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By Mayo Clinic Health System staff
It’s plain and simple. Motivation is essential for successful changes to your lifestyle. But how do you capture motivation and make it work for you?
Start by asking yourself these questions:
How do I get motivated?
Perhaps you get motivated with singer James Brown’s song “I Feel Good” or by going to the gym and seeing how hard others are working. Decide what works for you.
What is motivation made of?
It’s energy that predicts the strength and persistence of behavior. Like vitamins, you have to take some motivation every single day. Sometimes, that means acting as if you have it when maybe you’re not really feeling it.
Where does motivation come from?
Internally, it’s your optimism, your history. There’s nothing more motivating than success, so how can you set it up for success? What is the smallest step you can confidently take? Externally, take a look at how your environment is motivating. What rewards can you set up until your internal motivation kicks in?
What does motivation look like?
Consider your body posture. Is it a confident pose?
What does motivation sound like?
What is your internal coach voice saying to you? Think “You can do it!” and “You are awesome!”
What does motivation act like?
Is there evidence of healthy choices in regards to eating and moving?
Next, consider these feel-good elements of motivation:
- F is for first step. What is the first step towards building your motivation? How can you shine up the habits you already have? What does it look like to take those habits one step further?
- E is for environment. Who in my environment is uplifting? How can I tap into that energy? How is my environment exercise inducing? Are shoes readily available wherever I may be? Are exercise clothes fun and fashionable? Does my social environment promote healthy choices? If not, how can I lead the way? Begin with a baby step.
- E is for enlarge your view. What if your blood glucose level was within normal range? Or you were within 10 pounds of your ideal weight? In what ways would your life be different? Where does the journey begin? What is working well for you? How do you build on that?
- L is for loving yourself. By taking care of your body, you are giving yourself the best gift of all. Think of one thing right now that you love about yourself. Think about one thing every day.
- G is for get ready. The way to success is 90% preparation. What do I have to do to get ready to embark on this healthy journey? What do I have to get rid of? What do I have to leave behind? What can I do today to get ready?
- O is for optimism. Put on your rose-colored glasses, and plant a smile on your face. Shrink your inner critic down to microscopic size. When evaluating your efforts, think first and foremost about what went well. What did you learn?
- O is for obstacles. Yes, they will be there setbacks, off-road trails and dead ends. Your attitude must be one of optimism. What about this setback is of value to you? Maybe early on you realized something about yourself that you never knew. What is your response to obstacles? Is this where your motivation falters? What can you do to build your resiliency physically, mentally and spiritually?
- D is for determination. It is never done. Once we are on the healthy journey path, we want to stick to the path. Yes, a few side trips and some wanderings might happen along the way, but no hijackings 50 miles off the path. The hard part when veering too far from the path is finding your way back. That takes determination.