Getting motivated!

I'm sorry, what did you say your excuse was?

First of all, let me point out that I cannot provide you with motivation. That has to come from you. I have found that many people will join a gym, hire a trainer or buy themselves a treadmill thinking that will provide the motivation they need to start leading a healthier lifestyle. I may be able to say something or do something that will motivate you to complete a workout or try a healthy recipe, just as you could motivate me to do the same. But to make a lifestyle change or push yourself past your comfort zone has to be a conscious decision on your part, one that you must take responsibility and ownership of. I think of it along the same lines as people who go to the doctor for a bad back, wanting the doctor to fix it. They don’t want to hear that they may have to sacrifice some of their favorite activities for a while, or perform tedious exercises every day. They just want them to make it better. To put it bluntly-it ain’t gonna happen. That being said, what I can do is make some suggestions that might help you find that internal motivation. Here are some of the things that have worked for me, or people I have worked with in the past.

  • Make it personal-goals are crucial to keeping us motivated, but if the goal is too vague or doesn’t have some personal meaning, it is very easy to lose the desire to achieve it. For example-having the goal of “I want to be in better shape” is a great goal-but it probably won’t get you out of bed at 5AM to exercise before work. “I am getting winded playing with my kids in the yard-I want to be able to keep up with them” has a much better chance of working. Some other examples:
               -I will run a 5K VS. I will run a 5K that supports breast cancer research in honor of…
               -I will stop eating junk food VS. I will make healthier food choices to set a better example for my children
  • Set both short and long-term goals-it is very easy to get frustrated while attempting to achieve a long-term goal. There will inevitably be setbacks along the way that will make you question your ability and/or drive to be successful. Short-term goals give us things to celebrate and feel good about along the way. Which is a very important point-celebrate the successes! You did it-give credit where credit is due 🙂
  • Enlist the help of others-whether you vow to swap a healthy recipe that you have tried with your friends once a week, or make an appointment to meet up with someone to work out, it helps to be accountable to others. Amazingly, most of us are much less likely to let down a friend or loved one than ourselves. I had a group of people from work that I met up with once a week to workout. Almost without exception, I would think to myself “I don’t really feel like working out right now” before each meeting. Yet I went every time, because I didn’t want to let them down. I had a great workout-and a great time-at each and every one!
  • Manipulate yourself-know your strengths and weaknesses, and use them against yourself when necessary! Many of us have the tendency to set a goal, but then think to ourselves that we probably won’t be able to accomplish it because of (insert reason here). What we are really doing is giving ourselves an out. I challenge you to think of reasons you will achieve your goal. And it doesn’t have to be pretty-I use one of my weaknesses to my advantage! I am a very prideful person-too much so sometimes. But I know this about myself, so anytime I set a goal that I know will be difficult to achieve, I tell EVERYONE! The ONLY reason-and I am not exaggerating, you can ask my husband-that I did not back out of my first triathlon is because I had told too many people I was planning on doing it, and I didn’t want to have to tell them I chickened out. Is that a good thing? I’m not sure. But it worked! I not only finished it, but had so much fun I did another one two months later 🙂
  • Have a mantra-this is mostly for the physical aspect of living wellthy, but it can work for anything. Find a word or phrase that motivates you, for whatever reason, and repeat it when the going gets tough. For example, my mantra is courtesy of Lance Armstrong: “Pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever”. Find one you like, and stick with it. I will start posting random quotes for inspiration along the way 🙂

The final thing I will suggest is make small changes-ones you can live with. The surest way to set yourself up for disappointment is to attempt to change everything…drastically…and all at once. How many of us have done this: cut out all unhealthy foods, started working out every day, quit smoking, quit drinking, quit any other vice, all starting on the same day? That is not maintainable. Take it easy on yourself-you have your whole life to work with 🙂

What motivates you? If it works for you, there is a good chance it will work for someone else, so please let us in on your secret!!

11 Responses to Getting motivated!

  1. Dad says:

    “Enlist the help of others” A couple of years ago I lost 50 pounds, from 230 to 180 very cool….this a.m. I am at addiction to the wrong type of food and an adversion to excercise. So as I start to get back in shape I am taking Dawn’s advice and letting everyone know. I am proud and stubborn, a trait I passed to all my kids, so this should work. I will post each week how I did and what I did to get my results or lack of. If you are tired of being fat and feeling out of shape join me. With Dawn’s help and encouragement and the support of others visiting this blog we can do this. It’s time for the speedo again….

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      That’s awesome Dad, thank you! I will absolutely join you-I am 5 pounds up from when I left for deployment, and before you say that’s not much, keep in mind I’m 5’4″! While saying I’m looking forward to the day you’re ready for the speedo isn’t quite accurate, I have no doubt in your ability to get healthier again!!

