Motivation is different for everyone. For me, it is personally driven by a combination of mental strength, willpower, determination, drive, forgiveness, and most importantly: WANT. Ok, that is great, Jess, but how do I get these things? This is where motivation becomes tricky. You must be self-motivated to become motivated! Personally, I believe motivation is difficult to find because living a healthy and active lifestyle seems to revolve around negative influence placed by societal values and ideas. I feel many sources seem to suggest that dieting and exercising is miserable because we feel obligated to workout and miss out on enjoying the foods we love by “dieting”. This mindset sets you up for failure because you go into it with the attitude that this is something I will not enjoy. I have tried running in the past because I saw my parents doing it and how effective it was, but as it turns out: I hate running, so I do not run. BBG is a program I have found that not only provides me joy but is a fun challenge as I constantly learn what my body is capable of doing! I do not diet, nor am I on a “diet”. I eat well because it is what my body deserves and I prefer to nourish it with healthy foods. Motivation is not just about being self motivated, it is about being motivated for the right reasons! So what is the difference between negative and positive motivation?
I used to think that the only way I would be valued or have any sense of worth was if I lost weight and became skinny. This negative talk was self sabotaging. For years I thought this way, and because of it, I have missed many important life opportunities. I placed too high of an emphasis on what I looked like instead of channeling my energies and designing my thoughts into defining who I am. I started my fitness journey with a negative internal motivation. However, once I changed my mindset from “I need to lose weight to be accepted by others and myself” to “I want to lose weight because I want to become healthy, fit, and confident. Being happy and content is something I value more than how skinny I think I need to be” my motivation became lasting. If you feel like you need to exercise to be accepted by others or be attractive to a potential significant other, then this is an outward negative influence. If you feel like losing weight is the only way you will love yourself then this is an internal negative influence. These negative influences seem to stem from embarrassment, shame, and become a cause and effect, “If I loose weight, then I will be attractive enough to find a significant other”. If you redirect your thoughts into this is important to me and I value being healthy and happy, then this becomes a fundamental positive influence.
To find the right motivation, you must ask yourself why you want to start a fitness regiment and get into shape. Then question: Is this a positive or negative motivation? Is it a constructive or destructive ideal? What does this contribute to my life, happiness or self harm? I am going to be blunt here. If the reasons you want to lose weight or start a fitness routine stems from negative motivational factors, then you will be setting yourself up for failure. This can lead to burn out, frustration with progress, and potential feelings of inadequacy. How do I know this? I have been there!! If this is the motivation you tend to find yourself stuck in, please know all is not lost! You can become motivated for the right reasons, but you must change your mindset first. Our mind is a powerful tool. Exercise it well by filling it will optimism and positive emotion. Find your motivational independence by seeking the core values to lose weight that stem from a source of positivity. This internal force is because YOU have made the decision to make a positive change for the right reasons. This leads to excitement, joy, and maintained motivation. Motivation definitely requires practice. I found it easiest to maintain this positive motivation by setting realistic goals. My journey did not begin with the intentions of losing “X” amount of weight. My goal was to become fit, healthy, and happy. There is no easy or quick method to learn how to love yourself or feel worthy of love. These negative motivational factors take time because the process of being loved and loving yourself requires mental and emotional healing. No amount of burpees will bring you this therapy. If your motivation is health or strength based, both positive factors, then it is easier to set goals to achieve these things. If you want to become healthy you can, for example, say you will start by eating clean on the weekdays. If your goal is to become strong you can set a goal to be able to do 10 pushups or pull-ups in a row. These are much easier and far more manageable goals to maintain and achieve. The desire to do and be better becomes effortless once you start accomplishing these little goals. Once you find that you are capable of not just meeting these goals, but exceeding them, the self love follows.
Maintaining a positive mindset leads to sustained motivation, at least in my experience. To find this internal and lasting positive motivation, you must look to your internal being. Who are you? What do you enjoy? Does this lifestyle bring joy and fulfillment to your internal being? If no, then maybe it is not the right exercise routine for you. Just because the crowd is doing it doesn’t mean it is necessarily right for you. Find what ignites your inner fire, what brings you the most joy, and pursue that with all your energy. I am finally on a path of success because my motivation changed. I no longer want to be skinny. I want to be fit. I do not want to live a restrictive lifestyle. I want to live a lifestyle that is healthy and happy. I do not feel like I need to change. I want to change. I also no longer feel the need to look a certain way in order to be worthy of love and “enoughness”. Because I have learned I have always been worthy and enough just as I am. Our bodies do not define our worth. Our hearts and minds do. And because you are a soul with a working mind and loving heart, you are enough and worthy of all that you desire. Always remember that as you find what motivates you!