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Motivation to stay motivated

We’re heading into the end of January and if you are anything like 95% of people out there you’ve probably given up on your New Year’s resolutions already. Although I have mentioned that I like resolutions as a guideline for the coming year, it isn’t easy to keep momentum toward a goal going once all the champagne has been drunk and the Christmas decorations have finally been put away.

Many of you probably started diets and/or a fitness routine. You went gung ho for about 2 weeks. You changed your routine, you emptied your fridge of bad foods, you bought new sneakers, joined a gym, dug out the juicer you bought yourself 3 years ago when last you tried to lose weight, etc…

You said, “This time, it’s going to be different!”

And yet it is not. How do I know this? Because I do the same thing. Just because I work at a gym doesn’t mean I don’t have to work at working out and being healthy. As a matter of fact, I find it harder now to work out than when I worked in an office because the last thing I want to do is stay at work longer. Sure, I teach classes and am technically paid to work out, but my body is pretty used to that now and doesn’t burn any more calories than it has to. I’m also not above using the excuse of having taught a class to overeat when I get home. Remember, I did not start out as an athlete, I started out as a couch potato, and if there is one thing couch potatoes like to do it is sit and eat. If I didn’t have the threat of having to wear spandex in front of a class full of people I’d probably be doing that even more often.

That being said, I would like to (re)lose about 10 pounds – or at least look like I have. I’ve been lazy of late and things that were once tight have become jiggly and spread out. As a matter of fact, I had to buy a bigger size jeans just to make it through the holidays. This is not the trajectory I want to be on.

So how does one get back on the wagon and keep going?

You have to start at the very beginning and ask yourself four questions.

First, ask yourself, “What do I want?” You may have already defined this via your New Years resolution. This should be something specific, measurable, realistic and with a deadline.

Next, you need to ask, “What am I currently doing to get what I want?” The answer may be ‘absolutely nothing’ or possibly ‘a whole lot of thinking’ or you may actually have an entire list of things you are already doing toward that goal. No matter what the answer, it’s good to assess the current situation.

Third, you have to be brutally honest with yourself and answer this question: “Is what I’m doing helping me get what I want?” Generally speaking, answering “nothing” to question 2 means that your answer to this question is going to be “no”. Acknowledging that is important. A lot of people do a lot of thinking about goals but don’t actually do anything. It’s why Oprah has an empire. If we didn’t need motivation and ideas and tips to keep us going toward our goals she wouldn’t have her own network right now.

Finally, depending on your answers to the first three questions you must figure out “What am I going to do to get what I want?” You may have already defined exactly what you need to do. Now you have to do it. For the rest of us, taking pen to paper and writing down what we are willing to do to reach that goal is an important first step.

As you reach each goal, or more likely, an obstacle toward that goal, ask yourself those 4 questions again. They will help you identify the issue, determine if you are actually working toward your goal, and if not, help you create a plan to continue working toward that goal.

Here is what my 4 questions looks like at the moment.

1) What do I want? I want to be able to stand up in front of my classes and look the part. I don’t want to worry that my rolls are showing or that people are thinking my classes aren’t good because they obviously aren’t working for me.

2) What am I doing to get what I want? A month ago I would have said nothing. Now however I have challenged myself and my clients to do 30 Thirty minute workouts in 30 days. I have been buying more vegetables and eating less sugary food. I’ve also challenged my brother to run a 4 mile race with me in June.

3) Is what I’m doing helping me get what I want? Sort of. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon foodwise but the challenge is helping motivate me to work out more. The reason I’m so bad with the food is that I don’t plan ahead enough. All of a sudden we have no food in the house so we get take-out or I eat whatever I can find.

4) What am I going to do to get what I want? I’m going to continue with the 30/30/30 workout challenge. I’m going to regroup re: food. Whenever I have had success in the past it was because I had planned ahead. I need a few ‘go to’ recipes, a grocery list, and a specific day that I’m going to go shopping and chop everything up ahead of time.

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