How To Find Motivation When There Is No Finish Line

grumpy cat motivation

Eyes on the prize.

You wanted the extra TWO days of vacation more than you wanted the double fudge brownie. You needed to win the office Biggest Loser challenge more than you needed to go to happy hour with the girls. You baked extra chicken breasts on the weekend, walked on the treadmill while you caught up on Scandal and said no to your husband’s offer for dinner out on Valentine’s Day because SOMEONE (grrr) decided the office weigh-in should be February 15.

You persevered and you did it! You won!

With that extra time banked for a much need family camping trip this summer, you breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy a salted caramel truffle from the heart shaped box your husband surprised you with. (He’s not very good at following instructions.)

Tuesday arrives and you drive right past the gym on the way home. You know you should keep up with your routine but you need to catch up on the laundry. When you get home the last of the chicken is gone, everyone is hungry and no one wants to cook. How about pizza?

The slippery post challenge slop has begun…

The thrill of a big goal is often a POWERFUL motivator but even the most determined competitor takes time off. How do you stay true to your healthy habits when the pressure is off and there isn’t a prize on the line?

Motivation is overrated. It’s all about staying COMMITTED.

That’s the real secret to a healthy and happy fit life.  Challenges, competitions and races can be a part of what keeps you committed as long as you go about it with three very important things in mind.

Connect to your big picture goal.

Whatever kind of competition you choose to participate in you have to connect it with something that lasts longer than 30 days (or however long the program lasts). Take a step back and figure out what the ultimate goal is. Create your Fitness Vision – a picture of your ideal self in five years. Paint a vivid picture of your life, what you’re doing and how you feel. Then make it concrete by writing it down, creating a vision board or drawing a picture.  Use your fitness vision as a guide to create healthier habits that you can sustain as well as help you hit the mark for the short-term goals you’ve set. If you see yourself running a marathon you need to make sure your training plan not only builds your base but also helps keep you running injury free long term.  Starving yourself to win a pot of money in a four-week weight loss challenge won’t help you keep muscle you might want to hike the Inca Trail.

It’s not always about winning.

 Entering a contest or challenge doesn’t always have to be about the big prize. It can be about getting inspired by a group of other women pursuing a common goal. If new workouts and meal plans or coaching support is being provided take it and learn all you can! Use these tools to examine what you’ve been doing and figure out what “healthy habits” might actually be holding you back.  For example, fruit is great but you can overeat anything.  A new plan might make you shift to more vegetables with less fruit. It’s a simple and sustainable change but one that can reap positive benefits on your physique and health numbers.

Don’t swing to far one way or the other.

If you are super competitive and the WIN is what gets you going, be careful not to set yourself up for future failure by going to the extreme. The boomerang effect is a powerful one. You may want to skip the wine after dinner a few weeks before the big finale but cutting out EVERYTHING that makes you happy will only make you crave it more. Pick one thing you love and have a bit of it without guilt. You can find many ways to get your chocolate/salt/pasta craving without going overboard. I love a good protein mug cake to get my chocolate fix without a sugar crash and burn. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally have piece of dark chocolate with my tea too. I don’t have it every night but I also have never made it completely off limits, even when I am trying to lean out for a photo shoot.

If these tips aren’t enough to help you stay committed, maybe you need a full time coach. Better yet, maybe you need the tools to help you become your own coach. I invite you to take a look at my new book, Motivation Is Made Not Found, to find more tips like these to help you make your own motivation whenever you need it. It’s a collection of my best essays on motivation and a blue print to help create your motivation daily and stay committed. It’s on sale till February 29 so don’t wait till the next office wellness challenge to check it out!

If you are ready for the next competition or challenge, I am pretty sure Michelle has an idea or two. ;)

MotivationIsMade720

 

About Pamela:

Pamela and I met at Idea World many moons ago and connected view our shared introvert habits. She has been a blessing and joy to my life, adding value every time we speak. She keeps a wonderful blog: www.thrivepersonalfitness.com filled with up to the minute tips about real health and fitness. She has a passion to help other women realize their true potential and love their bodies by harnessing the power of fitness and nutrition.

You can find Pamela on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest  and  YouTube

 

 

 

 

Oh the Vanity!

I have struggled with this post for weeks now….so I figure throwing it out just before I step on a plane is the best thing to do :)

I have a confession to make: I work in a vain industry. That can be hard to adjust to, but it is inherently, the truth. I have defended the fitness industry for nearly a decade now, but have recently come to realize what it is all about.

This is NOT to say that I don’t believe in what I do. Health is comprised of nutrition and fitness, along with spiritual health (first place!) and mental health. Here is the issues I face though: vanity tends to be the #1 reason most people seek out fitness. Nutrition? That is the most treasured, yet least sought after. We want the quick fix. We want the weight that has been hanging on for 4 years (or more) to fall off in time for Summer. I do believe in the power of the mind, but some take it too far.

Why is it bothering me now?

Well, I have seen the faces of the truly needy. I have held hands with those who have been beaten and tortured. I have talked with people who feel they are unworthy to be loved. The problem is that during my “day job” I also talk to people who don’t like the way their butt jiggles. I have spoken with those who are blithely unaware of real starvation, yet willing to starve their own body into submission. I have held the hand of those in tears…because they haven’t lost the baby weight.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to mesh these 2 worlds. I believe fitness can be extremely empowering and I believe a base knowledge of nutrition can help us avoid disease. I love what I do! Yet it feels like a daily parade of never-ending “I wants” drowning out the true needs.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bring you down…I do think a change in perspective is in order though.

