Motivation? = Goals

I was writing a reply to a comment, and then it started to get a bit long winded. So I decided to put it in a post so all two people that come here have the opportunity to read it.

I can really only speak to whats worked for me, and perhaps that can help you.

Motivation works best for me when I figure out what my goals are. That’s the biggest thing: figure out a tangible place of where you want to go, and don’t stop until you’ve reached that place. For example, you want to lose 20lbs. That’s good, write it down, live it, breath it. Ask yourself, “How much do you want to lose 20lbs?” Do you want it more than you want …say… to watch TV? To eat a cookie? To drink 5 sodas in a day? Make sure you want to do something because then you’ll be ready to make the life style changes necessary to achieve your goals. If you’re not willing to make those changes you might not reach your goals as fast as you’d like, or never reach them at all. Essentially you have to figure out what’s most important to you, and having your life work around that goal.

It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted (talking about FITness). I wanted to be in better shape, but I wasn’t committed to that idea. That goal wasn’t a foundation of my life. So, what I’d end up doing was workout for 3 months, and then stop working out for 6 months. Then I’d look at myself in the mirror, and start that process over again. That was the way it went for years, all the while eating unhealthily. I finally put my foot down and dedicated myself; I started working out every day for an hour a day. My initial goal at that time was vague but still grounded me (especially because I flip flopped for so long) “I want to be in better shape”. Now after working out for an hour a day every day for almost a year and a half I have a lifetime goal “be in the best shape of my life all the time”. Sure, it’s still vague, but to me, what that means is to keep up my routine of working out one hour a day every day. And from continuing that process I know I’ll reach my goals because every day, I’m better shape than I was yesterday. And today is the day I am in the best shape of my life.

A slight addendum to the my first thought about necessary life style changes: Before I started that hour a day routine I knew I had to cut out things that didn’t go along with my plan. I needed to find an hour a day to workout (something I was willing to do, maybe you’re only willing to do 30 minutes.) That was easy to find that time because I could easily replace boring TV with an awesome workout! I greatly decreased the amount and frequency of fatty food and junk food that I ate. Both things I needed to do to reach my first goal “I want to be in better shape”. Now I almost never eat that stuff. Though peanut m&ms are my favorite. I’ve also been contemplating getting rid of my cable TV for months.

Ultimate motivation for me is a goal, something I can reach. Once I’ve reached that goal, then you can set a new one. And I am the type of person to be motivated to reach my goal. (I don’t like to leave things unfinished; it may take me years to reach that goal, and have a ton of hiccups along the way, but I’ll do it.) For you, motivation may come from results that you’re finally seeing. You’re on day 14 and you’ve dropped 3 pounds and an inch in your waist. Alright! Keep going! If that can come from 14 days, imagine what you can accomplish from 28, 42, 66, 70 days?

Overall I think motivation is best when it comes from an internal source rather than external, and is goal oriented so you know you’re making progress and can keep yourself accountable. If you choose external motivation, what happens if that motivation is a close confidant (husband, wife, mom, dad, girlfriend, boyfriend, etc…) and that person dies, divorces or leaves you? Or is a public figure and falls off the wagon? Or is a wedding date or summer vacation and you want to fit in that dress/suit or bathing suit? What happens after that date has come and gone? Will you continue on the gains you’ve made or think “now that the big event is over I can stop working out and dieting”? Your motivation might waiver. I’m not saying it’s bad to have external motivation, but your goals and desires might not be rooted in a solid foundation. If you can self motivate and believe in yourself then you can accomplish anything; and I think you’re more likely to stick with it for the rest of your life.

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