Finding Your Motivation And Fighting The Motivation Monster

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Let’s talk about motivation.  Motivation is a powerful thing, but being motivated can only get you so far.
Over the past year I’ve spoken with many people who struggle with the motivation monster.  The monster that eats up every ounce of motivation you had when you decided to start your journey.  The monster that creeps in when results and progress slow down.  The monster that sometimes holds you back from starting at all.

Do you know what I am talking about?  It might be an all too familiar scenario for you.  I know it was for me.  In the past year I’ve definitely faced my monster multiple times, but the one thing that really kept me going was my determination to stay motivated.

I know it sounds crazy and you might say, well isn’t and shouldn’t motivation be enough?  It would be great if that were the case, wouldn’t it?!  Let’s break it down into terms and compare a few.

The dictionary defines motivation as:

motivation- n
1. the act or an instance of motivating
2. desire to do; interest or drive
3. incentive or inducement

We can all come up with a reason of why we want to get fit and be healthy.  The why is all too easy.  I wanted this life for me because I wanted to be the healthiest and happiest person I could be for my family.  I didn’t want to feel trapped and hidden in a body I didn’t recognize.

But what happens when your “why” changes?  What happens when your motivation isn’t clear anymore?

That’s when determination comes into play.

The dictionary defines determination as:

determination-n

1. the act or and instance of making a decision

2. condition of being determined; resoluteness

Being determined is what will ultimately keep you going.  Everyone can have the motivation to want to do something, but having the determination to stick it through when times get rough is the hard part.

For me my motivating factors are constantly changing.  At first it was training for the marathon.  I was motivated by the goal in sight, but there were days where I began to question my motives.  Why was I doing this?  Well, because I had made the decision to dedicate the time and energy and to complete the task at hand.  This is why I am a firm believer in setting goals.

A goal can provide motivation and the act of commitment will provide the will and determination to keep that motivation alive.  Does that make sense?  They go hand in hand and together create an unstoppable momentum that will keep you going.  Much like a rolling stone won’t gather moss, a person who is striving for new goals will be less likely to lose their motivation.

For me, starting new beachbody programs is what helps me keep my motivation alive.  I am setting mini-goals through the course of each program.  The end goal is always to follow the program and complete it.  Earning my free shirt and sharing my results at the end are things that help push me forward.  Much like collecting race bibs, completing these programs and earning my shirts are my badges of honor.  They show that I stuck it through and met my goal.

What keeps your motivation alive?  What goals are you setting for yourself?

 

Getting Started: The Why

I initially started this journey because I was fed up with the excuses. I knew I was stuck and that something needed to change, but I dragged my feet.  I dragged them long and hard.

Why was I holding myself back?  What was I afraid of?  Was I afraid that I would fail?

The truth?   I didn’t realize I was in that bad of shape and hadn’t notice that I had gotten so big.  I thought that I hid my weight well and that the excuse of being a new mom was enough to keep others from noticing.  Boy, oh boy, was I wrong.  I was in flat out denial.

I didn’t think others would take notice because I was only within 12 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight (not a healthy weight either).  What I didn’t realize was that my body wasn’t carrying the weight so well anymore.  I was lumpy fat, not fit fat.  This reality bomb really hit me after seeing photos from a couple of my friends’ weddings (see below).  Have you ever played the game “one of these things is not like the other”?  I was the “thing”.

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August 2012–218lbs+(we didn’t have a scale)

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October 2012

How had I let myself get to this point?  How did it happen?

Plain and simple, I justified every action with an excuse.  I could eat that extra cookie because I “needed” the calories to produce enough milk to continue nursing my son.  We “needed” to order take out because I was too exhausted to cook a healthy meal.  I couldn’t go to the gym or exercise because I would lose my supply.  The list was endless.  I would continuously set goals in my head and plan on starting next week, but the following week would come and nothing would stick.

Come January 2013, I didn’t even bother with resolutions, I felt defeated and figured I couldn’t stick to anything until I was ready to wean my son.  My number one concern (err excuse) was not being able to nurse him because of a lost supply.  I didn’t want to feel like I was neglecting my son.  Sadly, the truth was that if I had continued down the path I was heading down I would have been neglecting him.

By his first birthday he was well adjusted to walking (he started at 8.5 months) and had nearly mastered running.  I remember chasing him down our hallway (our very short hallway) and getting winded.  It scared me.  I had the realization that some day soon my son would be fast enough to get away from me.  What would I do if I couldn’t catch him?  What if he wriggled away and ran in front of a car because I couldn’t react quickly enough because I was too out of shape?  I needed to do something so that I could commit to being the best mom I could be.

I didn’t want to be the “fat mom” anymore.  I needed to be the healthy mom.  I wanted to be the healthy mom.  I wanted to get my life back.  I also didn’t want to plan on a second child until I had dropped the extra weight.  I’ve read too many articles about how moms who don’t lose the baby weight within the first 6 months were more likely to not lose it and to continue to gain with each subsequent pregnancy.  I could not fathom being any bigger than I already was and I didn’t want to become a statistic.  I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it for myself and for my family.