When you’ve lost your drive it’s an incredibly frustrating feeling. Self criticism is our go-to reaction. But how we respond to losing sight of our motivation to get healthier is key to finding it again. Beating yourself up only pushes it further away. Discover it again with encouragement, kindness and counting successes.
Think about it: Criticism doesn’t motivate
How would you speak to a child who failed a spelling test and was upset? Would you call the child stupid, berate her for not studying hard enough? More likely, you would ask how you can help her study next time. You would find encouraging words. You would remind her of her talents.
So why do we keep saying negative things to ourselves hoping to kick start new behaviors? The more stuck we are, the more kind we need to be to ourselves. When we feel like our mojo has disappeared, and we’re looking for it, here are some places to start:
Progress Not Perfection
In an effort to motivate, we flog ourselves with shoulds, expectations, and beliefs such as “no pain, no gain.” We believe we have to go for broke, especially if weight loss is the goal. Changing negative self talk, ditching the all-or-nothing thinking, and looking for the small steps forward are important to remember.
When goals are too lofty, and perfection is the expectation, we automatically feel overwhelmed and shut down.
Reframe the Goal
At Green Mountain, we encourage women to re-evaluate weight loss as the goal. For one, it is usually achieved through restriction, which is often followed by overeating or bingeing. Examine your goals, turn them over, and look at them through a new lens. One way to do that is to find the inspiration in the goal – to look for pleasure. For instance, if you love tennis, and you focus on playing it more often in order to become more fit, chances are you’ll carry through with that goal. In comparison, a goal such as giving up carbs in order to lose weight isn’t enjoyable and therefore isn’t sustainable.
Change Your Environment, Not Yourself
If you eat on a couch every night while watching TV, shake up your environment or routine. It can prompt you to experiment with a new behavior. Try sitting on a FitBall® for a while. Or move the TV to a different room. Interrupting a pattern can invite behavioral change.
Notice What’s Working
It’s so easy to notice what’s not working. But by noticing what actually is working, you might see the small steps you’ve already taken, the goals you have reached and the accomplishments you can celebrate. In making healthy lifestyle changes, notice what we call Green Mountain Wins: increased energy, better mood, moving without pain, etc. Observing the “smaller successes” leads us toward hope.
Focusing on what actually is working can remind us that our motivation never went away – it just needed to be rediscovered and redirected in a more positive way.
Are you ready to end struggles with food cravings and weight? We’ve been helping women make lasting changes since 1973.