There are going to be days when you just don’t care. When you just don’t feel like working out or eating well.
When you are completely stressed out, busy and unmotivated.
The question is, “How do you keep moving forward toward your goals when you just don’t care or have the time?”
Because the thing is, this lack of motivation…life getting in the way…it happens to everyone.
The thing that makes the biggest difference is how you handle it.
You can either give in and let the stress and bad mood derail all of your hard work or you can force yourself to push through. And when I say “push through” I don’t always mean going to the gym and getting in an intense hour-long workout.
Sometimes pushing through means picking one thing to focus on OR it means doing just a little of each.
Maybe it means you stick to your clean eating program but just don’t make it to the gym that night.
Or maybe it means doing an unscheduled short workout or even less intense workout because that is all you have the motivation for.
The point is to do something and not just allow excuses to derail your progress.
SOMETHING. Not the best thing or exactly what you planned to do or…Just SOMETHING.
Walk around the block. Eat that healthy dinner but have that cookie you wanted.
Find a balance.
There are going to be days when you are stressed out and life gets in the way. And you can’t control or even plan for them most of the time.
All you can do is take them in stride and make the most of them. Do little things to keep yourself on track.
And those little things may just get you motivated enough so that you do exactly what you are supposed to do.
For example, if you tell yourself you are even just going to stretch out and do a quick little workout, you may find that once you are dressed and moving, you want to do the longer workout you had planned.
Or maybe the 10 minute walk you set out as the compromise, since you didn’t want to do your workout, turns into a 20 or 30 minute walk.
The point is, if you can make yourself do something, that something will keep you on track and even help you find motivation to continue pushing forward.
Anyway, the point is MAKE YOURSELF DO SOMETHING….Because every little something really does add up!
Everyone thinks there is some secret to being healthy. And there is…being able to be honest with yourself.
Being honest with yourself about how consistent you truly are at sticking to your diet and exercise program.
I know I harp on CONSISTENCY and TRACKING as being the keys to success ALL THE TIME but they truly are.
There are a bazillion different diets and exercise routines that can work for people.
And honestly the problem isn’t generally the diet…It is the person.
Often when people fail it isn’t because the diet was bad, it is that they don’t truly stick to it – they aren’t CONSISTENT in eating clean.
We all know that one cheat meal isn’t going to make a huge difference yet we expect one clean meal to create huge changes.
But one meal isn’t going to change things. Habits change things. Doing the right thing day in and day out changes things.
That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect every day. It just means that you consistently actually have to STICK to your healthy habits.
All you have to do is be good 80% of the time.
Often people confuse CONSISTENCY with PERFECTION, but they are nowhere near one in the same.
Stop making excuses as to why your diet isn’t working and take a look at whether or not you are actually sticking with the program.
I can’t stress enough the importance of tracking your progress and your diet and exercise program. When we track, we have to be HONEST with ourselves about what we are actually doing.
We can’t ignore that “cheat,” that skipped workout. We can’t just say, “Oh I was pretty darn good yesterday” and forget about the fact that we weren’t at all consistent over the last week.
Tracking shows us the cold hard facts. It let’s us know if we are actually doing what we are supposed to be doing.
So even though keeping a food log is a pain in the ass…yup that’s right…I said ASS…It may just be what you need to help you get on track to accomplish your goals.
It will show you that it may not be the diet that is failing…It may be your CONSISTENCY!
Try it this next week. Log your food in an app like Spark People or My Fitness Pal. See if you are as consistent as you believed you are.
Contrary to popular belief, there are days when even I don’t feel like working out.
Like since it has started getting darker earlier and a bit chillier in the evening…And all I want to do at 8 p.m. is go home and eat…not workout.
But I’ve gotten myself to stay and workout. Not because I have superhuman self-control. And not because I just love working out more than the average person.
But because I’ve planned out my workouts ahead of time.
Too often people don’t go in with a PLAN. They think, “I’ll just decide what workout to do based on what is sore and what equipment is not in use and how I feel when I get there.”
But not having a plan is the best way to give yourself an excuse to not go to the gym.
