Having trouble finding your motivation?*

Wednesday, 24 May 2017, By Christian de Stoop

Do you have difficulty finding the motivation to eat well and exercise?
Do you find that on some days, you wake up in the morning and just feel like going for a walk - or maybe even a run, almost as though your shoes have been calling to you overnight?

Or maybe, some mornings you wake up and laugh at your alarm for making the valiant attempt of stirring you from sleep, before rolling over and catching a few more z's, because you don't feel like doing anything today.

So, enter the concept of motivation. Motivation is a force that helps to direct behaviour and your behaviour is guided by your values.

 

When was the last time you had a conversation with yourself and got clear on your values?
Think about it:

When you walked into the bathroom to brush your teeth last night, did you put your game face on in front of the mirror, point to yourself and with your best personal trainer voice chant "you can do it!"

Of course not. That's absurd, because you value your teeth and how clean teeth make you feel, more than the time and effort it takes to keep them clean. It's actually an effortless decision because the motivation is directing your behaviour, which is guided by your values.

So, what happens when you want to lose weight, but don't complete your food diary because you find it a tedious task? Or you're sick of feeling unfit, but you don't want to wake up early in the morning for exercise and after work you're just too tired?

When your values clash, your motivation wavers and stagnates. It's up one day and down the next. Why would you rely upon something inconsistent to provide consistency in your life?

 

To make your motivation more consistent, you first need to get clear on your values.
If you were to tell me you value health but consistently make decisions not aligned to living that value, because you "lack the motivation", then I apologise for my frankness, but I don't believe you.
...I would believe that you want to value health.

 

So then - How do you work on your values to make health a greater priority?
Your values, among other factors, are shaped by the decisions you make on a regular basis. So, this means you need to acknowledge that before your motivation is high, the decisions you're going to make will be based upon the standards you have set for yourself consciously or unconsciously. What decisions, actions and behaviours will you make non-negotiable. …Think about it: When is brushing your teeth before bed ever a negotiable decision?

If you're moving from vine to vine, swinging around and want to change direction, then you must let go of one of the vines in one of your hands in order for you to move in a new direction. If you don't let go and hold on to both, you'll find yourself with the inability to change.
...Sound familiar?

If you are not prepared to let go of an old behaviour, you will likely struggle to change your values and you will likely struggle to find the motivation to achieve what you want. A large step in creating change for yourself, real permanent change, is to accept and acknowledge that your decisions help to form your values and your values help to guide your motivation.

 

I challenge you with this 2 step piece of homework this week:

Step One:
Take an hour out of your day - for yourself. Find a quiet place to reflect and consider: What are your highest values right now and what do you want your highest values to be? Perhaps you might even rank them.

Then evaluate all the decisions you're currently making - are your decisions aligned with the values you've written down in front of you? (If you have to rationalise or justify your answers, then I'm sorry, that's a no).

Step Two:
If the decisions you've been making are not aligned with those values, then make the careful and conscious decision to create new non-negotiable standards:
What old behaviours and decisions are you prepared to let go of and what new behaviours and decisions will you adopt that are aligned with those values?

 

When you start, will you be motivated to act upon those new standards? Probably not very often at first, but that's okay. That's normal. Remember, they're non-negotiable standards and after a while you may just value them so much you probably wouldn't want them any other way…

 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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