Blink and she’s gone.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “how do you stay motivated?” I’d be pretty well off. Motivation can be defined as “a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a certain way.” And we often see it as something that is constant, when in my opinion it is one of the most random, sporadic feelings we experience as humans. Motivation drives us towards our goals and is associated with those who are successful. But if we actually relied on motivation to get things done or achieve our goals we would get nowhere. So when people ask the million-dollar question, I simply respond with “I don’t”.
Ironically it took me two weeks to write this, which you may say, was because I was unmotivated but I put it down to lack of prioritization. To be honest, I had other things that were more important. And that is the essence of motivation, it is your “why”, it is our reason for doing the things we do.
The feeling of motivation gets a lot of credit for what really is hard work and perseverance. Motivation doesn’t get you out of bed at 5am to fit in your workout before work, motivation doesn’t help you prep your meals because you know you have a busy week ahead and motivation doesn’t help you prioritise your carrot sticks over a chocolate bar. I am being a bit unfair to poor old motivation. She’s a powerful, all consuming feeling but she’s fleeting and flaky. Some may call her unreliable, others unpredictable, but she is present at times when we do need reminding of why we do the things we do. What really helps you achieve your dreams and tick your daily tasks off is the secret to success, and the true secret is habit. All the actions above are habits, which develop over time and require a lot of mental toughness to become second nature. Habits take time to develop and unlike the power of motivation, habits sit quietly in the background and build strength with every decision you make.
The more healthy habits we create the easier it is to reach our goals. Once habits are established it is one less decision we need to make during our day. Every choice we make drains away our willpower, so by the end of the day it becomes quite challenging to continue to say no to that chocolate bar or yes to a workout. In comparison, habits are not conscious decisions as they are engraved in our day and do not reduce our will power. Focus on developing habits each day and over time the choices you make to help reach your goals become second nature.
So how do we help maintain our willpower, drive and create healthy habits? There is no short cut and I will not lie to you, changing your mindset takes a lot of work. But there are some simple actions every day that you can take to reach your goal.
- Have your goal written down somewhere. Actually writing down or telling someone else about your goal solidifies it and can help make you accountable. Once you’ve sent your little dream out into the world it is more than just a fleeting thought; it is real. Your next step is to write down the strategies and smaller goals that are required to make the ultimate goal a reality. When setting goals use the SMART principles. Make the goal Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
- Do something every day to help you reach your goals. Whether it’s waking up and reaching for your diary to plan or getting up and smashing out your workout. Tick something off your to-do list rather than looking through your Facebook/Instagram. These small wins help keep us pointing in the right direction and can help produce that motivated feeling we all seek.
- Give your willpower a rest. Regardless of what your long-term goal is eating the right foods will help you achieve this. Eating well improves mental capacity, reduces illness and long-term disease and will ultimately produce the best version of yourself. Reduce the decisions you need to make food wise and prepare as many meals as possible ahead of time. Having breakfasts, lunches and even snacks prepared means one less decision you need rely on you willpower to make, instead it merely becomes a habit.
- You will regret the things you didn’t do more than things you did. This life quote is just as applicable to the hard times you experience when reaching your goals in everyday life. This is a mantra I use when bed is calling in the middle of winter and my 5am training session is not as inviting. And it applies to every task on your ‘To Do’’ list. Putting it off only creates stress and anxiety; it also gets you nowhere, figuratively and literally. Success is a hard road and you will make sacrifices. Very rarely we regret what we sacrificed even if we fail, but we will always regret never trying.
- Accept it will be hard work. In this day and age there are many people who want to be healthy, who want to be fit or want to be successful but they think it will happen over night. It won’t. Anything worth having will never come easy. At times it will seem like one step forward and two steps back, but it is in those moments where motivation has disappeared that you need to dig the deepest. Trust the process, accept the journey and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Do what you need to do to reach your goals, because if one thing is for certain, no one else is going to do it for you.
Ultimately we need to realise that success is not a straight road and that set backs are inevitable. It’s in these moments where we feel like the many set backs have become too much and motivation is lost that we focus on our ‘why’. We have to go back and remember the definition of motivation; it is simply the reason for doing what you do. Create healthy habits, keep your ‘why’ in the forefront of your mind and remember sometimes shit just needs to get done so go out and do it.
Peace, Love and Food xx