Finding the Motivation to Change Your Life
By Amy Kelly, LCSW
Often, when patients make the bold leap from being severely overweight to extremely fit, one of the first challenges they face is no longer having the excess weight to motivate them. Without that inspiration, now the responsibility of maintaining the weight becomes a task of self-motivation and discipline. This can be a challenge for many people when they become consumed with enjoying the new benefits of a slimmer body. But, at this point, a lack of self-motivation could cause the patient to falter and regain the weight. So, how do we stay focused and motivated to continue improving ourselves? The answer is simple: it requires the same commitment to maintain our new weight that it took to lose the weight in the first place.
It’s also important to understand why it’s so difficult to stay motivated. There are many reasons why people lack motivation but chief among them is the fact that we are overstressed. When we are stressed or too busy, our energy and focus are drained. Motivation follows. So the first step in recharging our motivation is to slow down and focus on one goal.
Once you have decided what your one goal will be, you need to find inspiration to help motivate you forward. Talking to others who have achieved the goal is a huge help. Friends, support groups, on-line blogs are just some of the ways you can connect. Get excited by sharing your plan with others. Visualize yourself reaching and maintaining your goal. Write your goal down and post it in various places where you will see it many time throughout the day.
Sometimes it helps to build anticipation by setting a start date after you have done the above. Mark it on your calendar and talk about it with others so you can muster support from family and friends. Make it an important day. Knowing that you have shared this will make you more apt to follow through.
Know that motivation is fluid. Most people cannot stay totally motivated all the time. It will ebb and flow as life happens. Keep in mind that you can re-motivate by de-stressing and re-focusing. Keep the positive results in mind and in your self-talk. Replace the “This is too hard” thoughts with “I can do this”.
Positivity is contagious and will lead to stronger motivation.