31 May 2016 Staying Motivated – What’s Getting in Your Way?

Motivation. What on earth is motivation and why does it matter in terms of your health or weight? For many of you, I don’t need explain. You already know the struggle of having a chronic health condition that requires long-term attention and care. But what is it about staying motivated that is so difficult over time? Why do we get burned out or allow ourselves to drift off course?

I don’t have any “golden rules” or “silver bullets” to solve the problem of waning motivation. But I do have some observations from the years of working with many different clients and patients. Consider these and see if they apply to you. What can you do to stay motivated- that is, stay mindful and engage in behaviors that directly affect your health?

Have you set SMART goals?

I have written about SMART goals before in an earlier post (January 3, 2012) and it is still relevant today. Having a SMART goal means that it is:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

You will be more likely to stay motivated and reach your goal if you can define it clearly for yourself, including how long it should take you to reach it.

Is This Really Your Goal or Someone Else’s Goal?

Examine your health goal – do you believe it is truly important that you reach it? If the goal was declared for you and you don’t believe in it or don’t care about it, then find a different goal that works better for you.

What Has Worked for You in the Past?

If you have been successful in the past in reaching a specific health goal, what did you do? What kind of mindset were you in? Did you have help from others to support your journey? In terms of weight, were you doing anything different in terms of dining out, shopping, meal planning, or meal frequency? Were you walking more or exercising?

Why Did You Stop Engaging in Behaviors That Worked Well for You Before?

Major life events can throw us into a tailspin. Behaviors that were supporting our health get put on a back burner for a number of reasons. Even changes that are happy or positive can disrupt behaviors that used to support our health. For example: getting married, having children, changing jobs, more travel, more dining out, etc.

My challenge to you – can you decide that your own health and wellbeing are important enough to motivate you to shift your focus a little bit more to yourself? If you tell me you don’t have time

because of the children or your elderly parent, then I’ll tell you that you’ll have to either make time now or make even more time later. Poor self-care will only mean your health condition gets worse, possibly requiring a lot more time and attention at a later time.

Have You Experienced Severe Loss?

Difficult and sad events can pose a huge challenge for staying the course to protect and support our health. Consider divorce, loss of work, injury, dealing with a very troubled family member, or the death of a loved one. These types of life events can plunge us into a state of constant caring for others, or possibly a feeling of numbness, despair or depression.

My challenge to you in this case is – what can you do to replenish your mind, spirit, or body? Do you need professional support or guidance to help you get through this difficult time? Are you in bereavement or has it progressed into full blown depression? Depression can interfere with your ability to meet long term goals that require regular attention and juggling of time.

So, the next time you ask someone to “motivate” you, I want you to ask yourself that very same question. What will motivate you to reach your health goal? And then ask for the help you need to reach those practical goals you truly believe are right for you.

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Weight Loss/Motivation Weight Gain/Unwanted Weight Gain Weight Maintenance/Motivation

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