One of the questions I get asked most often is “how do you motivate yourself to do what you are doing?” Its a very fair question as inertia is by far one of the biggest challenges to living a healthful life. It would be trite but of course the simplest answer is to just do it. However, here are some of the things that I found work well for me.
Understanding food one of the biggest challenges I found was not in my intent or desire but my understanding of what needed to be done. I always looked at food as calories, and really not even that, more often just as something that you ate when you were hungry and didn’t stop till you could not eat anymore. Understanding the composition of food and its impact proved invaluable.
Tracking Weight while weight is probably one of the least important factors in your health stats, it is easily one of the easiest things to measure and motivates you no end if you are losing it. Weight is like temperature and indicates that something is wrong with your body if you are over your threshold. There could be a variety of reasons why you are excess and frankly there are more important factors to watch out for. However, watching your weight go down on a weighing scale is an amazing feeling, truly.
Support System often the questions and challenges come from the people around you. They can question or doubt the latest fad that you are now trying for the Nth time, none of the previous which have had much success, and you really should not be wasting your time anymore. Overcoming the nay sayers and persisting for about a month is important to keep your motivation going.
Food not Exercise to be healthy it is important to both eat well and exercise regularly. However, I found it much easier to lead with eating right and then adding exercise to my routine by when I was well and truly motivated as I had already seen results. Exercise is a much bigger strain on your body system and requires persistence before you get over the initial threshold enough to want to do it regularly.
Meditation is one of those strange things that don’t seem to be making any difference at all until it does. You keep meditating and don’t really see any tangible benefits. Suddenly, one day, you find yourself calmer, stronger and more able to act on your intent. Even ten minutes a day makes a difference to your overall ability to act.
Persistence probably the biggest problem is to be able to continue doing what you are doing and not fall off the cliff which is common. I see a lot of people setting short term goals like “I will lose x kgs in 2 weeks” etc. If you are not already healthy, chances are you are looking at a two to three year horizon before you can call yourself truly fit. Don’t set irrational goals which you may even achieve but only to find yourself bouncing back to a potentially worse you.
We all have to find our own ways to motivate ourselves and obviously there is no single path or formula. In my case, I have found these to be very effective. Follow me on twitter @rbawri