One of the things I often hear from people, friends and clients alike, is they need more motivation to be healthy. By the time people come to me for support on being healthy, they have tried many different things. They are motivated to make a change but don’t know where to start. Or worse they try to do everything at once, become overwhelmed and quit. So how do we motivate ourselves to make changes without becoming overwhelmed or stuck.
What is motivation?
Let’s start with understanding what motivation is:
Psychology Today defines motivation as
Motivation is literally the desire to do things. It’s the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It’s the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be.
Motivation begins with a desire to change but there is a crucial component necessary to keep that motivation focused. We need the motivation to have meaning.
While it is easy to say “I want to lose weight.” There isn’t a whole lot of meaning behind that. Why do we want to lose weight? What do you gain from the weight loss?
To really motivate yourself to make a change, try putting a meaningful goal behind it. For example, when I find myself needing to balance my weight, I focus on how good I feel and how it is expressed in my energy.
My focus becomes “I am motivated to make healthy choices to feel better and have energy to keep up with my kids without wanting to take a nap in the middle of the day.”
This focus allows me to measure my success and keep the meaning in my motivation. My kids are the motivation to have energy because their energy feels limitless to me. Then, when I make choices I ask myself, “Will this give me more energy or make me feel drained?” There is focus, incentive and motivation all rolled into one.
What is your motivation for being healthy and how can you make it more meaningful?