Today I was asked a great question by one of my Instagram followers.
“How do you stay motivated?”
I gave it some thought, and presented a quick answer to her, but I knew it was very simplified and wasn’t quite good enough for me.
How do I stay motivated?
Each time I’ve attempted weight loss, there has been a different motivating factor. Sometime the catalyst has been inability to fit on my favorite amusement park rides. Other times, being jealous of people doing things that I want to do have motivated me. Motivation to lose weight can come easily and unexpectedly to all of us. We all have that spark that ignites a fire in us to eat better and go to the gym a few times a week. But like all flames, it dies out if the fire is not tended to.
So how to we use that initial spark to ignite a eternal flame?
Not an easy answer, that’s for sure. For each of us it will be different. Here’s how I do it.
Don’t let the scale dictate where you are. When the psychiatrist at my surgeon’s office asked me what goal weight would make me feel successful, I told her that I didn’t have one. Being able to do the things I want to do, without being in pain, limited by size, being winded or other setbacks caused by obesity, will make me feel like my surgery was a success.
Set one gigantic realistic goal. When I set out on my weight loss surgery journey, the great outdoors was my motivator. I am a fan and supporter of our National Parks, and I love to hike. So I set a goal that I wanted to hike to the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite. The Half Dome hike is about 14 miles long, and has a rise of over a mile above sea level. It’ been listed in the 10 most dangerous hike in the US (based on deaths that occur on it each year). More here: http://www.backpacker.com/trips/california/yosemite-national-park/america-s-10-most-dangerous-hikes-mist-trail-half-dome-ca/
I got numerous books on Half Dome and Yosemite. I study it every chance I get. I have a poster of it, I have it as my computer desktop background, I follower Yosemite hiking groups on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. By having constant reminders of my goal around me, I never lose interest.
Set small daily goals. Have you seen the movie What About Bob? If not, you need to, it’s a classic. In it, a psychiatrist has a book called “Baby Steps” in which he teaches his patients that “It means setting small reasonable goals for yourself, one day at a time, one tiny step at a time”
For example, set a goal that you’ll bring your lunch from home 2 days a week instead of eating out. When the goal is completed, you’ll feel great! Increase that 4 days a week for the following week, and you’re on the way to making better eating decisions and likely saving money! Set a goal to get your daily recommended protein in for one day. Then repeat it the next day. Making small, easily achievable goals is key. You’ll find that when you make a goal, and achieve the goal, no matter how silly or small it may be, that you’ll feel great when it’s met. Failure of meeting a goal only brings us down. Don’t set goals you can’t meet. Start with easy things and work your way up. You may want to run a marathon one day, but today isn’t that day. Today you can walk to the end of the driveway and back. Tomorrow you can walk a half mile and back. Take baby steps.
Find others like you. By joining online support groups, local support groups, blogs, or message boards you will see that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There are many others like you. They hurt the same, love the same, smile the same, and want the same things you do. Being engaged in a like-minded community lets you share your experiences so others can learn, and allows you to read of how others coped in a certain situation. Advice is given and advice is there for the taking. But…don’t be a bystander…be a part of it. Be active.
Motivate others. You’d be surprised that finding ways to motivate others is one of the best ways to motivate yourself. If you use Pinterest, start a board for motivational quotes and memes. Search for weight loss quotes, exercise tips and healthy recipes. Go back and browse that board to review all your pins and you may find motivation! Try this on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or on other social media pages.
The Power of The Playlist I love music. In fact, as I write this, I am saddened to hear of the death of Cream bassist, Jack Bruce. He was one of my favorites. Anyway…music is powerful. There are so many great songwriters to listen to . My theme song has become “Walk” by the Foo Fighters. Every lyric related to my weight loss journey
“I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?”
Make a playlist of positive, motivational songs and play it whenever you need a lift.
This is only the tip of a rather large iceberg. There isn’t one way to stay motivated. It’s a combination of trial, error, music, art, goals, blood, sweat, tears, dreams, and positivity. You’re going to have bumps in the road, we all do. but we have to keep going forward, having learned from our pasts, and make the right choices to meet our goals. We all want to have, or have had, weight loss surgery and weight loss because we weren’t happy with our lives. Motivation allows us to develop the new self, our real self, and to enhance our lives. Ignite the spark and keep your fire burning bright.