I had a client of mine “fall off the wagon” if you will. I actually despise that term because when you’re moving and eating to your liking, you’re less likely to “fall off the wagon” or, better yet, that term doesn’t even exist in your vocabulary.
Anyhow, he called me quite upset confessing the last few months have been really tough and his lack of motivation was at an all-time high.
FYI, just so you know, this is TOTALLY normal. Even for us die-hard fitness lovers, we have those moments too.
We spoke at length about what all was going on in his life to cause the lapse of motivation. He honestly didn’t know so we picked it apart and found a few things that were going on.
He was self-sabotaging. Meaning, anytime he felt like he was on the right track, he felt the need to stop and engage in his old negative behaviors because he was scared. He was so afraid of succeeding that in his mind it felt safer to play small and not face his fears of progression. Haven’t we all had this to some extent?
We’re so excited about this new way of living but sometimes the moment we actually start to see progress, some of us feel the need to retreat back and that’s normal!
As I always say, our brains want a landing pad of safety. It wants to know if I take Route A, then it will land be to point B and then the route will finish at Route C. Change is scary!
He also felt like the term “motivation” was causing him to want to do it perfectly. As you know, there is no way to do something perfectly, and consistency is the name of the game. When we strive for perfection, we always come up short-sided and frustrated. So, what do we do instead? We choose NOT to take action because we’re afraid we’re going to mess up!
I FEEL MOTIVATION IS SO OVERRATED. SOMETIMES USING THE TERM CAN SET US UP FOR FAILURE BECAUSE WE THINK OUR PROGRESS NEEDS TO BE LINEAR OR ON A UPWARD TREND, WHICH COULDN’T BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
I’ll randomly hear people say, “Oh, so and so has so much motivation, that’s why she’s at the gym all the time.” I kinda disagree with this, sometimes moving and eating well takes more than just a little motivation to light the fire.
Therefore, I wanted to share with you some common tactics that work when you’re feeling a bit lackluster in your workouts and eating routine. Because I promise, it happens to the best of us, it’s just a matter of what and how you choose to work around it.
Here are 3 of my easy fixes for unlocking your motivational power:
#1: Take a timeout.
I think it’s totally normal to assume you just have to continue to “dig-deep” and push hard to get that motivation back. When, in actuality, that method could potentially backfire and here’s WHY. Think about it, when you’re exhausted after a long day of work, the last thing you want to do is work more right? Same goes with exercise and nutrition. Let’s say over the last 3-4 months you’ve been super consistent with your food and exercise, rarely deviating from your plan. Then, let’s say you continue that, even when you’re feeling a bit burned out from working so hard. You notice little by little your motivation factor is starting to take a backseat so you start to cut back on workouts and eat a few more desserts than you normally do. Before you know it, you’re in full-fledged fight mode where you’re feeling defiant and annoyed so you rebel against your hard-earned efforts.
Looking at this scenario, what do you think you could’ve done differently? Probably given yourself a little more slack right? Especially when you were feeling a bit fried and burned out? Maybe giving yourself some grace and taking a few days, or even a week off from training to let your mind and body reset might have been the exact protocol you needed to feel recharged and ready to go again. When you force yourself down this black hole because you feel like you have to or because you think quantity is better than quality, you’re doing yourself a complete disservice. Instead, take a timeout, you’ll know when you’re ready to hit the gym again or when you’re craving those veggies because your body will tell you and you don’t have to force it to do so.
#2: Use rewards.
I actually just had another client of mine use a reward system for her goals this past month. She and I agreed she could meet her goal of 5 inches off her frame this month so we set a goal that she could look forward to. Something she could look forward to if she put in the work and met her goal. I encourage you to do the same. When you’re feeling unmotivated, I suggest you think of a goal you what to shoot for. Maybe you’ve been wanting to sign up for a local 5k but have been lacking the motivation to do it. Maybe you’re trying to eat better and eat veggies every day. Awesome set yourself a goal and reward yourself.
NOTE: YOU’RE NOT A FAILURE OR WEAK IF YOU REWARD YOURSELF WITH THINGS TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF.
Don’t be hard on yourself and think, “Ugh, why do I have to buy myself things or do certain things to motivate me to do something. Shouldn’t I already just want to do it and not have to do this nonsense?” Nope. Do it and stop questioning yourself.
Once you’ve met your goal, reap the reward! I often have my clients set a goal and the bigger the goal, the bigger the prize. :)
#3: Don’t do it alone.
It’s much easier to make excuses and forgo the run when you’re not held accountable by a community or friend. Again, there’s nothing wrong with you if you need the support, we all do! I even have a coach! If there was one thing I wish I could change during the course of my eating disorder and fitness journey, was I wish I had A COMMUNITY behind me. I wish I had women that I could’ve turned to when I felt alone and isolated with all of my feelings.
Because, as you know, there are no new stories. There are just stories we haven’t shared out of fear of judgment.
Having a pack of women that have your back is like nothing you could ever imagine. I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with other women who want the same as I do. Passion, purpose, compassion, etc. There’s nothing like it, a pack of women is a force to be reckoned with, period. Even if you don’t have a group of women you can trust and open up to, my hope is you have at least 1. We all need that in our lives to feel safe, connected, vulnerable and open. Life has shown me time and time again, we’re not meant to trek this journey alone, we’re meant to share it with others while letting new ones cross our paths for even more potential growth and learning opportunities.
What’s worked for you in the past or present? I’d love for you to share if you feel comfortable doing so.