One of the questions I receive most often is, “how did you stay motivated on your weight loss journey?”
I think there’s a lie that’s been perpetuated in our society. In order for something to be sustainable it has to feel good. But motivation is fleeting, it comes and goes. I couldn’t anchor my success to my motivation or I would have been done for the first time Brady brought donuts home. I would have been sunk. So what did I anchor my success to?
There are so many things we do every day that we don’t want to. Get out of bed, brush our teeth, shower, make breakfast for our kids, get them ready for school, go to work, pay the bills, clean the house, do the dishes, the list goes on and on. How is it that we manage to do all of these things, every single day, without some big motivational push?
Some of them are habitual, learned habits that become less of a nuisance as we get into routine and continue to do them over a period of time. They become part of our life, something we don’t even think about anymore, almost effortless.
Others are a pain in the ass but a necessity to continue to live the lifestyles we desire, these things don’t require motivation either, though it’s nice when we have it. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to just because it’s good for us. Like paying bills, doing our taxes, making sure our cars have the proper maintenance and our front yards stay orderly for the HOA.
You can see where I’m going with this.
We have to stop thinking about a healthy lifestyle as something that we only do when we’re motivated and start thinking about it as as one of those things that we do because it’s good for us, for our families, something that’s a pain in the ass but necessary.
You don’t have to be motivated to change. Motivation isn’t reliable anyway. It doesn’t last.
If you can muster the strength to start I promise you it begins to turn into one of those habitual things. Something you don’t have to work so hard at anymore because it will become a part of your everyday lifestyle, and over time it requires less thought. Like taking a shower or brushing your teeth.
So the question shouldn’t be, how do you stay motivated?, the question should be, how did I turn this into a habitual lifestyle?
I’m sorry to say there is no magic pill or simple answer. I wish there was, it would certainly make things much easier.
It requires hard work, dedication, and choosing to do what’s best, instead of what is most appealing. It requires denying that voice inside your head, the one that craves, and tells you that you need it, that any form of food could make you feel better or satisfied or happy (mentally and emotionally).
It requires vulnerability, admitting that you have a problem, that you’ve made poor choices that have gotten you to the spot you’re in, and reaching out to ask others for help with accountability. It requires doing what’s right even when no one is around to witness it.
I was recently asked what my turning point was. I yo-yo dieted for many years. It wasn’t until I decided to love myself the way I love my children that cleaning up my diet stuck. I love my children so fiercely that I am willing to sacrifice their like for me in the interest of doing what’s best for them. I am always in their corner, their most faithful friend and defender, but I’m also their mother and sometimes that requires stopping them from making choices that are going to harm them. Even if they don’t like me for it.
My Aunt Kim says, “You have to change the wall paper of your mind before you change your diet. As you begin to love yourself the way you are, you will begin to take care of yourself properly because we take care of the things we love.”
So stop searching for inspiration and motivation to get started and start focusing on loving yourself best. Motivation is fleeting but love lasts.