Top 5 Tips for Better Motivation
Even the most motivated of us can feel unmotivated at times. In fact, sometimes we get into such a slump that even thinking about making positive changes seems too difficult, but it’s crucial that we do. So much so that we chose the name for our business, Motivation because we know just how essential it is for success. In fact, we believe that the crucial element of being successful at weight loss is finding out what motivates you.
There are two types of motivation – positive and negative. Positive motivation will encourage you to progress towards your goal, while negative motivation is akin to putting the handbrake on weight loss. It’s crucial to try to foster the former rather than the latter.
The good news is that you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. The key is to ignite the things that drive you and excite you and to be clear about what you want, whilst being committed to achieving your goal, regardless of the obstacles. This is not to say that you won’t have challenging days; rather, that you strive to see the bigger picture and can pull yourself out of a slump so that you keep moving forwards to your goal. Sometimes you may take a step backwards, but then it’s another step forward, with some work on your motivation.
Positive Versus Negative
Motivation is often in flux; it comes and goes, but it’s important to keep working at it. A client who begins with negative motivation often transitions into more positive motivation, particularly with some help and encouragement from their Motivation Advisor (and by listening to their audio file ‘Acquire Positive Motivation’).
Similarly, it is quite normal for someone who is positively motivated to become negatively motivated, which we pick up straightaway and try to address with our clients by challenging them and encouraging them to think back to what excited them about losing weight in the first place (this is where visualization can be very useful).
Positive motivation involves frequent positive thoughts that excite us and move us closer to our goals. Being positively motivated means we are thinking about the reward of achieving our goal, and all the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, as opposed to thinking about what we have to give up.
Being positively motivated is different to willpower, in that it brings about a natural desire to make the right choice (as opposed to deliberate self-control). A positively motivated person might desire a chocolate cake, but their desire to keep losing weight will be stronger meaning that, most of the time, they will make the healthier choice.
Negative motivation entails a barrage of negative thoughts that serve only to hold us back. Examples include, ‘I can’t do this’, ‘This is too hard’, ‘I have to give up my favourite foods’ or ‘I hate exercise so this won’t work’. These thoughts are usually motivated by fear (such as the fear of failure or of losing something).
Often someone negatively motivated might embark on a weight loss programme for the ‘wrong’ reasons, such as giving in to pressure from a partner. However, the good news is that we often see clients who can then become positively motivated, as they experience the benefits, first-hand, of a healthier lifestyle.
How To Break Out Of The Slump – Your Top 5 Tips For Better Motivation
1. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones: It’s important to monitor your self-talk, which is really the root cause of your slump.
Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. I imagine an ‘angel’ (who supports me) and a ‘devil’ (who sabotages me) on my shoulders. I actually visualise flicking the devil off my shoulder and turning to my angel to hear what they have to say (usually encouraging words like ‘you’re worth it’). See more on silencing your inner weight loss critic here.
2. Start small. Really small: If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to hit the gym 5 days a week. No — instead, take small, tiny, baby steps.
Commit to going to the gym once a week. I know it sounds ridiculous but it works! Commit to it for four weeks and then see how it feels. It’s all about baby steps – celebrate small successes and then up the game a little each time.
3. Get excited: If you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal. One way to do this is to start visualising the new you – not just how you look, but how you feel (ie. more confident, lighter, younger).
For me, I find that getting inspired by others is what works (see below). Then that energy reignites me and I am back on track again. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.
4. Be inspired: Look to others who have achieved what you want to achieve. Read blogs, books, magazines or listen to podcasts (start here).
5. Think about the benefits, rather than the challenges: One common problem is that, too often, we think about how hard something is. Planning your meals and exercising more does sound hard! But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it.
For example, instead of focusing on how you don’t feel like exercising, fast-forward into thinking how good you’ll feel when you’ve done it, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the long run. Thinking about the benefits of something will really help energize you.
As with all out top tips, start with one and build from there and before you know it, you’ll be incorporating the top 5 tips for better motivation every day.