Do you find it impossible to “get motivated?” You’re not alone! Let me show you how to get motivated for good!
First let’s look at the definition of “motivation.”
1a : the act or process of motivating b : the condition of being motivated
2: a motivating force, stimulus, or influence : incentive, drive
Notice that the definition doesn’t mention anything about actually DOING the act as a response to the idea of motivation. That’s because motivation is not ACTING, motivation is simply a reason for wanting something. It’s something we think and feel because something else affects us.
Motivation is REASON, NOT ACTION. You have can lots of reasons for wanting things without the desire to ACT.
A weird analogy for you: We are motivated to go to the bathroom by the signal our bladder sends to our brain, but that motivation isn’t action– in that moment we can choose to get up and go, stay there and wait until the motivation is stronger, or sit there and pee our pants.
Diet, and exercise, and weight loss are no different. We can be motivated all day long, feeling the urge to change our eating habits, move more, eat better, lose weight, etc., all with good reason (motivation) all while taking no action at all. Not because we don’t want to, but because the urge to act hasn’t hit us yet.
The exception between being motivated to pee and being motivated to lose weight (or create a lifestyle change) is that we don’t sit around stressing about whether or not we should pee. We’re not watching TV, sitting our desk, driving in our car, thinking, “I should go pee.” Unless of course we have to pee.
But with diet, and exercise, and weight loss, we constantly think about what we should be doing, what we’re doing wrong, how we need to do things differently without taking any action at all. We ARE in fact motivated, we do have ideas and even reason, but instead of spending our energy doing what we want/need to do (get up and go pee) we sit there stressing about it until we pee our pants…and then we sit there feeling bad, wishing we had just gotten up and gone to the bathroom, wanting a change of clothes, but…?
In my personal and professional opinion, “motivation” is a dumb word to associate with diet, exercise, and weight loss. It’s a word we use to make ourselves feel bad. “I just can’t find the motivation.” “How do I get motivated?” Like being motivated is the magical answer to all things perfect. It is an unfortunate expectation that we put on ourselves– whether by our own doing or others.
The truth about motivation is that is happens naturally when you’re ready, just like when you have to pee. The more you stress about not being motivated the worse it gets. It’s part of the guilt/shame/remorse/diet/fail/repeat cycle.
If you want to create change then you ARE in fact motivated, you just need to figure out how to use that motivation (your reason) to start doing, rather than wishing, hoping, thinking, praying and wanting.
Before I go any further I want you to know that it’s OKAY be motivated (want, wish, hope, pray, etc.) without taking action. It’s okay to be where you are RIGHT NOW, even if it’s not where you want to be. Loving yourself and your life for who, what and where you are right now is the only way to move forward because you have to get through the right now, in order to get to the future. Okay?
“Okay, Andrea! Sheesh! I get it. I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and…”
Yes, exactly! Alright so now let’s talk about taking action.
How to move from Motivation to Action
Action is something that happens when our motivation is backed by a strong “why?” Meaning we can clearly define WHY what we want is important to us, and more so, that our WHY is compelling enough to ignite action.
Just to reiterate one more time: Wanting and doing are two totally different things. Wanting something is just an idea, doing something is taking action. It’s okay to want things without being willing (ready) to take action. When you’re ready, you’ll know.
Whether you’re ready now or waiting patiently to get ready, here’s what I want you to remember…
1) You must believe that change is possible.
No matter how many times you feel like you’ve failed in the past, IT IS POSSIBLE! We cannot approach change expecting to succeed if we already feel defeated and deflated. So let go of the past, without it, you wouldn’t be where you are today, and today that person (you) is ready for change.
2) You must be excited about your goal.
Excitement is what’s going to keep you going when it gets hard…and it will get hard. Some people think that excitement is motivation. Sometimes pure excitement does create action– but excitement waxes and wanes so you can’t depend purely on excitement to keep you moving forward. You have to be excited FOR change, not just because of it. In those moments, days, weeks and sometimes even months when exciting things aren’t happening, be excited about the future.
3) You must be willing to make sacrifices and change priorities– time, money, foods you love, comfort, etc.
You know the old saying, “we can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results!” And it’s SO true. You’re going to have to change things– a lot of things, not at once, but over time. It might be sacrificing time spent in the break room, watching your favorite soap while eating lunch, to go for a walk instead. It might be asking a friend to take the kids to gymnastics so you can do some meal prep. It might be sacrificing your favorite coffee drink every morning because it doesn’t really add value to your goals. It might mean sacrificing that coffee drink so you can put that money towards a more nutritious lunch that costs a bit more than what you’re used to.
Making sacrifices doesn’t mean deprivation. It means making changes that are a reflection of your change in priorities because you are creating change in your life.
This takes practice. But when we do it with the belief that change is possible, excitement about the future and with joy in our hearts, these sacrifices and changes in priorities are actually quite empowering and feel less like work and more like progress.
4) You must be willing to do the hard work.
The truth is that true change takes time and it’s not easy. There will be many ups and downs, ebbs and flows, struggles and victories– but they are ALL part of establishing lifelong success that no longer requires “finding motivation” because the idea, the want, the wish, the hope, the prayer, the desire, THE REASON…has become a reality.
This is your life! Creating change IS hard! It takes time, and patience, and tenacity! But I promise it will be worth it.