When we plan ahead, we provide ourselves with motivation, with expectations. And it is way easier to let yourself off the hook if you don’t have expectations.
It is way easier to go straight home after work and sit on the couch if you don’t have a plan to do a push up, pull up pyramid. Because who would just decide to do a push up, pull up pyramid spur of the moment after a long day at work!?!
And it is way easier to decide that 15 minutes on a treadmill is enough if we don’t plan out a true metabolic session to help us work toward our goals. Because after a stressful day, who wants to force themselves into a workout that may almost feel puke inducing?
Let’s face it…It is way easier to SLACK if we don’t have a plan because there is nothing pushing us, nothing guiding us to work hard.
At the end of a long/stressful/draining/tiring/boring/insert-adjective-here day there may not be much, if any, internal motivation left to push us to workout.
We may need a little bit of external motivation – and that external motivation can come in the form of a pre-written, planned out workout. Because having a workout clearly outlined and written out in your hand is evidence of what you are SUPPOSED TO DO. And if we don’t do, there will be not only the knowledge, but also clear evidence that we didn’t do it.
It is easy to ignore the idea of a workout. It is easy to just go home and forget about it.
But it isn’t as easy to ignore something pre-planned and written out. Something that we will clearly know we didn’t do because it is staring right back at us.
And not only does that planned workout make us go to the gym, but it also generally pushes us to work hard even when our mind would tell us the warm up was enough.
I find that even when I want to quit, knowing that I laid out a certain routine keeps me going.
Even though no one but me will know….I WILL KNOW that there was something written out that I didn’t do.
If I’d made the workout up on the spot, it wouldn’t be as hard to change it because it wouldn’t feel set in stone – it would feel like I was just adjusting because I didn’t “feel” that good during the workout.
But writing it out ahead of time, even just earlier that morning, makes me realize that when I was motivated, I did feel good enough to do the workout and that now I’m just being lazy and making excuses.
That it is all really just in my head.
Like the other night. I’d set out a workout.
About 15 minutes in, I felt pretty toasted. My mind was telling me, “I’m done.”
And I thought to myself, “I sometimes do workouts like this and just push hard for 15 minutes. I can go home now…I worked really hard!”
But then the workout goals were clearly laid out in front of me. And I knew I was just giving up because I wanted to go home and not because I was truly exhausted.
So I pushed on. Having the plan kept me going past what my mind wanted to do that night, to what my body really should have, and could have, done.
And the best part is, getting yourself over that first hurdle of pushing hard even when you didn’t want to seems to really get the momentum rolling and makes it easier to repeat the action.
Pushing yourself to go to the gym one night even when you are super tired because you have a workout planned out, will make it easier to push yourself to do it again.
It’s almost like doing it once proves that it really isn’t that bad and therefore allows you to be able to repeat the action.
You often hear, “The beginning is always the hardest.”
And it is really true. But a plan, a workout written out before your motivation dwindles, can be just the motivation you need to truly get started!
So stop waiting till you get to the gym to decide your workout. Start planning!
P.S. Not only does planning keep you motivated, but it also allows you to reach your goals more quickly. You can plan out workouts focused on your goals and not just how you are feeling. Plus writing down your workouts allows you to truly track your results and progress so you can determine what is and isn’t working.
Today is Monday and #MondayMotivation and a bazillion Fitspo photos clog my social media.
For some reason we all just need that extra push on Monday.
Be it that we fell off the wagon this past weekend or that we just need that little extra push to get going this week, many of us seem to seek out motivation on Monday.
And some of the motivational pictures, the fitspo that I see, I like. Others make me roll my eyes or simply don’t do anything for me.
I mean I think there is a ton of CRAP fitspo out there. A ton that does promote eating disorders and the belief that to be a bad-ass you need to push through the pain and risk injury….AKA BE STUPID.
I do think there is a ton of CRAP and I wish I could sometimes give a swift punch to the face of the people who created it.
BUT I don’t think ranting against it is going to do anything no matter how stupid or pathetic or whatever I think the images are.
