In December you were determined… I will lose the weight in the new year and get healthy! January 1st you confirmed your new year’s resolution. Now, a few weeks down the track … what happened? 

I need Motivation!!!

This is what our coaches often hear….

I am not motivated! Can’t you motivate me?
Does that ring true for you?

If so, you need to understand self-motivation and how to ‘re-boot’ it to get back on track. 

What exactly is Self-motivation?  

In a nutshell… it is the ability to drive oneself to take initiative and action to pursue goals and complete tasks. It’s an inner drive that pushes you to keep going, even when you are tempted not to.

Self-motivation plays a key role in making changes in your life. Unfortunately, many of our goals don’t happen quickly. It takes hard work, persistence, and discipline to change your life, lifestyle and habits. And when results don’t come as quickly as you expect, it’s natural to feel frustrated and have difficulty staying motivated.

So how so we find self-motivation when the going gets tough?

Know your why:
Motivation is the force driving your behavior. It’s the “why” behind everything you do, and the reason you might take up a cause, commit to an action, or work toward a goal. Self-motivation requires that you believe in yourself, stay inspired, and keep going despite setbacks.
In other words, we are talking about grit.

So, how can we learn to harness these qualities and develop the self-motivation to succeed?

Recognise your motivators:
Are your motivators internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic)?
Intrinsically motivated actions have a built-in personal reward. Feelings of enjoyment, purpose and achieving excellence come from pursuing intrinsically motivated goals.

Some examples of intrinsic motivation include changing habits to feel healthier, pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming an artist, or building stronger, more meaningful relationships with people.

In the case of extrinsic motivation, we aim to attain some kind of reward such as money, status, or good performance. Some examples of extrinsically motivated goals are seeking perfect grades in school, hitting sales goals at work, or changing your appearance to please other people.

Everyone is different, and therefore, each person has their own set of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. Whether you feel more encouraged by internal motivation or find yourself influenced by the external, or both, neither is right or wrong. It is just good to recognise your motivators, so you can make them work for you.

Change isn’t easy for anyone. Finding self-motivation requires long-term commitment, courage, and perseverance. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It simply means you have to find ways to give yourself a boost when you need it, and avoid giving up when you hit a dip.

Here are the best ways to stay motivated, no matter how much you feel like giving up:

Simplify to focus your energy
Keep it simple to keep distractions at bay and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Instead of trying to pursue many goals at once, choose your area of focus. This will not only help simplify your life, but will enable you to direct all your talents towards your most important goal. For example, it is not wise to set the goals of weightloss, climbing Mount Everest and stop smoking all at the same time. Focus on weightloss and follow with the others when you have achieved that goal.

Break down large goals into small steps
Take the larger goal and break it into small, digestible chunks so you can celebrate wins. As you celebrate, you’ll trigger dopamine release in your brains, an important chemical to maintain motivation.

Make it a game…so you can celebrate the small wins as you hit them.  It works well to make large goals more attainable. For example, want to lose 30kg? That may seem overwhelming, so focus on losing 5kg by next month, or dropping one size in 3 weeks. When you reach that goal, celebrate and set the next goal. Before you know it the 30 kg will be done!

Manage your expectations
When you don’t see progress as quickly as you expect the feeling of frustration is the first step towards giving up. Make sure you are realistic, and plan to accept the inevitable small snags or plateaus.

Your job in staying motivated is to find ways to manage the stress and emotional turmoil of the inevitable dips…and keep going.

Remind yourself…

-you are already in a better place today than when you started
-the plateau is temporary and persistence will pay off
-if you quit now you will lose all the progress you already made.
Believe in yourself and in your capabilities in achieving your goal.

Surround yourself with supportive people
You must have people around you who help you stay in touch with what you really want, and who understands your goals.

This is where the company you keep becomes critical. Chat to your coach, start your diet with a group of friends or family, be with people who can relate.

An unsupportive environment triggers psychological and physical distress that derail progress towards positive goals.

You need to be honest with the friend who tempts you with cake, or the one who tells you you do not need to lose weight. They may mean well, but they need to understand that you have a certain goal, and their actions are sabotaging your efforts.

Ask for help — and offer it
When you’re trying to stay motivated, the right help can be the difference between success and giving up. Chat to your coach, or find caring, wise people in your circle that can support you through this challenging time. Perhaps you know of someone who has accomplished the goals you have set out to achieve. In your chats, remember to focus on the why… remind yourself why you want to achieve this goal.

Practice gratitude
When pursuing a big goal, it’s easy to notice your shortcomings, and miss recognizing your achievements along the way. This negativity can kill self-motivation. So remember to recognize the positives and all the things you have accomplished so far.

Practice gratitude by taking note of what has happened that has worked, and noticing positive changes, no matter how small.  Notice your jeans are not as tight? Recognise it! Notice you are sleeping better? Celebrate it!

Get enough rest
This may seem unrelated, but it is one of the most important aspects of self-motivation!  To keep motivation strong, we must give ourselves time to pause and reset, especially during times of stress.

When you do hit a dip, rest helps you to be more resilient.

Celebrate achievements
Look back and use the success already achieved to give you energy and enthusiasm for what still lies ahead. When you have a small win, or reach a milestone on your journey, do whatever makes you feel like a superstar. That could mean taking time to yourself to walk on the beach, having a bubble-bath, or treat yourself to a massage.

Having the self-motivation to set goals and work toward them takes a lot of hard work, and you deserve to reward yourself!

Change doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s worth it!
Remember that changing your life for the better doesn’t happen overnight…a big goal is achieved in small steps!

When you feel a dip in self-motivation, remember all the actions you can take to avoid giving up too soon. Talk to your coach, turn to your friends, practice self-care, and stay positive.

Celebrate your successes every step of the way because pursuing a big goal isn’t easy, but you are worth it.