It's a rare beast that doesn't get stuck from time to time. For most of us, getting stuck in the land of demotivation is all too easy and all too common. So many things get in the way and suck us into the abyss of inactivity. Whether it's work, family, vacations, illness, injury, unrealistic expectations, overdoing it, or one of the biggest causes--negative self-talk, there are things you can do to pull yourself out and get back on the path to fitness. I want you to really appreciate that simply recognizing that you have control over your path to fitness means you have the power to create the outcome you really want. So, with the recognition that you are ultimately in control, but because we're all different and we experience the world around us in different ways, you may find that some of the ideas listed below work for you and some don't work for you right away. Be willing to give everything a try, take notes, and analyze the result. If it works, use it, if it doesn't, even after giving it a solid shot, try something different.
First a quiz: Think about the following, "Imagine a whirlpool. If you're outside of the whirlpool, you don't feel the power of its draw. As you get closer, and start getting sucked into the swirl, you begin to feel the strength of the energy pulling you deeper toward the center. You gradually pick up speed as you move toward the center until you are pulled into the vortex." Before reading on, answer the question "what happens next." Does your ending most closely match: (A) You drown. (B) You manage to fight against the force and pull yourself out. (C) You are transported to a tropical paradise where you are sipping fresh coconut juice and getting a massage. There is no right or wrong answer, but this question gives you an opportunity to pay attention to your inner self-dialog. If you chose C, your mind took you to a positive and beneficial outcome. If you chose A or B, consider that your mind took you either to a place of failure or a place of struggle. If given the opportunity to go back and select a different answer, would you choose C? If you answered yes, realize that you have the same ability to change your mindset, and just as easily. Think of a positive mindset as a muscle that has to be exercised in order for it to be strong enough to prevail when the heavy lifting is needed.
So, the first place to start is to come at life with a positive, can-do attitude. And every time that you notice that you are out of alignment with having a positive, can-do attitude, switch it back on. (It doesn't matter if you need to do this 1000 times per day or once, just pay attention to your attitude and do it!)
Because we humans are great at putting obstacles in our own way, it's also a good idea to have an understanding in how it is that we turn ourselves away from that positive, can-do attitude. To gain that understanding, we need to examine the path that lead up to today. We don't need to get stuck on anything or judge ourselves, but simply notice what can be learned from the events that lead us to the present. Further, with the knowledge we've gained we can notice the obstacles before they're blocking our way and choose a different path.
Knowing that you can turn on your positive, can-do attitude at will and can choose a different path to avoid obstacles, the big question of "why" needs to be answered. Why are you on the path to fitness? It's important to dig deep here and be super honest with yourself. Don't just rely on the first answers that come to your mind. Whatever answers you come up with, ask why that reason is important to you. Again, ask why that reason is important. Only you need to know the true reasons why you want to be on the path to fitness, so, again, be super honest with yourself. The reason you need to do this is because often times the first reasons that come to mind aren't going to provide sufficient motivation to keep turning on that positive, can-do attitude when your mind is enticing you to do things that take you away from the path.
I advise people that there are two types of goals. Process Goals and Outcome Goals. When most of us set goals, we tend to set outcome goals. "I will lose 25 lbs" or "I will gain 5 lbs of muscle" are these sorts of goals, and ones that my clients initially arrive with. What I tell them is that those are fine targets, but they are problematic goals. The reason is that outcome goals are usually made with a crystal ball approach. We don't really know if what we are setting for a goal is appropriate, accurate or achievable or if we will change course.
Instead of outcome goals, we can set targets, but what will actually help us get there are the processes we put in place to change our lifestyle and the subsequent manifestation of that lifestyle on our bodies. By focusing on the day to day elements of our actions, the results take care of themselves, and it's directly measurable, doable, and sustainable. The four major elements we need to focus on are consistent moderate to vigorous movement, consistent attention to appropriate nutrition, consistent reorientation toward a positive can-do mindset and consistent rejuvenative and regenerative practices. This is one of the area where the professionals here at Proactive Evolution Fitness help you shine because we set you up with a plan and help you stay motivated for these daily processes.
When I say planning, I'm talking about thinking through the ways you might be sabotaged and coming up with strategies to avoid those roadblocks or diversions. Of course, you can't think of everything, but start with the areas where you have been sabotaged before. If you find that you're not working out because after you get home from work you don't want to leave the house, try packing your gym bag and going to the gym before you go home. If you find you're eating cookies and candies at work, plan to eat something healthy by bringing snacks that aren't going to take you off course. Just keep adding to your library of appropriate responses and then when situations arise, you'll be ready to respond.
Real growth happens in those moments when you relax and allow the stresses you place on your mind and body to dissipate. What that means is that when you workout hard and you fight against all the ways you sabotage yourself, you also need time in your week where you let go. At the beginning, give workout three to four times per week, and once a week, allow yourself an indulgence meal. As you start to get comfortable with your fitness practices, say after every two or three weeks, decrease the number of non-exercise days, and continue that until you are working out 6 days per week with one rest day. The weekly indulgence meal is just one meal per week where you can eat whatever you want. Plan it. Put it in your calendar. Whether it's a waffle breakfast on Sunday morning or a night out with your friends on Friday evening doesn't matter. Letting yourself have whatever you want for that one meal still puts you in the 95% success rate. The interesting thing that I found on my weight loss journey was that as time progressed I began to actually notice the difference in the way my body and mind felt after I ate things which before were my go-to indulgence foods. When I ate those favorite indulgence foods I felt bloated, sluggish, depressed or distracted. From that space of not feeling
And don't forget using social inspiration and perpetual motion to your advantage. More on those elements to come.