It’s Monday. And you are feeling awesome.
Your lunch is packed. You have your water bottle in hand. You walked by your coworker’s candy bowl without even salivating or glancing back.
You’re rolling along happily like this until Thursday.
Thursday. Your salad and chicken are tasting pretty gross if we’re being honest. You’re counting down the minutes until your weekend glass of wine.
Friday. Ugh. Thank God it’s Friday. You melt into the couch with your glass of wine (finally!), and 2 glasses later; you order a pizza, and start forgetting why you were eating those gross salads all week.
“This pizza tastes so good. Screw my weight loss goal!”
Sunday, you wake up with guilt, look at yourself in the mirror, and beat yourself up for another failed week.
After months of this, or years of this, the simple *thought* of improving your eating habits becomes utterly exhausting. If you can’t even make it through a week, how are you going to make it through a month, a year?
Is there even a way out of this cycle?
Ask yourself this…
- Do you call in sick to work every day you’re not feeling super pumped for your work day?
- When you wake up a little tired and cranky, do you always use a vacation day?
I’m going to guess not. I’m imagining that you likely still get up with your alarm, get dressed, maybe grab a bigger sized coffee, and go to work.
The point I’m trying to make here, is that even when you feel unmotivated, you still SHOW UP. You still do the work (or at least sit at your desk pretending).
You can do this with healthy eating too. Show up…. even when you’re not motivated. There’s a better way to be consistent, rather than relying on your daily motivation. It is possible for you to get going, and STAY going without needing to be as jacked up as Richard Simmons about it. Or even close.
You will need to dress like him though. haha. Just joking. But wow did he ever have some great outfits.
“Ok, Nicole. So what then?”
There are three key questions to start asking yourself now when your motivation is wavering or non-existent. Asking yourself these questions can get you feeling focused. And, you must remember one very crucial thing. No matter who you are, there will be times where you feel like you have lost all motivation. There will be times when you forget about your goal completely.
Even highly successful people have those times. It’s how they face these times that set them apart from those who never achieve success.
Here are the 3 questions:
Question 1: Who can I call?
The hardest way to do anything, is by doing it alone. When you’re working on changing any habit or working towards any goal, I highly recommend creating a little go-to support group for yourself.
- Do you know someone who has accomplished the goal you are trying to achieve? Put them on speed dial.
- Do you know someone who is working towards the same goal you are trying to achieve? Have coffee with them once/week.
And finally, do you know someone who always sees the best in you, and can always uplift your spirits? You best be talking to this personal regularly too.
There. 3 people you can call when your motivation is low, and all you can think about is calling it quits on this healthy living thing.
Question 2: Am I taking realistic action? (remember that the turtle does win the race!)
Sometimes change feels like hard work. You question if it’s even worth the hard work and the sacrifice. Trust me, I get it.
And listen, you can only give so much before burning yourself out.
My challenge to you is to ask yourself this honest question, and to answer it honestly. Whether you like the answer or not.
- Are you taking massive action that is burning you out after 4 days of effort?
- Are you still wishing for a quick fix, and taking huge unrealistic steps to get there?
So. It’s time to stop doing it. It’s time to stop burning yourself out week after week. ESPECIALLY when your motivation is already low to begin with. When you’re brave enough to take a baby step instead of an elephant step, and you succeed at doing your baby step; you’ll notice you get a little boost of momentum when you succeed.
You’ll prove to yourself that you can do it.
Think of a snowball.
You start with this teeny-tiny little mess of snow. You wonder how you’ll ever build a big snowman with it. Frig! It’s hardly staying together!
But you start rolling anyway.
And the more you roll, the bigger it gets. The easier it becomes to roll. The funner it gets to see it happening before your eyes.
Then it happens. You have your giant snowball and feel so awesome about it. That little blob of snow has turned into a winter wonderland masterpiece!
(If you’ve never had this beautiful snowman experience, come visit me in New Brunswick, Canada)
I think of improving eating habits the same way I think of a giant snowball. You may be starting with a tiny and messy step forward. It’s a step nonetheless. And as you keep walking, the changes get easier, can feel like more fun, and feel like something you’re proud of.
For example, maybe you start by eating a balanced breakfast every day. Just that. Nothing else. Resist the urge to overhaul your entire habits, your entire day, your entire being. All you do is nail down a super healthy satisfying breakfast every day.
Then maybe in two weeks, you start focusing on packing a lunch.
Be realistic with yourself, and move forward in a that’s gratifying and fun, rather than doing it all and doing too much in a way that simply adds burden and stress on your life.
Pace yourself, and you’ll eventually win the race.
Question 3: Why am I doing this in the first place? What will it bring into my life?
I see this challenge in clients all.the.time. They forget why they’re putting effort in to improve their habits, or worse, they never knew the real reason in the first place.
The best way to stay focused, is to remember why. To remember what these positive changes will bring into your life. And it’s not just weight loss. If you’re focusing solely on the weight loss, I’m telling you right now, you’re focusing on the wrong thing.
Improving your habits could make you happier, more energetic, healthier, more aligned with your values, live longer, be an example for your children.
Weight loss is NOT the end goal. It is about much more than that for you. What do you deeply desire for yourself? Why did you truthfully start this process in the first place?
Reflect on this question regularly, journal about it, put post-its on your mirror about it, and definitely revisit this question when your motivation has been flushed down the toilet along with your spinach salad.