About the lie of motivation and what to do instead of waiting for it to strike
I don’t know when or why we bought into this notion that we have to “be motivated” before we start making changes in our lives but it’s crap. Motivation is a lie. We’ll never always be motivated. Our brains aren’t designed to be motivated to make change. Our brains are designed for our survival and to them, change is terrifying. They like comfort and the security of everything always staying the same - even if we’re not happy as things are. That’s one of the reasons why motivation is so fleeting - it NEVER lasts forever, you know this already. And it’s why waiting for it before starting to make changes almost never works. Actually, I suppose in the weight loss & fitness world, I understand why we feel like we have to wait for motivation -- because we’re taught that making changes to our health and fitness requires an entire overhaul of our entire lives -- especially everything we eat. We’re taught it requires punishment, pain, restriction, deprivation, and motivation to suck it up and do it anyway, even when we don’t want to or are too tired. Forget what our bodies tell us they need and want… we just have to be motivated enough to work harder, restrict more, deprive ourselves more -
Eff. That. Shit. That message (that admittedly, I used to promote too) is probably a big part of why we believe we need to wait for motivation - because who the hell wants to sign up for that?! But once you know this, you can work with it.
Because here’s the thing - the current state of our lives is the result, in large part, of our choices. That’s it. A million teeny little choices, added up over time. WHY are you making the choices you’re making that are creating the results you’re getting? How do you learn to WANT to make different ones? For example, almost half of our choices happen on auto-pilot - that is, we don’t even realize we’re making them or why. How did you drive to work when you get there and don’t even remember the drive? Auto-pilot. Why did you reach for the bag of potato chips last night after supper even when you weren’t hungry? Auto-pilot. See, that’s the key right there. Learning the why behind each and how to change things one tiny choice at a time - not idling sitting around waiting for the day when all the motivation in the world magically hits you and stays forever - because that’s almost certainly NEVER going to happen. The most beautiful thing about that is how easy it is. You can start changing things RIGHT NOW with no motivation required and without restricting or ruining your holidays or avoiding your favorite treats. Every moment of the day is a new chance to get off auto-pilot mode and learn to make better, more conscious choices. Even just one small conscious choice a day to drink a little extra water or to add some veggies to your plate or to skip the second helpings. They all add up! So many of us get caught in the diet trap of being “on” and obsessing about every morsel that goes in, feeling like we have to gag on foods we hate eating only “diet” food while becoming a complete train wreck of nothing but crap and overindulging when we’re “off”. If you have a separate menu of foods you only eat when you’re “on track” vs foods you only eat when you’re “off track” you’re setting yourself up for failure and not likely ever going to get your relationship with your body, weight or food under control in a way that makes you happy long term. You're just going to stay stuck in that never-ending cycle of waiting for motivation, forcing yourself to follow the rules for a while and then quitting when the "motivation" fades.
Rather than waiting for motivation, remember how we just talked about our lives are actually created - through millions of little choices day in and day out, over time and start changing some of those. Work on building momentum to move in a different direction, one tiny choice at a time. Think about it. What if today, and everyday, you just started paying attention to how your food choices made you feel? When you eat something, does it make you feel good, energetic and healthy? Or does it make you feel bloaty, heavy, icky and tired? If the latter, remember that feeling next time and take a second to decide if that’s how you want to feel before you eat it again. What if you started making different choices even when you’re not “motivated” simply because they’ll make your body feel good immediately after you eat instead of just because you’re hoping they’ll make you skinnier a few weeks or months from now? You can decide to eat veggies or pay attention to your hunger/fullness cues even if you’re not dieting or “on track”, I swear you can! 😊 If you cannot seem to stop yourself from eating things that you know will make you feel gross, again -- WHY? Why are you purposely punishing yourself with food? I created Cognitive Eating to help you learn to understand the whys behind your choices and how to change them. To learn more about it, click here.