Last Updated on December 23, 2022 by Kayla
Motivation ebbs and flows. Some days you got it, some days you don’t. This is normal!
This first step is finding motivation. Next, you’ve got to keep it!
The motivational peaks and valleys make it difficult to keep your goals front and center, so it’s important to be prepared. Here are three ways how:
1. Keep it fun
When you stumble into one of “those” days, it stinks. And learning how to stay motivated during quarantine can be an especially large challenge. Maybe it’s difficult to just remove yourself from beneath the 800 thread count sheets or shower before the first of six Zoom calls. Hey, it’s not like your co-workers can smell you, right? Perhaps this is how you’re feeling today.
To keep the gauge on your motivation tank pointed at “full,” it’s important to keep things fun! Especially when it comes to things we desperately don’t want to do, like eating healthy and exercising, am I right?!
When we enjoy or look forward to something, we create anticipation and desire, and motivation is the desire to act or behave a certain way. Rewards, accountability buddies, and setting realistic benchmarks with plenty of opportunities to celebrate success can help.
Think about training a puppy. After four packages of Wish Bones, maybe you’ve got a little furball who’s ready to sit, shake, and fetch you the TV remote. We’re not much different. Small rewards or “treats” for accomplishing desired behaviors help keep motivation floating along at a steady pace.
To put this in perspective, here are several small ways you can reward healthy behaviors and motivate yourself to keep on keepin’ on.
- Put $1 into a jar for every workout you complete. Save up for a hot stone massage or new tennies! 👟
- Use a sticker chart or visuals to track progress like my free habit tracker 📈
- Listen to your favorite podcast only after you’ve strapped yourself to your stationary bike 🚴♀️
2. Plan for the “off” days
We often plan for the “good” days but fall short when it comes to planning ahead for barriers. We’re either “on the wagon” or “off the wagon.”
Maybe you’ve planned breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks with all foods neatly logged in your food journal. Contrast this to the full-on food feast you had over the weekend with zero records of your dietary doings.
To avoid this “all or nothing” thinking, focus on consistency. What are the constants you can come to rely on?
Routine is good for more than just the kiddos. As dull as it can be, we also like having a schedule for everything from when we get up, poop, and put dinner on the table.
If weekends are your “downfall” and throw you into a funk for the first half of the week, try to:
- Wake up and go to sleep within the same hour each day
- Get a workout in first thing in the morning
- Plan and prep foods for the weekend – not just workdays
Consistency is key. Routine helps. Simply try to have more “on” than “off” days.
3. Recalibrate as needed
Access your goal(s) and simplify as necessary. Don’t get upset if you have to adjust your goals or forget them altogether. Have a cordial conversation with yourself, include plenty of brutal honesty and gentle self-talk. Then, fix your ponytail to get back to it. Don’t waste unnecessary energy setting unrealistic benchmarks that only lead to failure.
Recalibrate and redirect as often as you need to. This doesn’t mean slicing yourself an enormous hunk of slack, but gently stretching yourself.
Kind of like when you bend over to touch your toes. Yep, that gentle tug at the back of your hamstrings. The resistance lets you know that change is happening, and as you settle further in, you can stretch farther. Before you know it, you’ll set a new personal best on the sit and reach! Remember that old wooden box from elementary school?! 😆
Words from the Wise
“Many situations in life are similar to going on a hike: the view changes once you start walking.”– James Clear, author of Atomic Habits
Before we begin something new, there is a daunting feeling of the unknown. What’s crazy is how fast this feeling disappears once we decide to start and begin going through the motions.
Whether it’s taking charge of your health, looking for a new career, or finally taking care of the skeletons in your closet, your perspective will change the moment you commit to “doing it” versus “thinking about it.”
Imagine taking the first step on the treadmill. You might feel a mix of emotions – resentment, doubt, joy. I would imagine that one evident feeling would also be relief. Relief for lacing up your tennis shoes, dragging yourself to the treadmill, and just taking the first few steps.
One of my all-time favorite books is Atomic Habits by James Clear. In the book, Clear gives an example of a man who committed to going to the gym for one week—not working out, just getting to the gym! He changed his routine, walked into the gym, swiped his membership card, and went home.
Most days, showing up is half the battle. If we can bring ourselves to take that first step, we can figure out the rest along the way. Say “yes” to things that challenge you and figure out the details later.
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