“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”- Carl Rogers
I was reminded of this quote by a question I received this week (thank you for asking, your questions are always appreciated!) about how to get motivated when you are stuck in a rut. In many of my posts I write about motivation, about how the small steps we take lead to the big changes we want to see and feel. But what happens when you want to start the journey but you feel your feet are stuck in cement? Putting stipulations on yourself is natural, thinking “I’ll be happy when…” is a common problem in fitness and in life. When you are feeling down about yourself and your fitness level it’s hard to get motivated to change. When a client shows up for their first session they usually look at that as their first step, but I know it is actually their second. The first step towards health and fitness happens internally. It is the moment when you decide that you are worth the time and effort needed to improve your quality of life. It’s the moment when you let go of who you were and who you want to become and look at who you are presently. In order to spur the process of change you need come to terms with where you are now and work from there. Start with some simple day to day exercises:
-Practice gratitude: Sure, your life isn’t perfect but focusing on the negative will only keep you from moving forward. Focusing on the things that are right in your life no matter how small can give you the energy to improve upon what is not right. Listing a few things every day (the car started, you made it to work on time) can assist in changing your perception.
-Be kind to yourself: Maybe you didn’t work out every single day this week but that doesn’t mean you are a complete failure. Celebrate the things you do that impact your health in a positive way, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Congratulate yourself for choosing an apple instead of a brownie for your afternoon snack or taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. We all enjoy being recognized for what we do right, why not give yourself some much needed recognition?
-Look at eating healthy and exercising as self-nourishment, not self torture: The desire to eat right and exercise comes from a very positive place, so don’t ruin it by placing unrealistic and unhealthy expectations on yourself. Resigning yourself to a life of eating only rice cakes and spending 5 hours a day on the treadmill is not the way to go. Instead of restricting yourself, treat yourself to a new fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried or take up a new activity that you’ve always been curious about. Don’t question your initial instincts, find what inspires you and go for it. It doesn’t have to be what inspires everyone else, so long as it gets you moving in the right direction.
-Get some support: You don’t have to go it alone. Getting support from others, whether it be in a group class or online will help you reach your goals faster. Being held accountable for your actions gives you a sense of purpose and achievement. Reach out to others through online weight loss websites, joining a local exercise group, or even posting your goals and achievements on Facebook. This will add some external motivation to your internal motivation.
As always, questions are suggestions are always welcomed. Have you tried any of these steps? Do you have some others you might recommend? Feel free to post below or click on the “Get Your Fitness Questions Answered for Free” tab to join the conversation!