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  • Writer's pictureJackie

Lift Lagging Motivation

Rekindle new year stamina with these sensible strategies.

February has arrived. For many of us, this means that new year motivation has waned. We still WANT to be our healthy best, but after a January burst of effort, the thrill of potential change may have morphed into the realization that, wow, a lot of work lies ahead. That’s perfectly normal, which is exactly why we simply need to troubleshoot if we’ve found ourselves in this common predicament. If motivation has lagged, it doesn't have to be the end of our search for great health in 2022.

Of course, a sense of drive can be slippery. Some days we embody all the “oomph” required to eat really well and tackle a workout. On other days, we wonder who the heck THAT person was! To steady out our motivation reserves, we can do a few things. You might try one or two of these techniques this month:

Imagine two futures.

Regardless of the choices we make over the coming months, time WILL pass. When it does, how do you want to feel? Personally, this question has always served me well. I may ignore it during particularly difficult periods of time (when the priority is simply to stay steady TODAY within a storm of stress), but it always manages to keep pulling at me, spurring me into action. Imagine two futures: the one impacted by the choices you’re striving to make today and the one absent those choices. Which appeals more? The dictionary calls motivation “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.” The future can represent a HUGE reason. May we all have beautiful ones in store and the privilege of planning for them.

Create a calendar.

Making an imagined future come true requires the structure of a calendar or planner. In other words, to shape the future, pay attention to the present. What are the few KEY things that need to happen in order to reach current goals? If exercise is a challenge, SCHEDULE workouts with alerts well in advance. (I really love checking off my daily workout in a planner. It’s such a simple act and yet one of the most rewarding.) To stick to a time-restricted eating schedule, enter the start and close of the eating window into the calendar, even specifically mapping out mealtimes. If stress reduction is a priority, schedule meditation sessions or even single minutes spread at intervals throughout the day. Put grocery shopping on the calendar, too. Basically, leave nothing to chance. Actions that are planned will more likely HAPPEN.

Keep things task-oriented.

We all know that we cannot directly modify our bodies as though they’re pieces of clay or Potato Head kits. If only it were so simple. What DOES lie in our control? As mentioned in that motivation definition above, actions and behaviors are THE factors we directly influence. For example, since weight loss can be particularly complicated, we cannot magically MAKE our bodies drop pounds but we can set them up to succeed by regularly completing the tasks that support weight loss. Like a calendar, a weekly checklist of healthy actions improves our chances of actually COMPLETING them.

Find some flow.

A lovely state of feeling so immersed in a pursuit that we become oblivious of time, flow can carry us forward quite pleasantly. (I’m experiencing it right now as I write this on my elliptical.) To find flow, dive into health-oriented tasks that double as engaging diversions. For example, a workout could turn into learning to cross country ski (or any other intriguing cardio activity). Trying new cooking techniques, experimenting with different styles of meditation, and even reading about health (which in turn can impact choices) all drop us into a state of flow that keeps us coming back for more.

Look inward.

So many sources of “health” info abound that we often end up lost in a flood or trying tactics that fail because they were not well founded. Only WE individually know how we’d like to feel, what obstacles perpetually block our best health, what’s worked in the past, who’s got our backs, and most important, WHY we want to embody more wellbeing. If we trust our gut instincts, they usually lead us in good directions. (If yours are not, try bouncing your thoughts and strategies off of a professional such as a doctor, psychologist, or health coach. Sometimes such sharing shifts perspective ever so much, and we find ourselves moving forward.) Take some time to explore what’s truly motivating you towards the goals you’ve selected. It will be an investment, from within, in future success.


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