For one….Different things inspire and motivate change for each of us.. And while I may not agree with it, while I may think it promotes unhealthy habits, others may find it is the motivation they need to create healthy change. They just interpret it differently.
And two…I think the best thing I can do is create and promote what I consider to be healthy and positive fitspo. I believe we have to BE the change we want to see – we can’t just complain about things.
So when I choose fitspo or #MondayMotivation, I think of what motivates me. What encourages me to have positive self talk. What boosts me up and what helps me mentally overcome all the excuses.
For me it is often a VISUAL of the positive self-talk I want to use or a visual of my end goal or even the positive emotions I want to feel about myself.
For me it is about the POSITIVE RESULTS I want to create and the POSITIVE MINDSET I need to get there.
I believe the POSITIVE truly MOTIVATES. While those negative fitspos GUILT you into making changes.
And GUILT doesn’t last long, which means you probably aren’t going to stick with your new lifestyle for long. And guilt promotes changes being made in unhealthy ways to try to get results fast to change the way you feel about yourself.
Good fitspo should help boost you mentally to achieve your goals.
So stop focusing on all the crap fitspo that doesn’t help you. Stop complaining about all the stupid images out there.
Stop trying to GUILT yourself into achieving your goals.
And shoot…If there isn’t any fitspo out there that you like, MAKE YOUR OWN!
I know I did! 🙂
I’ve seen lots of Instagram photos with “You don’t need a New Year to make a change. All you need is a Monday.”
Monday means a new week.
A fresh start.
A chance to change right from the BEGINNING of something.
But why do you really need to WAIT till Monday?
I hear it all the time, “I’ll start Monday.”
But seriously….Why wait? Why not start TODAY! Why is Wednesday not as good as Monday?
Because Monday is the “BEGINNING” of the week and that means you have all week to make changes?
HAH! You really think Monday you are instantly going to be more motivated? Do you really think starting at the beginning of a new week is going to make you more successful?
I mean maybe you will be more motivated after eating crappy all weekend and not working out for even longer…
But maybe you won’t be….Maybe you will have lost the motivation you had on Wednesday – maybe whatever inspired you on Wednesday will have worn off after four more days.
When the desire hits to make a healthy lifestyle change, START RIGHT THEN AND THERE!
You don’t need a Monday OR a New Year.
Start while the you are motivated!
The more we can capitalize on our initial motivation the more likely we are to succeed. But that initial passion to succeed at our goals doesn’t last long.
That initial drive is fleeting. What keeps you on course is HABITS.
Healthy habits and values you’ve instilled because you’ve had to time create them because of your initial motivation.
But habits take a while to create. And they are most easily developed when we have the willpower, drive and determination to turn down temptations and old bad habits.
It is hard to say, “No” to bad habits when new habits aren’t yet in place and your initial passion is waning.
Heck it is hard to get started when you don’t feel that burning desire that you felt the Wednesday before.
It leads to a lot of failures early on and more statements of “Oh…I’ll get back at it Monday.”
STOP THE SICK CYCLE!
START WHEN THE MOTIVATION STRIKES!
Freaking start at 12 am on Tuesday night when you are motivated by something you saw on Instagram or TV or read in a book!
Oh but what can you do on a Tuesday at 12 am when you are just about to fall asleep?!?
The crazy part is actually a lot.
You can make lists of things you need to get started with tomorrow to help you realize your goal. You can write your goal down in black and white. You can really quickly print or write out or even draw whatever thing you read or saw that motivated you and place it some where that you’ll see it right when you wake up.
You can take little baby steps to start getting the momentum moving in the right direction.
It isn’t about starting when you can have a completely perfect year, or month, or week or even day.
It is about getting started right then and there and GETTING THE MOMENTUM GOING.
Momentum builds upon itself.
You’ve just got to get it rolling in the right direction.
So when the motivation strikes, get the momentum going.
Results will follow.
You don’t have to wait till Monday.
Of course since today is Monday and you are now hopefully motivated, you really have no excuse not to get the momentum going….RIGHT!?!
Happy Monday! Let’s not waste another moment wishing, waiting or wanting.
DO IT NOW!