  2. Dad says:

    Week one in the books, ……….minus 5lbs. This was pretty good, my goal is like 2 lbs a week. I know the the first week is usually the best so on we go. I didn’t count by points exactly but I know from past experience about what I am taking in a day. This week breakfast was a bowl of whole grain cherrios or a bannana, lunch was hit and miss ( not good ) and suppers were off skinny kitchen menus. We had the meat loaf, turkey tenderloins and the chicken stroganoff. One nite was pizza, two slices for me and another night was eggs. This week I need to increase water intake and add more excercise. Still looking for partners, you know part of weight watcher sucess is the fact you have to weigh in each week with the group. Nobody wants to report gains. If you join me here it works the same way each week you report and nobody wants to report a gain so you work to make sure you lose. Come on, Summers going to be here before you know it.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      Congratulations on such a great first week! It’s no wonder you’re doing so well-acknowledging where you are having trouble is half the battle. I am totally on board with you, and have no problem posting when I gain! I gained 10 lbs on deployment (tough to do, but I managed!). I lost 5 of those lbs over the last two months of the deployment, but the remaining 5 are making fitting into my clothes a little more interesting than I had hoped for! I only weigh myself on the 1st of every month (I have a bad habit of getting obsessed if I try to weigh in more frequently), but I will let you know how I am doing March 1st! LOVE the weekly goals by the way-do you have a water bottle to keep with you? Saves money, better for the environment, and the convenience tends to make you drink more-great combination!

  3. Dad says:

    PS: After only one week I have notice an increase of the energy level.

  4. Dad says:

    Week two: Down 2 pounds, if I can average 2 pounds a week I can stay motivated. Temptation is alway there, the coffee shop is the worst. They make great apple & cherry turnovers, hot with lots of melted icing. So far I have resisted. A man can only be so strong though. Need to get the excersice combined with the healthy eating. Drank lots of water this week which gave me some excercise running for the loo. Lunches still remain a problem, I need to start packing lunch as it is hard to grab something on the run that is good for you. Dawn, are Slim Fast type drinks good or bad? Weigh Watcher is the easiest and healthy plan to follow, old points or new points system, either works.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      That’s awesome, I’m so happy you are doing so well! I hear you about temptation-I am home with the fam right now, and they keep several goodies in the house that I usually don’t 🙂 I treat myself every once in a while, but for the most part I can remind myself of how I feel when I eat junk and that works. What has been working for you? I always like to hear other people’s tricks to have as backup when mine aren’t working!

      I am not a huge fan of SlimFast personally for a couple of reasons. One is just the fact that I always prefer the real thing-you get all of the nutrients, and none of the preservatives. Also, I have found through personal experience and from talking with other people that they tend to not hold you over very long-causing you to snack more in the afternoon, or go crazy at dinner. They will certainly not hurt you if you use them every once in a while, but I would not recommend them as an everyday lunch. Tim mentioned you have a fridge at the shop-do you think it would work for you to either bring leftovers from dinner, or even buy a loaf of bread and pound of lunch meat to keep there? Then you wouldn’t have to worry about remembering, or mustering up the motivation, to get something ready in the morning.

      Congrats again on your success, and I can’t wait to hear how you do this week!

      PS-Caved on the weigh-ins and weighed myself. Down one more pound! We’ll see how I manage being away from home this week…

  5. Dad says:

    I have to be brutally honest with you. Right now You are my motivation (along with Tim who nagged me at Christmas) If you are committed enought to help people with this blog then a little thing like me losing 30 pounds shouldn’t be a problem. I really do not want to post here that I gained ( it will probably happen sooner or later) It is the pride thing, Tim inherited it from me. Once we start something we try to finish it so we do not have to admit defeat. I probably did not do a good job of explaining. Your blog above is very inspiritationaly. Plus it’s the speedo in my drawer just waiting.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      I’m so glad the blog is helping! Honestly, if it just motivates you and I, it is totally worth it 🙂 Plus there’s the speedo-I didn’t have my camera ready the last time. I will not make that mistake again…

  6. Dad says:

    Goal #1-200 lbs acheived this morning. That’s down 3 lbs this week. I definately am not starving by eating healthy. Just watch the fat and keep track of your points. Because I have done this before I don’t write by points down each day I just know if it is good or bad. If you feel guilty eating it, you probably shouldn’t. Last night I had a bowl of ice cream. You can do that if you don’t do it everyday. One day I had a slice of pizza for lunch. Again not every day. By allowing yourself an occasional treat you stay more focused on eating healthy because you know you can have that cheat now and then and still lose weight. If you denie yourself an occasional treat you will start to obcess about it and when you cave in it is in a big way. Goal #2 is 190. I can tell you by posting here each week I am more focused on not straying because I don’t want to admit to even a little defeat. Join me.

    • Dawn Whiting says:

      One thing I heard not long ago that really stuck with me is don’t bother to cut out your favorite foods. They will not stop being your favorite foods! Like you said, if you deny yourself completely, a binge is likely in your future. I think moderation is one of the hardest things to learn, but the most beneficial in the long run.

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