- What do all overwhelming experiences have in common?
- Learn the #1 thing that helps you stay motivated
- You’ll love the “magic” that helps new habits STICK
During high school I trained to be a lifeguard on Saturday’s and Sundays. I was either at school or in the pool… I never had time to unplug.
From Grade 9 until the end of Teacher’s College I wrestled with my weight. One day I hit rock bottom… and had no idea how to climb out.
After developing Who Is NOBODY? the next stage was even busier. Often I’d get just a few hours sleep before driving to another city to present at an early morning meeting… then I’d do it all over again.
And recently I joined The Healthy Butcher’s 28-Day Health Challenge. I scanned the to-do list:
- drink 32 ounces of water/day
- write 16 letters of gratitude
- meditate 15 minutes/day (that’s a 7 hour commitment!)
- post 1 home-cooked meal to social media/day
- volunteer with a charity
- read 4 self-help books
& 10 more activities, on top of my regular routine… finishing the 1st day was a victory all on its own.
What do these experiences have in common?
They were all overwhelming.
It felt like they’d last FOREVER.
And a tiny voice in my head kept nagging me to quit.
Have you ever asked yourself: How can I stay motivated?
Maybe you’ve had a tyrannical teacher. Or child going through the “Terrible Twos”. A budget that doesn’t stretch far enough to do anything fun. Or a hair cut you HATED.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve had a complicated relationship with food. Or you just want to lose weight and wonder how you’ll get from “here” to being healthy.
When you’re going through something difficult, it feels like it will NEVER ennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd. Like you’ll be stuck in the situation forever.
…That’s when it’s hard to stay motivated.
I used to feel that way a lot.
But when we lost our first pet my perspective changed. Alex turned it around.
Devastated he said:
Those words were a huge ah-ha moment for me.
It made me think about other things I love that didn’t last.
Even small things, like the 2nd hand clothing shop that used to be at the top of our street; it had a quarterly clothing sale called Stuff-a-bag-for-20-bucks! It was nothing short of AMAZING. I used to carbo-load at night and warm-up before I went in (!) It was competitive. And because there was nothing to lose, I picked clothes I wouldn’t normally choose; a dream for someone like me who spent a decade trying to camouflage their extra weight rather than experiment.
My dog (who’s a palliative foster due to severe anxiety) goes everywhere with me. He was always a big help on stuff-a-bag day 🙂
So remember… no matter how far we are from the finish line, we WILL arrive, whether we want to or not.
And no matter how bad things are, if you keep moving forward things will get better; your child will turn 3. Your hair will grow out!
These truths help me focus on TODAY. And feel more optimistic.
Understanding that things WILL change helps you stay motivated.
What else helps you stay motivated?
Last week I read How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie—not to be confused with How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, a memoir by Toby Young.
When it comes to self-improvement, this book is a classic. I ordered it from Amazon years ago but never got around to reading it. Along came The Healthy Butcher’s 28-Day Health Challenge. Doing things in a group builds in accountability. Just the push I needed to pull this book from my shelf.
Working toward goals with other people helps you stay motivated.
But what’s the #1 thing that helps you stay motivated?
When I sat down with How to Win Friends & Influence People, I thumbed through the pages and divided the book by 7. I wanted my self-help book reading points for The Healthy Butcher’s 28-Day Health Challenge!
The 1st day I didn’t hit my target. The second day I didn’t either.
I was falling behind.
But I kept reading what I could each day.
Then something happened… Something that helped me stay motivated.
In fact, the same thing helped the person in my FAVOURITE story in Carnegie’s book stay motivated… See if you can guess what it was:
Excerpt from How to Win Friends & Influence People:
What made David stay motivated?
The ability to stay motivated is all about sticking to something.
Not sticking to it PERFECTLY. But doing your best each day.
David didn’t stay motivated by getting all the flash cards right on the first night.
And I didn’t stay motivated to finish the book that shares David’s story, by reading the number of pages I’d planned.
We were both able to stay motivated by carrying on, even after mistakes.
When you stick-with-it, something magical happens… Something magical that helps you stay motivated.
I’ll give you a hint. It’s another word that starts with “mo-”
MOMENTUM is magical.
Sticking to something builds momentum which helps you stay motivated.
How does momentum help you stay motivated?
The more I read, the more I wanted to read. And the easier it got. Learning about David’s experience made me feel hopeful—which got me hooked. I was hungry for more of these turn-around stories.
The more David practiced the easier the flash cards got. Dancing with his dad and step-mom and seeing them excited probably made David want to exceed his previous score. When you surprise yourself, you want to see what else you can do.
