Motivation can come from a negative or positive place.
Maybe you mainly beat yourself up about how you look. You feel uncomfortable in your jeans that dig into your muffin top. You’re always subconsciously pulling your top down to make sure it covers the squidge.
You hate going clothes shopping because the fitting room mirrors give you views that you don’t normally get at home. The lighting dramatically highlights that cellulite dimple on your left butt cheek and all over your thighs.
If you go to the gym, you hate the way you can feel your body jiggle when you move. You are conscious of your belly rolls when you’re doing your workout. In fact, you hate feeling that jiggle when walking downstairs or when driving over a bump.
I admit that I have never been dramatically overweight.
At my heaviest and at the start of my turnaround I was almost 30% body fat – medically obese for my height and weight, even though I wouldn’t have said I was all that heavy. While that stat gave me a real shock, I was already in the state of mind where I wanted to give myself a kick up the ass and do something about how I felt – the motivation was there, believe me!
Those points at the start of this post? Those all applied (and still do occasionally apply) to me and how I felt about myself. Yes, they are concerned with how I looked/look, but deep down they are about my feelings.
While I wanted to lose body fat and get stronger, when I looked deep down at my motivation, it didn’t come from a desire to improve my health – as legit as that would’ve been! It was my desire to change how I felt about myself that was the driving force behind me starting to train several times a week and to get my nutrition in order. Looking better was going to be the by-product of me feeling better. It wasn’t just the fact that I felt overweight. I also felt tired, pretty down and had started to lose motivation to do things I enjoyed.
I moved from a place of hating my poor body which, aside from having a little excess fat covering it was otherwise pretty functional and healthy, to trying to change how I felt inside my body. And it was this shift that I think set me up for success.
In my job as a personal trainer, while I may have clients that are heavier than I have been in the past, I think most of us can share that feeling of not being happy with how we feel about ourselves. The negativity can be to do with our body, how we treat people we care about or feelings of depression or being out of control. It is these negative feelings that I understand and what enables me to sympathize and to help with motivation.
Not everyone needs or wants to lose weight to feel good about themselves.
Not everyone needs or wants to run a marathon to feel good about themselves.
Maybe you just want to wake up feeling rested with more energy. Get a little stronger. Feel good about the commitment you have to make yourself feel better. Feel better. And I bet feeling better also means being healthier, stronger and fitter – bonus!
Whatever your health/fitness goal, have a think about where your motivation comes from. Take a moment to imagine how you will feel if you stick to the steps you’re taking to get there. Focus on these positive feelings instead of beating yourself up about where you are today. By addressing how you feel and what you can do to improve that, it will likely lead you to make improvements that will also improve how you look – if that’s your goal.
In fact, if you managed to do something positive for yourself today, such as go to the gym, have a healthy breakfast or just not stand in a mirror and mentally scrutinize your body, take a moment to give yourself a little pat on the back!
Taking some time to think about how you feel, rather than how you look. You may be setting yourself on the right path that will lead to positive outcomes on both fronts.
If you’re wanting to start this change with exercise, personal training can be a great way to do this. Your coach can be your motivation when yours is lacking! If you’re going it alone, having a supportive gym can be another great way to keep up the momentum. Choose somewhere that notices when you come through the door, with coaches who say hello and ask how you’re getting on. Coaches who are on hand to answer any questions you might have and to encourage you to keep up the good work.