will take a hike (trust me, I know).

What can we rely on then?

Commitment, hard work, consistent good choices, and a positive support system.

I know, bummer right?

But if we want to win this war and not just a battle or two, that’s what it takes.
  • o   We have to be committed: to ourselves, to accomplishing the goals we’ve set for ourselves, to making these healthy choices into habits, to sticking to it no matter how we feel. I'll be hosting the #SFCFit Chat on Twitter January 12th at 6:30 Central time and discussing making our New Year's goals into habits. Please join us!
  • o   We have to be willing to do the hard work. To do the work it’s going to take to reach our goals.  Whether that’s getting up early to fit in our workouts or finding the time to plan, shop for, and prepare healthy meals. It takes work, no way around it.  
  •  o   We have to make consistent good choices. We don’t have to be perfect mind you, just consistent. Working out like a crazy person for one week and then frittering out doesn’t cut it (trust me, been there, done that). Eating perfectly one day and then everything in sight the next three doesn’t work either. We must choose balance and consistent good choices. There’s just no way around it: it’s the only way for lasting success. 
  • We have to surround ourselves with positive, like-minded people. I cannot stress this enough. When push comes to shove this is a HUGE asset. 
Our motivation and our efforts will ebb and flow, that's just life, but I believe focusing on these four things will get us from point A to point B in the straightest possible route.

Now, all that said, I do think there are things we can do to capture that motivated feeling more often. More on that tomorrow…