A few weeks ago CBC Radio interviewed people who’d extended their dry January.
For me it was weight… I was a binge drinker on weekends. I was drinking 4000 calories on Saturday and Sunday. And then I did the math and realized that’s 2 extra days of food… I started doing research and read this thing called “One Year No Beer.” And they approached it as a challenge. It’s 30 days… 90 days… a year. And I’m like, I can do 30 days. Now I’m 2 years into it. What happens is the clarity. It starts. You establish this good habit. And then you want to establish another good habit. My second good habit was I’m going to get up early. And so all these great things started happening. Then my marriage got better. I wasn’t even aware I needed help with my marriage! But because of my clarity and my mood increase, just everything got better.
– Mike, Metro Morning
My stay motivated experiences were similar
When I took the life-guarding course I started looking forward to seeing my classmates. All the driving with Who Is NOBODY? brought me to new places and introduced me to interesting people. Doing The Healthy Butcher’s 28-Day Health Challenge has brought fresh ideas and activities into my life. Like I have a big, empty 1.5 liter bottle I fill with water each morning.
The first day I struggled through it. But soon it felt second-nature. And hey! Water is better for you than the most EXPENSIVE skin cream on the market. So imagine what it does for your kidneys!
These stories capture the magic of momentum that helps you stay motivated; the unexpected excitement that comes from sticking to something.
3 reasons momentum helps you stay motivated
When you STICK to something that’s overwhelming at the start:
1- It becomes part of your routine QUICKLY
By the 2nd day many activities in The Healthy Butcher’s 28-Day Health Challenge felt less foreign.
2- There are unexpected SURPRISES
Having a deadline helped me send letters of gratitude that were on my to-do list. I’d been waiting for the perfect moment to write them perfectly. Instead I got them done. And like magic… I got rid of that nagging feeling that I didn’t even realize was hanging over me.
3- You feel a shift and enjoy the RESULTS
I’ve started to make use of a moment here and there to read. I’ve been re-prioritizing and I like it! After this challenge is over I’ll always have a book on the go.
How do you stay motivated to lose weight?
When you first decide to lose weight, all the changes you need to make (like those listed below) might feel OVERWHELMING.
- Drinking whole milk
- Exercising 3 times a week
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Saying NO to diet pop
- Eating ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods
And then you think of all the rituals you have around the activities that are unhealthy. Like the laughs you have in the elevator on the way to your office. The chat at the corner store when you buy your diet soda. Or the convenience of ordering-in a BIG MAC or grazing on rice cakes all day instead of making your own (delicious) lunch (that helps you lose weight).
But keep the MAGIC of momentum in mind… Unexpected surprises WILL work their way into the healthy choices YOU STICK WITH. And they’ll help you stay motivated.
The only proper way to eliminate bad habits is to replace them with good ones.— Jerome Hines, opera singer
You might miss your friends in the elevator, but there could be a cute guy who takes the stairs. Or a go-getter who wants to walk with you at lunch or a friendly face at the bakery where you buy incredible bagels to make your own sandwich… And soon everything gets A LOT easier.
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when you start something new
Ignore that feeling.
It ISN’T the universe telling you to quit!
Instead of being intimidated by how far you need to go, have faith in the middle; where magic builds momentum and helps you stay motivated.
Being “moderate” was hard for me because I have OCD. I’m all or nothing. But now that I understand how that feast or famine approach works against me, it’s much easier to BREAK that self-defeating pattern. Instead I keep moving forward by always focusing on improvement.
Make Today Count
If you make a mistake today, carry on.
Keep moving toward your goal after a choice you regret.
Salvaging the day instead of sabotaging it, helps you stay motivated!
Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.
Pick one or two healthy changes you’re going to stick with for the next week. You don’t have to do them p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y. Just follow your plans as closely as you can. Soon things will take momentum and all the magic will help you stay motivated. Often the hardest part is getting started.
Are you making the biggest weight-loss mistake? Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you the fix. It took me 10 years to FIGURE out I was even making a mistake, but you can learn it today!
I love you FOREVER Freddie. Your music and how stayed true to yourself make me stay motivated.
What helps you stay motivated? Do you put a dollar in a jar every time you finish a difficult task? Plan a celebration of some sort? Cut out photos that inspire you? Please share the secrets of how you stay motivated!
What BOOK are you reading right now that you love? I need to build a reading list!
What MAGIC thing happened to you when you stuck with something that felt overwhelming at the start?
Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it