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Motivation Part 2: Strategies

Now that we’ve debunked a few motivation myths, we’re also going to go into ways to generate motivation on a regular basis.

There are a number of ways to do this.

Find your big why. It’s been said that if you have a strong enough why, you can tolerate any how. There must be a deep, inspiring reason for why you’re wanting to eat healthier or exercise more regularly. If you simply want to change your habits for the sake of seeing a different number on the scale, it’s going to be next to impossible to generate motivation. You want to connect your actions and your intentions with your deeper purpose. Why do you want to see that smaller number? Is it because you want peace and freedom in your relationship with food? Is it so you can be the best example of a healthy, happy mom to your kids?

Think about what meaning you want your life to have. How do you want to show up for your family, in your career, in the world? Then, connect this purpose back to your reasons for wanting to change your health and fitness.

If you’re just meditating or going for a walk or planning your healthy meals just ‘because’ or because you ‘should’, you’re not going to be inspired to take action. And even if you do take action, you’re going to feel so much more connected to the activity and your experience will change for the better in a massive way.

Remind yourself of your why and your goals daily. We want to be able to connect to our goals and our purpose on a daily basis because every day is filled with opportunities to move towards our goals. It’s also important to create systems in your life to keep these reminders happening on a daily basis. One way to do this is to use a planner or a journal. Maybe it looks like doing a meditation in the morning where you visualize your long term goals and how they connect to your purpose. Maybe it’s having sticky notes around your home or in your car. Maybe it’s reading your goals with excitement and energy first thing in the morning. Whatever it is, make a commitment to doing something to keep you focused on an ongoing basis.

Find clarity. Getting clear and specific on our goals is a game-changer. If we use vague wording like “I’m going to eat better” or “I’m going to drink more water”, it’s going to be hard to know whether or not we’ve hit the target. By creating specific guidelines for yourself, you will know exactly what you need to do. It gives you a target to work towards. Some goals and actions are going to be harder to define than others, but the important thing is that you know what your standards are. In the example of eating better, maybe your specific strategies are eating at a table without distractions and having protein with every meal.

This apples more to our day-to-day actions and goals. We set our big picture goals because we want to feel a certain way, and there are a  million different ways to achieve feelings like joy, a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment. So be open-minded with your big picture goals, but get specific about the daily actions you’ll take to move towards these feelings.

Use a planner or a journal. One great way is to have a planner or a journal to keep you focused on your goals. This can be a place to write reminders to yourself, to coach yourself through tough times, and to celebrate wins so you’re more fired up to continue along on your journey. This can also generate motivation sustainably and daily. We want a tool that we can continue using indefinitely. If we’re only motivated by our rock bottom moments or by upcoming events in the future like weddings or holidays, we’re not going to stay fired up on a regular basis.

Start small and build up. Sometimes, we set ourselves up for failure with lofty, intense goals when we don’t have a solid foundation. But consistency trumps intensity every time. If you have been struggling to get consistent with something like exercise or meditation, start small and get consistent. Maybe aim for five minutes of exercise or three minutes of meditation, and prioritize getting consistent before anything else. Once you’ve become consistent and generated motivation from your consistent action, you can start to do extra beyond your baseline.

These are a few keys to continue generating motivation so that you stay inspired and focused on achieving any goal you set for yourself.