I have a personal story about that and it has unfolded just over the past few months. You see, I was into the vanity part of fitness (admitting you have a problem is the first step!). I paid undo attention to my clothing size and how the muscles of my body were shaped. And I truly hated jiggle. So, I spent hours in the gym and pumped my body with protein to grow tight and lean….and it was all going according to plan, until it didn’t. I began having joint issues, then all of the sudden my strength just gave out. Poof, done. I wouldn’t stop though and simply adjusted over the years. Finally, over the last 6 weeks, I have been living out a promise I made to myself at the beginning of the Summer. It’s working. I had told myself I wouldn’t worry about weight or size, I would do yoga, walk and whatever truly felt good. And that is precisely what I have done. I discovered that I had developed an intolerance to gluten, yeast, eggs and whey….so my diet has none of that (or as little as possible). I eat for energy and to feel good. I move daily, but never push myself too hard (no pain, all gain).

This is a different approach for me. I have been in a “weight loss” phase since I was 9 years old people! I have always struggled to keep my weight down. I’ll admit I was quite fearful embarking on this feel good approach, but guess what? My weight hasn’t been an issue. I don’t weight, but my clothes have gotten much looser and my belly doesn’t struggle with the pooch anymore. It’s like my body finally got happy because it was allowed to be happy.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If I was needing to lose 50 pounds (I’ve been at that doctor appointment love), this relaxed approach probably wouldn’t work. My thought is this though: stop trying to beat yourself up about it. It really is a lifestyle and honestly, yours should look different from everybody else. You can’t punish your body into changing 30 years of damage in 2 weeks, no matter what the infomercial says. If you want to try that hard new workout, do it because you want the challenge…not because you think you’re past all hope.

I challenge you to peel back the corners of your world and think bigger. Take a deep breath and take in the bigger picture because the world is a whole lot bigger than your butt! Once your mind can get focused on something other than your own perceived failures, you’re more free to make the needed changes.

Michelle

Top Ten Ways To Lighten UP for Summer

As we approach the warmer months, here are my top 10 ways to lighten the load and start your Summer off feeling a bit more comfortable :)

  1. Start light. I know this may seem counter-intuitive to some (I even believed and preached the “big breakfast” sermon many times!), but research shows that eating a lighter breakfast will actually set you us for a fully functioning digestive system which will lighten you in more ways than one. This will enable your body to assimilate your foods more readily and free up your energy. Think about starting with a whole foods smoothie (bazillion points for green ones!), a fruit plate, some chopped veggies or even some gluten-free toast (I’m really into spelt right now) with smashed avocado and sea salt.
  2. Think nurture, not punish. Instead of hitting the weights first thing or going for sprint training, consider a yoga or Pilates class to start your day. This can help ease any inflammation and aid in digestion, releasing more energy for the rest of your day. Not into either of those? Take a brisk walk instead and save the weights and/or cardio for end of day training.
  3. De-clutter your kitchen. Spend about an hour this weekend chunking out processed foods that don’t make you feel great. Seriously, get rid of them. This process will set you up for success and free up some space in your kitchen which will enable you to feel more comfortable in your space.
  4. Take it to the closet. While you’re at it, take a little time to throw out the clothes you never wear AND the ones that are so ratty it’s really mean to make your family look at you while you wear them :) . I know it’s hard (trust me, I did it a couple of months ago), but in the end your closet and your spirits will feel lighter. The ones that aren’t extremely worn can be washed (please people!) and folded and donated to a local homeless shelter or shelter for abused women.
  5. Evaluate your schedule. Sit down with your to-do list and your actual what-I-really-do-list. Start to cut back on things that suck up your time and make you feel unproductive (Facebook anyone?). This will help you to re-evaluate your priorities and level up your time so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  6. Go outside! Find a wooded path to walk or hike, take your dog out for a walk or go for a soothing bike ride. You can even find outdoor yoga classes this time of year as well. Spending a little time in the fresh air (try jumping on a trampoline for an energy lift!) can reinvigorate your creativity.
  7. Try a new workout. Head to that new Barre class with your friend, try out a hot yoga class, or even check out the latest pole dancing class (of course, you’ll have lunch after!). Trying something new allows your mind to stop overcontrolling everything all the time. It can also allow you to act on a different part of your personality, freeing up some of that stress we hold on to.
  8. BREATHE! When was the last time you sat down, closed your eyes and just took some deep breaths? It sounds corny, but it really does help. Try this: find a comfortable seat anywhere where you can relax…but don’t fall asleep on me. Close your eyes and take a deep inhale through the nose, counting to 6. Hold the breath lightly at the top, then take a slow exhale, counting to 8. Hold at the bottom and repeat. This will send a “Calm Down” signal to the central nervous system and allow your brain to process thoughts and emotions even better.
  9. Plan some leisure time. Summer is not the time to get all up tight. Set aside some time to indulge on reading a book or simply laying in the sun for a bit (SPF please). Play with your children or visit an old friend or neighbor. Set aside thoughts of “I could be doing something productive right now” and just be in the moment. Life is short, enjoy the still moments when you can.
  10. Get off the computer. Really. Click the screen off, place your hands over your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Then stand up and stretch, walk a little and return ready to go…or keep walking :)

Hopefully, you can use these tips to create an enjoyable Summer for yourself and those around you.

Until next week,

Michelle

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