Progression of me

from eighty four to now…

M.O.T.I.V.A.T.I.O.N

on June 22, 2014

Can you relate to any of these?

Impatience – you analyse a plan according to how it’s “supposed” to work, and often conclude too soon that it’s not working for you.

Analysis Paralysis – you keep adding additional workouts and customizations to your program, and you end up exhausted, discouraged and perhaps injured.

Extremism – you throw yourself into unsustainable nutritional or supplement schemes that are beyond your budget or just not a good fit with your lifestyle and/or abilities.

Perfectionism – you’re prone to skipping workouts when everything isn’t “just right”.  Maybe you forgot your pre-workout, your music or a piece of gear for instance.  Same for nutrition – if everything isn’t perfect you take it as an excuse to eat junk.

Ambition – you’re unrealistic in your aspirations. You set goals that are too lofty or extreme for your abilities, age or the amount of time you have. Then you beat yourself up when you can’t achieve them.

If you can, then you’re not alone!  These are hurdles which the personality type “the thinker” has to overcome.  [Check out my previous post here]  And these hurdles are often the reason behind our loss of motivation…..

Earlier this week I posed a question on my Facebook page – Was there anything in particular my followers/readers would like to hear about?  It was suggested I write a post about motivation when getting back into fitness after a break.  What a perfect suggestion!  I’m hoping by giving others advise that it will in turn motivate me too 🙂

Easter came. Easter went. And I’ve come to realise I’ve only posted 2 blog entries since then!  I’ve also been struggling with my fitness routine and my diet is suffering too.

My motivation levels are low.

So I’ve done a lot of thinking, a lot of reading and some more thinking…

I’ve come to the conclusion that motivation is an extremely complex topic and is not something that can be summed up by a few words.  I have, however, found two statements which hit home to me:

“Motivation may be rooted in a basic impulse to optimize well-being, minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure”

and “So figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be.”

Recently I asked a number of people for suggestions on how to get motivation back and one response given to me was “Remember why you started!”  Looking at the above statements I have come to the realisation that figuring out what you want is just as important as remembering why you started.  Is the reason you started still what you want?

If you’ve had a break (for whatever reason) or simply struggling to do what you used to do, I think it’s time to take a step back.  If we are letting countless excuses consume us then somethings simply not right.  If we go back to the statement above “Motivation may be rooted in a basic impulse to optimize well-being, minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure” and realize we aren’t enjoying what we are doing, then why should we continue doing it?

In saying this, we can’t always take this to mean that everything that hurts is a bad thing.  Not everything in life is going to be easy – if it was, then everyone would be doing it.  And, sometimes what gives us the greatest satisfaction takes the greatest time and effort – often hurting along the way.

So where do we go from here?  Well, I think we need to sit down and reevaluate what we want.  We need to write a list of goals and how important they are.   This one is a big one.  Not simply important – but important to YOU!  It’s crazy how often I’ve (and I’m sure you can relate too) spent time at a class doing something I really dislike or going after someone else’s goals and not my own.  Doing things that are expected of me by WHO?  Certainly not myself.  Then when I don’t achieve certain goals I beat myself up about it or feel guilty.  And it was for something that was never important to me to begin with.  So remember to list goals that you actually want to achieve and will have fun doing so.  Make them measurable and don’t stress over time frames (I’ll go into this a bit more later).

We need to SLOW DOWN!  After a break, although you wish you were where you were before, we all know that’s not going to be the case.  Don’t let this get you down – instead, don’t think about the finish line, enjoy where you are – enjoy the journey and the rest will follow.  Take your time.  It’s not a race!

SIMPLIFY! Sometimes we think that after a break we can go from nothing right back to where we were before the break.  Jumping right into the deep end may work for some, but for me, it just doesn’t work.  I’ve tried this countless times and I end up becoming overwhelmed and then one small thing comes along and I give up entirely.

Instead of trying to do everything at once – I truly believe the trick is to START SMALL!  Make these small steps so easy they are almost seem pointless!

A few examples – Want to build an exercise habit?  Your goal is to exercise for 5 minutes today.

