Motivation for the Masses, Part 2 of 2: Five Nuggets of Knowledge

Coach Alison on the yoga mat!

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for (cue drum roll): the conclusion of my Motivation for the Masses post…

I have spent the better part of my life whole-heartedly believing that I belonged in the “motivationally-challenged” bucket. I, like many people, thought that I was doomed to always be uninspired and disinterested when it comes to fitness. This, of course, was completely ridiculous and not based in fact at all. As I moved into the world of coaching, I found that I was not unique in my prior thinking, it’s everywhere- many of us have unrealistic expectations and are only setting ourselves up to fail. This realization made me sad and curious so I began to investigate further. I asked a lot of questions of both my athletes and myself and what I ended up with is a list of five nuggets of knowledge that made the difference in 100% of the people I talked to. Today, my friends, I share them with you…you’re welcome. 🙂

  • Find a community or buddy with a common goal to hold you accountable (a.k.a. call you on your BS). There’s something to be said for surrounding yourself with people who share your goals, are on the same path as you, and will text/call/email/Facebook/cyber-stalk you mercilessly when you fall off the wagon. The sad truth is that most people aren’t phased by disappointing themselves on the regular- some people (myself included) don’t even recognize that they’ve disappointed themselves- but disappointing someone else- now that’s a different thing entirely! Can’t find a buddy or community? Build one! That’s what I did for myself when I launched a local running club. You’d be surprised by how many people are searching for a community or buddy to help them too. (Psst! Did you know that Acacia TV subscribers have the added benefit of a private Facebook group for this exact purpose?! Genius!) So there you have it, no excuses, folks.
  • Know why you are doing this and when it gets tough remember the why. Anything worth working toward won’t always be easy or convenient. BUT if you know why each goal is important to you, why you deserve better than what you’ve been getting, and have a strategy for when challenges arise (and trust me, sooner or later, they always arise), you’ll be more likely to have the determination to carry on despite the chaos that’s swirling around you.
  • Be real about your priorities. The next time you find yourself thinking that you don’t have time or energy to do something, repeat after me “______ [fill in the blank with the thing you don’t have time or energy for] is not a priority to me at this moment in time.” That is going to come across very harsh and it may not sit well with you initially but you have to first wrap your brain around the fact that every decision you make to do or not do something, while not always aligned with your goals, will always be in alignment with your priorities. Let me give you an example…I work out at 5:30 in the morning (ugh! I know) so let’s say my reason for working out is to look good in a two-piece bathing suit. I gotta be honest with you, that reason isn’t going to get my tired, over-worked tush out of bed for a heart-pounding workout at 5:30AM, it just isn’t. Before the sun rises, my need for sleep will ALWAYS win out over my need to rock that swimsuit on the beach. Just sayin. I could keep lying to myself about my priorities or I could just admit that, absent some other compelling purpose to do so, 5:30AM may not be the best time of the day to work out. Perhaps at 4:00 in the afternoon I’d be more likely to rank bathing-suit cuteness higher on my list than sleep. Another example, if you know Tuesday meetings at work will always go late, maybe you make Wednesday morning your rest day and take the pressure off poor little exhausted you. You’ve got enough things working against you, don’t be one of those things!
  • Make it fun. If you are like me, I have enough nonsense going on my life to bring me down. Sometimes I just want to laugh and have a little fun. Sometimes I wanna be a kid again. Every goal I’ve ever successfully accomplished provided me with some enjoyment while also aligning with the priorities I had at the time. Please, don’t force it if you’re miserable. There are SO many options out there and so few days in our lives. For goodness sake, don’t waste your life doing something you hate- this goes for fitness and life in general.
  • Make peace with yourself. You won’t always be “on” or “want to”. If you think the key to staying motivated is having your mind right 100% of the time, you’ll fall off the wagon 100% of the time. The key to motivation is not trying to be perfect. You will mess up. You will pull the covers back over your head some mornings. You will sometimes not feel like doing a workout. You are human. Your body, mind and spirit are very skillfully balancing all your (sometimes conflicting) priorities on the fly all day long. The same incredible internal mechanisms that prioritize your children’s homework over that delightful-sounding bubble bath or your significant other’s well-being over attendance at that work function are the same mechanisms that override your ability to pull yourself out of bed at 5AM in order to get a little self-care in the form of sleep. So, when you are off and not wanting to, cut yourself some slack. Use the time to reflect on what you really need. See your apparent loss of motivation as exactly what it is…a sign that something is wrong or out of alignment in your world. Treat it accordingly. There is always a reason for every slump and it’s perfectly natural and normal. Stop beating yourself up for appropriately using your God-given warning system. It’s there to protect you.

And there you have it. It’s not rocket science, people! Have fun, make friends, be real, have a purpose and be nice to you. That’s all you need to know to be on the way to a happier, healthier you. Now, who’s ready to start learning about building your very own awesome fitness program to make it all happen?? (Aw snap! Another cliffhanger!)