Action sparks motivation.
Don’t I first need to be motivated in order to start my action?
If I’m not motivated, what’s going to get me going?
Why Don’t We Achieve Our Goals?
We are almost to the month of March, Springtime and soon-to-come sunshine with warmth! Just a few months ago, we had celebrated the start of a new year with hopeful resolutions we wanted to come true. Did you make any New Year’s resolutions to get in shape or lose weight? These are two common resolutions people tend to make with the best of intentions. But, intentions carry no real power. Unspecified goals, minimal planning, and expecting motivation to keep you going all play a part in why 80% of people who start these health-oriented goals never reach their destination.
Goals or intentions like, “I will exercise more…I will eat more vegetables…I will make more money,” don’t work. “More” is not a goal. More is a never-ending, always in the future, unattainable place. You never know when you get to “more” because, well, there’s always opportunity for more! It’s up there with “someday” and “sometime.” It’s a magical place that is elusive, and somewhat comfortable because it’s safely in a predictable future that never really manifests, but holds the promise that one day it will.
When you set out to reach a goal, you need a plan. Goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time/amount specific (SMART for easier memory recall). Your plan determines how you will get there. Take some time to actually put pen to paper and write down your SMART plan.
Don’t Wait For Motivation
Once you have a plan, DO NOT wait to feel motivated to start. Motivation is like a bad boyfriend or girlfriend. You can’t count on it because it’s fleeting, inconsistent, and undependable.
Action is what gets you motivated!! Action starts the process. Take the first step in implementing your plan, even if you don’t feel like it. Then, do it again the next day. Go back and reread our blog on the power of small.
Small steps work big things! The action of doing something creates its own motivation. Once you do it, you feel good. You feel accomplished and NOW you feel motivated. That’s how it works!
If you want to start achieving your goals, don’t wait until you’re motivated to take action. Take action anyway, even when you don’t feel like it, because it’s part of the plan you created, and that plan leads you to achieving your goals. Sticking to the plan keeps you on course. It’s like brushing your teeth, or flossing. I don’t know about you, but I’m not necessarily “motivated” when I’m brushing and flossing, I just know that I want clean, healthy teeth and gums (and fresh breath), so I do it. Same with putting away laundry, or any other effort you feel is not always exciting (yet could be – turning on music helps me with cleaning my house), but needs to get done.
Some things to keep in mind as you begin your plan:
- Know that you will be uncomfortable in the beginning. Anytime we change our usual patterns for something else will cause a certain level of anxiety.
- The above will be true physically as well. If your goal is to become physically fit, at first, it may be hard, you may get sore, or out of breath. You may tell yourself you don’t like it. These feelings validate your progress and progress gets you closer to reaching your goal.
- Instead of focusing on how your action is, tell yourself a different, more helpful and supportive story. Words such as I’m getting stronger, or more fit, or healthier with each step I take, or each push- up I do, will encourage you to keep going. Focus on positive-oriented and encouraging words. Muscles and bones adapt to whatever challenge you give them. If they have no challenge, they stay the same or regress. Muscles grow when you work them. This is true in all areas of life. Think of the challenge as growth. Motivation isn’t going to be what pushes you through the tough spots. It’s the process of doing it.
The Key: Just Get Started!
I always ask my clients how they feel after their workout ends, and they always feel better than before they started. The same thing happened to me just yesterday. I got home after a day of training clients and driving all over town. The LAST thing I felt like doing was putting on my workout clothes and heading to my basement gym. All I wanted to do was pour a glass of wine, put on my PJs, make some dinner and snuggle with my puppy. But, I reminded myself of my health goals and decided I would at least put on workout clothes and just walk (see, a small step) on my Woodway treadmill. Guess what happened?! I started with just walking, and then I became motivated. I ended up doing a full workout and I felt so much better after having done it!
Action towards a goal begets motivation. We’re not always motivated before we start, but once we’ve started, we’re more likely to be motivated to continue, or do the same thing the next day. It’s time to reverse these two words. Do the action first, enjoy newfound motivation as a result!
Active-ist for your health,