Want to start writing again?  Your goal is to write 5 sentences today.

Want to create a healthy eating habit?  Your goal is to eat 1 healthy meal each day.

It doesn’t matter how small you start (hell, maybe you will only eat 1 healthy meal A WEEK), if you start small there will be plenty of time down the track to up the intensity.

One thing I’ve read countless times (and this is something I struggle with constantly!) is NEVER compare yourself to others.

In the beginning, performance is irrelevant.  Doing something impressive once or twice isn’t going to matter if you never stick with it for the long-run.  Make your new habit so easy that you can’t say no.

Keep in mind that you may mess up and it’s OK!  It’s not the end of the world – everyone has been there and it actually makes you NORMAL – not a failure.  Do not judge yourself or feel guilty.  Just focus on your plan and get back on track as soon as you can.

So where to now?  Your goal is to exercise for 5 minutes each day.  Don’t give yourself a deadline – set yourself a schedule instead.  Forget about your performance and focus on creating a BETTER YOU!  And a great motto to take on board is “Never miss twice” – for example you may miss one work out – but DO NOT allow yourself to miss the next one.  You may binge on chocolate one night – so make sure you eat healthily the next day.  Never miss twice otherwise it will snowball…and before you know it a month has passed.

OK – so you’ve set yourself a schedule – gym at 6am Monday?  Writing that essay at 5pm Wednesday?  Now make sure you write it down. Whether that be on a calendar, in your phone, on a post-it on the fridge – whatever works for you.  But make sure you have it written down the way you would an appointment –  don’t break it.  Cancellation fees will apply 😉

To get into the habit you need to make sure that you go about the activity the same way each time.  Do you go the gym straight from work?  Pack your gear and have it in the car ready.  If for some reason you are running late at work and you don’t have time to make the gym then stick to your schedule even if it’s in a much smaller way.  For example – instead of a full work out just do 20 squats.  It’s not the “individual impact of missing your schedule that’s a big deal. It’s the cumulative impact of never getting back on track. If you miss one workout, you don’t suddenly feel more out of shape than you were before.”

One problem of mine is I’m “all in” or “all out”.  Have a read of this example below I found online – this really hit home to me, and hopefully it does with you too:

It’s so easy to get hung up on doing things the optimal way and end up preventing yourself from doing them at all.

Here’s an example…

“I really want to eat Paleo, but I go to Chipotle every Friday with my friends and I like to get sour cream and cheese on my burrito and I know that’s not Paleo. Plus, I have a book club meeting every Tuesday and we always have ice cream and I don’t want to be the only one not joining the group. Maybe I should try something else?”

Seriously? Is eating clean five days per week better than not eating clean at all?

Yes, I believe it is.

In fact, eating healthy one day per week is better than none at all. Make that your goal to start: eat clean every Monday.

Just because you can’t stick to the optimal schedule, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stick to it at all. Good habits are built gradually. Start slow, live your life, and get better along the way. Progress is a spectrum, not a specific place.

Furthermore, if you haven’t mastered the basics, then why make things harder for yourself by fretting about the details?

The optimal strategies will make the last 10% of difference. Meanwhile, 90% of your results will hinge on you simply sticking to the basics: don’t miss workouts, eat real food, do the most important thing first each day. Master the fundamentals now. You can optimize the details later.

And lastly, while sitting here writing, reading and thinking I came to a realisation.  I created a vision board for my 30 things and I’m achieving them slowly one by one.  Each goal is measurable (even my 30 books / 100 movies which are large goals, can be broken down and thus measured).  However, when it comes to my health and fitness goals I don’t really have small goals which I can visualise and achieve along the way.

I think to get my motivation levels back up I need to be tracking my progress online AS WELL as somewhere I can see it everyday – in my room.  Where I can see the images which will remind me of what I’m trying to achieve and get me excited and motivated.

This afternoon I’ve decided to work out exactly what I want to achieve and why.  I’m going to make this about me and me only.  And I hope you do too 🙂

Some great resources online which helped me with this post were:

Jamesclear.com

Bodybuilding.com

Wikipedia

Psychologytoday.com

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