Motivation creates Momentum. Momentum creates Habits. Habits create Results.
It’s funny, whenever someone has success in terms of changing their lifestyle around to be healthier, people who haven’t made the change will tell them…
“Well it is easier for you.”
Can I just say right now…”HOW COULD IT BE EASIER!?!?!”
Any time you break a habit, any time you make a lifestyle change it isn’t going to be easier.
I mean think about all the changes you’ve had to make to your habits over the years. Where any of them really EASY?
I can tell you your parents didn’t think potty training you was easy. Or getting you to stop carrying around the blanket EVERYWHERE you went was easy.
I can tell you my Mom didn’t have an easy time of breaking me of my thumb-sucking habit. She had to coax and reward and take it step by step. And sometimes I had good days and sometimes I had bad days. But slowly the good days won out and I stopped (My desire for the present at the end became greater than my desire to suck my thumb!).
But even something as simple as breaking the habit of sucking my thumb wasn’t easy.
No lifestyle changes are ever easy for anyone.
Habits are hard to break.
There is no magic pill – no key to instant success.
No one is really more gifted when it comes to making a change.
It is all hard work and determination. It is determination that supersedes any other immediate desires.
Changing to a healthy lifestyle isn’t ever easy, especially when you are making the actual CHANGE.
In fact most people will tell you about all the sacrifices they had to make and all the times they wanted to give up BEFORE the change became habit.
So let’s face it. Change is never easy. There is no secret out there or gifted person that didn’t struggle when breaking bad habits.
Honestly, I think that people say “It was easier for you” to let themselves off the hook and to try to make you feel a little less proud of your accomplishment.
It isn’t really that they thought it was easier for you….They are just excusing their own failures.
Sorry, but really, if you think about it, you know this is true.
Because we all know change isn’t easy.
The key is just setting your mind to the change and deciding that nothing is going to derail you.
I write a lot about having a powerful WHY when it comes to creating change.
That powerful reason WHY is what makes your change seem so seamless, so “easy,” to other people.
When you want something bad enough, you are going to make it happen.
Every day won’t be perfect. There will be “slip ups” and missed workouts and cheat meals, but perfection isn’t necessary.
Small forward progress over the days, weeks, months is what will add up. Staying focused on your end goal is what will matter.
Having a powerful WHY, knowing a really motivational, emotional reason why you want to accomplish something, is what will keep you motivated, but it is only a small part of success.
Here is what I tell my clients that helps them succeed even when the going gets tough.
1. Write down your WHY – Write down a powerful, emotional reason why you want something. Just saying “I want to lose 10lbs” or “I want to look good in my bikini this summer” probably isn’t going to be enough. Tap into your emotions. Dig for something important that will not only motivate you to get started, but will keep you motivated when things get hard (which they probably will).
2. Write down a WHEN – Set a deadline. Set multiple deadlines in fact. Set short-term goals with dates when they have to be completed. Deadlines are motivating. And when they are written down they are more solid and we are way more likely to want to achieve them because we can’t weasel out of them. Make the deadline important. Don’t just choose an arbitrary date. Yes, if you are making a lifestyle change, you want it to be FOREVER, but you have to have specific dates when certain things will be accomplished. Because trust me….people do better with END DATES.
3. PLAN, PLAN and oh yea….PLAN – You don’t have to write out exactly what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it. You don’t have to map out your workouts and the weights you are going to use for the next year, but PLAN AHEAD. We each have triggers that set off old bad habits. Know those triggers and lay out a plan with how you are going to deal with them. For instance, ladies…many of us crave crap around our periods. Plan out how you are going to deal with that. Do you have “cleaner” treats available? Do you plan in a couple cheats then? What is your plan of action? Know what sets you off and plan for it. (Sorry dudes reading this). Developing new habits is about breaking the old ones and a big part of that is PLANNING AHEAD so when the moment arises we know how we are going to change our old patterns. Because trust me, trying to fight against old desires in the moment when you have no plan of attack isn’t easy.
