Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How Do I stay Motivated?

"My biggest concern is how to stay motivated? There are days when
I just don't care. I have to deal with Chronic Clinical Depression
and Situational Depression and am currently taking 4 different
drugs in order to try and stay on an even keel."

Staying motivated is a problem for many people who find that they start, then rapidly stop, practically every diet or exercise plan that they start.

Shame really, because motivation is a pretty simple thing to understand and use once it's explained properly.

It all comes down to 3 things.

1. Need - We're most motivated by things we NEED. For example, hen you need food, water or even air and thoose things are taken away from you, you'll do all you can to get 'em back.

The trouble is, we're rarely in situations where the need is high enough for us to take action.

Most of us have ample food and water and (hopefully) more than enough air to satisfy basic physiological needs and so we tend to use a different value system to drive us on...

2. Desire - Whilst our needs are few, our desires are practically unlimited and this is both a good and a bad thing for those of us struggling with motivation.

It's good because we can literally choose our goals from anything we want and spend our time hoping, wishing and dreaming for them to become a reality.

It's bad because, the more choices we feel are open to us, the less action we tend to take. Paralysis by analysis.

3. Consistency - An action performed over and over soon becomes habituated and because of this, it's far easier for us to perform. Vital with exercise programs and diets, you'll agree, but the trouble is, we rarely get to this as the usual plans are 'moderate' asking for only minor changes to your diet and allowing cheating as a matter of course.

Theis creates duality of habits where you're kind of stuck in limbo, not completely committed to the diet and exercise, but not quite off of it.

The best way to use these three steps is simple.

First, create a list of desires around your health and your physical appearance.

Make them specific and motivating enough that you feel 'ired up' about achieving them.

Second, pick one or two of them and turn them into needs by attaching strong values and visions to making them happen. Think of what it'll be like if you don't reach those goals, what you'll feel like if you have to go on living the way you are now.

Third, make the decision to stay with your plan until it's achieved. No if's, no but's. Your goal WILL be achieved because you're committed to it and that's that.

Fourth, make a list of your most common excuses for dropping out of your diet or exercise plan and answer them in advance whilst you're feeling motivated and upbeat. For example, if a common excuse is "I'm too tired to exercise" you might write 'It's only 10 minutes and I know I'll feel better once I've done it'

Fifth, commit to all or nothing.

No half measures, no cheat days, no 'well just this once' or 'a little won't hurt'. This is the slippery slope that steals your results, your enthusiasm and your happiness.

Stick with it 100% until the goal is achieved and THEN reward yourself. Don't reward 'bad' behaviour or you'll only get more.


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