As a health coach, a lot of people ask me what to do when they lack motivation. How can they keep going when all they feel like doing is sitting on the couch?
There are a thousand answers to that but, in the end, the only thing that truly works is just getting off your butt and doing it or telling yourself “NO!” when you reach for that cookie.
Motivation and consistency are not a married couple. Many (most?) times they live in different apartments, seeing different friends, living different lives. Sometimes they see eachother in a bar, flirt a little and yes on occasion, even go to bed together.
This is what most programs and shows don’t tell you: motivation rarely matters for long term success. Motivation makes you feel good. It pops up and makes you smile, makes you move more, it gets you out the door, makes you stand up a little taller. It reminds you why you’re making these choices in the first place. Motivation is a charmer, the type of person whom everyone likes and wants to be friends with. But Motivation is a Playboy. It comes and goes as it pleases, flirting with anyone that comes in its path. Motivation doesn’t always stick around.
Consistency? Now there’s the stable partner you’ve been looking for! Consistency is ALWAYS there for you. When you’re feeling down, it’s there, when you’re feeling like you’re on top of the world, it’s also there. Consistency is the loyal pet that never dies and obviously never needs cleaning up after. It does, however, need to be fed. EVERY DAY! Motivation is easy. Consistency? Not so much!
When you first start changing your lifestyle consistency is #1, not motivation. Changing your behaviours means to stay consistent at something for a prolonged period of time. After a while, it becomes a habit and consistency is not as difficult as it once was. Keep this up and one day you’ll wake up as I did and realize that if you have an off day or week, you have no worries about “falling off the wagon” because you’ve been consistent for so long it becomes second nature to get yourself right back into it.
I wish I could wake up every day with the motivation to work out and eat awesome but the reality is that I don’t. Some days I really do NOT want to exercise (for whatever reason). Nine times out of ten, though, I get out there. I’m not so anal as to force myself to do something I hate so if I give it a good go and I’m still not getting anything out of it, I’ll stop. But for the longest time I didn’t do that because I was trying to be consistent. If you’re not used to it, as I said, you need to make it routine first so you may have to be a little bit anal about it at the beginning. Only once this year have I been in the middle of a run and said “F*** it. I’m done.” and walked home. I NEVER regret doing a workout but I ALWAYS regret it if I don’t. Remember that there are extremely few excuses good enough to not exercise or eat right and until you build a base, skipping a workout is not a good idea. You owe it to yourself to give yourself some tough love in the first little while to get off your butt or put the bag of cookies away.
You will not change your unhealthy habits if you rely on motivation alone. Motivation gets your started and picks up you after vacation or sickness but it’s consistency that sees you through to the very end.
How to create effective goals – a workshop for regular people
Are you tired of making goals but never carry through with them? Do you have a lot of plans for the future but can’t seem to get anywhere with them? Do you feel as if you keep taking one step forward but two steps back?
The issue isn’t with you or how you’re handling it, it’s simply with having ineffective goals that aren’t serving your lifestyle needs. On October 27th, 2011 at 8pm EST I will be hosting an interactive workshop that will teach you how to create effective goals that are clear to understand and give you action steps that you can immediately begin to use to create the life that you’ve been dreaming about!
For more information and where to register, check out my classes page!
Photo credit: Amy Loves Yah