4. Know yourself – Take a look at your current habits. Take a look at what has made you fail in the past. Now take a look at what you’ve enjoyed and haven’t enjoyed with other failed experiments, other times you’ve tried to make a lifestyle change. If you don’t like running, don’t force yourself to run every day. If you don’t like lifting weights, don’t force yourself to lift every day. Find things you enjoy to be active and then on occasion add in those things you “know you should be doing.” If you know that you just can’t go to bed without dessert, figure out a healthy treat that satisfies you. If you know that having that “all or nothing” attitude will lead to you failing, DON’T DO IT! Make small changes over time. You know yourself. You know what you like and what you don’t like. Account for those things and then do number 3 and PLAN FOR THEM!
5. Celebrate small success – Lose half a pound? Avoid eating that brownie at work even though you really really wanted it but you knew it would just throw off the rest of your week? CELEBRATE IT! Give yourself recognition for changing. Give yourself credit for breaking a bad habit or moving even just the teensiest bit closer to your goal. Too often people get so focused on their long-term goal that they don’t recognize all the great things that they are doing day in and day out. And that focus on the long-term goal, and them not being there yet, can lead to them getting discouraged and feeling like they are failing. When they aren’t! Because those small things that they are doing day in and day out will add up to one very large success. They just have to be patient! You have to get rid of that NOW NOW NOW attitude and celebrate your small victories!
6. Don’t seek perfection – Sorry none of us are perfect. And life and achieving our goals, isn’t about perfection. It is about small forward progress over the weeks, months and even years. It is about NOT being hard on yourself when you slip up. It is about NOT expecting yourself to be perfect. Because when we expect perfection, when we come down on ourselves for one little mistake, that is when we derail all the progress we have made. If you have a cookie or miss a workout, don’t tell yourself your day is ruined. Don’t just give up. Accept that you may just have needed that little deviation and then get right back on track. It isn’t the slip ups that matter, it is how we handle them that has lasting results. One slip up won’t add up but letting that turn into a downward spiral will. Give yourself some room to make mistake and to have “life get in the way.” Because guess what? IT WILL! I even recommend that clients account for plateaus and backslides in their goals. Set a deadline that allows you to not be perfect day in and day out because it just won’t happen. That doesn’t mean you give yourself double the time to accomplish something, but it does mean that you don’t expect yourself to never deviate from the plan.
7. Include others – Many people are embarrassed about being on a diet or a specific workout program. They are afraid to admit their goals to others for fear of being judged. They are also afraid to admit their goals because what if they fail? Stop being afraid of failure AND stop worry about being judged. Find some supportive friends and family and tell them what you want to accomplish. Having other people know your goals makes you a bazillion times less likely to fail especially if you choose people who are supportive. They will hold you accountable and that fear of embarrassment if you fail will be a strong motivator (sorry but its true…may as well use it to our advantage!). Plus if you get others involved, they may just end up working out with you, which could be fun! Or they may help you find new ways to commit to your goals that you didn’t even think of. We all bring something different to the table and being able to talk to other people can really help. They may have experienced some of the same problems and have great ways to get through!
8. Don’t isolate yourself – Many people on a “diet” feel like they can’t go hang out with friends and be social. But that just isn’t true. You can plan in days to go out and have those be cheat days. Or you can PLAN AHEAD (#3!) and take a look at the restaurant you are going to and know the healthy options. You can even suggest places to go that won’t tempt you to break your diet. AND not every social gathering has to revolve around food! I love going bowling with friends. Or what about hiking or a movie or a dance class? There are lots of fun active things you can do to be social. You don’t have to be a hermit when you are making a lifestyle change. And actually if you force yourself to be one when you aren’t one, you are most likely going to fail. It’s as simple as that.
9. Don’t worry about what others are doing or thinking – Too often we get caught up in what other people are doing or thinking. And honestly, you just can’t worry about that. We can’t compare our progress to our friend’s. Just because their diet is working for them doesn’t mean it will work for you. You can’t get down on yourself just because your progress is slower. Progress is progress PERIOD. And on top of that you can’t care about the people who will put you down because you are making progress when they aren’t. Who cares if someone thinks you are psycho because you have to go to your workout class every day and you love bragging about how hard the workout was? Seriously who cares what they think if you are happy with your new habits? Ever occur to you that most of the negative crap that comes out of people’s mouths is because they are JEALOUS? Don’t worry about your friend’s diet or what they think of yours. If you feel good, if you are moving forward, focus on YOURSELF.
