As a personal trainer, my job is to educate my clients on how to exercise properly and help them reach their goals through fitness. My clients often ask me to “give them motivation.” This is a tough request for me because I have to confess to them that …No, I cannot give them motivation. That is something they have to develop for themselves. That is probably the biggest challenge we all face every day- finding the motivation to stay on the right course- even when it’s tough! Well, I cannot give motivation, but maybe in this blog, I can share some insightful tips and education that will inspire you to find some meaningful motivators in your life that will keep you going into this the New Year!
THE KEY COMPONENTS
When it comes to picking and sticking with a wellness goal, MOTIVATION and RELEVANCE are the most important key factors. You cannot be successful in the long run without both. Let’s say your goal is a car…motivation is the fuel, and relevance is the steering wheel! You cannot go anywhere without fuel, and what good are wheels if you cannot steer them in the direction you want? But, motivation is hard to find, right? Allow me to breakdown motivation very simply.
“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”
—Denis Waitley, Motivational Speaker and Consultant
We experience two types of motivation, internal (intrinsic) and external (extrinsic). People who find motivation in extrinsic motivators are struggling within themselves to actually make changes so they look for outside influence or experiences to get them motivated on the short front. The starting of a New Year, a birthday, an upcoming vacation are all common extrinsic motivators. The only problem with extrinsic motivators….is they don’t sustain you in the long run. They are short term. You have to plan several extrinsic motivators lined up back to back for the year (a beach vacation, followed by a 5K, followed by your birthday, followed by a reunion…etc.) to stay on the right track. This can be exhausting and expensive.
Internal motivation comes from you and your values. You make behavior changes because it makes you feel good inside and it is something you believe in with certainty. People who commit a lot of time to healthy activities like yoga classes for healing and relaxation, or food prep on Sunday, or shopping for organic items, or avoiding sugar to prevent diabetes – are all running on intrinsic motivation because they truly believe the choices they are making will benefit them in a positive way. These are long term motivators. The strongest form of motivation is a blend of both internal and external influences.
“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”
—George Lorimer, American journalist and author
So, now you recognize motivation….what about relevance? Relevance in this situation refers to a challenge you truly want to work on at this point in your life. If your doctor tells you, you should lose 10lbs, is that significant to you? Probably not. However, if you couldn’t fit into your jeans one day and said out loud, “WOW! I need to lose 10lbs!” that would be a pertinent goal to you, huh? It’s about picking challenges to resolve NOW because they mean something to you NOW. If you decided to work on a problem that will have an outcome in 3 years- it may not be so relevant to you in 3 months. So here are my tips to you this year on how to pick and stick with successful wellness goals! Cheers to your success and your health!
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
—Francis Chan, Preacher and founder of CrazyLove.Org
TIP # 1:
Focus on what fits your needs right now. Planning on starting a diet? Do you have a goal to lose weight? Start exercising? Too often we see the success that others have accomplished and we feel that we must emulate their actions to have the same success. But you once start down their path, you realize how much you dislike what you are doing and eventually quit and end up disappointed. This year, focus on what you need at this point in your life and don’t let others distract you from your path.
TIP # 2:
Plan for both the BIG and small pictures. When you start thinking about improving aspects of your life or health, there is usually an underlying motivator (health condition, financial situation, birthday, life event, etc.). This motivator tends to either be a big picture (long term- like managing diabetes) or small picture (short term- like losing 10lbs) event. Often we fail to reach our goals- both long and short- because we don’t plan for both. Small goals help us achieve long term success and working towards long term goals helps us find value in our short term successes. This year, be sure to set a plan that incorporates success for both your big and small aspirations and keep moving forward!