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Staying Motivated

March 23, 2010

Last night I went out with my friend dear friend Amy and we did what we do best: consume carbohydrates. I’m sure everything I did last night was totally the opposite of what I “should” do to achieve the fitness goals I talked about yesterday. Unless beer, brownies, 1/2 a smallish pizza, various foodstuffs covered in peanut sauce, and more beer are good for toning up? That’s what I thought. (I did manage to do my upper body and abs strength training in the morning, though!)

Luckily, I do not care one teensy bit about the over indulgence. I had so much fun and brought home a wonderful little piece of motivation:

Hand drawn with (semi-intoxicated?) love

Yes, of course I am. But you forgot to mention I already look awesome. Ahem.

What they heck is this thing that I spent time and energy scanning at 5:30 in the morning to put onto this blog post that 6 people may or may not read? It’s a “card” that Amy made for me out of the back of a pack of gum. She made it right in front of me. Because she was too lazy to go to the store on her lunch break to get me a card, now that she’s a high-powered executive. But enough about her (sorry, Amy).

Let’s talk about staying motivated after the blush of a new goal fades. After the enthusiasm garnered from the motivational card your friend gives you disappears. After the sound of the woman’s voice on the workout DVD drives you to consume a half pound of peanut M&Ms while you jazzercise.

Motivation: Stage One (Yay for goals!)

When you first set a goal, whether it’s to pick a new career, find a man, lose weight, get that spinach out of your teeth, or learn to speak a foreign language, you’re going to be excited. Motivated. Ready to go!

You’ll probably start strong. You’ll feel that excitement in the pit of your stomach. You may even spend time researching, planning, making lists, and buying extra minty floss.

This is the fun part. And then, you hit stage two.

Motivation:Stage Two (Um…what goal? Oh, yeah, that one.)

You’re bored. It’s been a week, a month, or maybe even longer if you started out super motivated. But now you’re really, really sick of trying to learn Portuguese, eating rice cakes and yogurt, or researching what it would take to become a man-eater.

What to do? Here are some ideas that I may have tried or think would be funny to see you try:

  • Re-evaluate your original goal. Was it realistic? If you’ve picked something that is going to overwhelm you very quickly, perhaps you can halve your goal, or alter it slightly. Instead of finding a husband and getting married in Paris at sunset in three months, why not extend your time line to a year?
  • Search for that spark. Look back at any notes you may have made when you first started, and see if you can find what you were really trying to achieve. Happiness? Peace of mind? Something to do? What is your true motivation for achieving the goal you set? If you can’t remember why you wanted to lose weight in the first place, you’re probably going to give up and eat lots of cheese.
  • Partner up! I am beginning to believe that having a partner is one of the most important tools in achieving a goal. We all have amazing strengths, but we all have weaknesses, too, and having someone in your life who balances out your weakness is essential to achieving goals. This doesn’t mean this person actually achieves your goal for you, but they can help you get through the tough stuff that you don’t want to do. If you want to research the best methods for spinach-removal but can’t stand going to the library or sitting at a computer for any longer than it takes to update your Facebook page, you’re going to need someone to help you. If you start strong and fast and burn out after a short time, you’re also going to need someone to help you. Bottom line: we all need help.

Motivation: Stage Three (I’m back on track!)

Hopefully you’ve found a way to stay on track and get re-motivated. Is that a word? I really need to start typing these things when I’m awake. Now that you have, how are you going to stay on track?

I would love to answer that question for you, but I need to remove the cat from my lap, pull on my workout pants, and go strength train. Because I’m still in Stage One. Wish me luck.

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