10. Track your progress – This links back to celebrating the small success and having deadlines. Actually this one really ties everything together. There is nothing more motivating than progress. There is nothing like progress to keep us on track. So figure out ways to track how you are doing. Goals don’t only have to revolve around weight loss or even how much you lifted. Weeks where you just stuck to your program should be measured and tracked and treated as progress. Set up a few different goals to measure and track them weekly, monthly and yearly. And then celebrate those successes. And while tracking our progress can help us see how far we’ve come, it can also tell us when we need a change. If you track your workouts, you will be able to clearly see if you’ve hit a plateau and need a change. If we aren’t moving forward, we may need to change something. If we haven’t tracked what we are doing, how will we know if we need a change! Tracking can help keep us moving forward!
Now thinking about all this, I still stand firm in the fact that change isn’t really “easier” for any one person.
But you know what….let people go ahead and think that! Be proud of your success and don’t let anyone take away from it! Know that all of your hard work paid off!
NOTE: Thank you Shannon. This post was inspired by your emails. You are an amazing, strong woman and an inspiration to us all!
When was the last time you did this? When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and was like, “I love everything about myself.”
Heck when was the last time that you looked in the mirror and didn’t instantly start focusing on all the things you would like to change?
Probably never or at least not very recently I’m guessing.
And that is just sad.
So often as adults all we focus on are the things about ourselves that we want to change – the things about ourselves that we don’t like.
When did we lose the courage to say, “I love myself?”
Because, honestly, I don’t believe it isn’t that we don’t see our good points. We do recognize our good points, we just don’t focus on them because we are afraid that everyone else sees our flaws and will think that we are cocky or full of ourselves or delusional if we say we love something about ourselves.
When in reality, we focus way more on our flaws than ANYONE else out there does.
We are our own harshest critics. And I firmly believe that.
We set our own limits. We push ourselves down.
We can say that magazines present unrealistic body images. We can can say society presents unrealistic standards.
And yes, those societal standards do seep into our brains as we age so that we can’t, with the same abandon as Jessica, say we love ourselves.
But despite what society tells you, I guarantee that there are traits that aren’t deemed beautiful or wonderful by society that you love about yourself. Yet, because society doesn’t value them, you are too afraid to admit your beauty out loud.
YOU hold yourself back.
When will it stop?
When will you muster the courage to admit that you love yourself? Flaws and all.
When will you stop picking and pushing and start enjoying and celebrating?
When will you stop setting boundaries and limits and instead look at the world and yourself for all that you have to offer?
Society isn’t going to change. Magazines. TV. Ads. Aren’t going to change….
Until we do.
So start creating change by changing your opinion of yourself. Tomorrow, look in that mirror and focus on what you LOVE not what you’d change…
And if you happen to do a little dance while looking in that mirror…well that is fine too!
No one’s judging except you.
I feel like increasingly we search for motivation and inspiration outside of ourselves. We look to magazines and search Pinterest for Thinspo or Fitspo pictures to be good influences on us and get us to eat well and workout.
Stop looking for motivation and JUST DO IT!
I’ve found that the best way to stay motivated and inspired is to inspire myself.
I work to do my best day in and day out. I work to accomplish goals that push me to become a better me.
I strive to impress myself.
I want to prove to myself that I can be stronger, fitter or faster.
Each day that I work hard and each day that I accomplish something new, I become more committed and more motivated.
I BELIEVE more in myself.
That belief in myself is something that no picture or magazine or story of any other athlete can give me.
So while I do understand that pictures of our “role models” can keep us motivated when we want to walk to our fridge and eat something bad, they won’t keep you committed in the long run.
They won’t make you believe more in yourself.
When was the last time you looked at yourself and thought, “I’m a pretty freaking great role model for myself!”