How to Stay Motivated

What keeps me from falling off the wagon & going back to my unhealthy ways.

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The number one thing I hear from people who notice my weight loss is this “Wow, I wish I had your motivation!” I always appreciate the compliment, but I roll my eyes a little at the term. I have a problem with the word ‘motivation.’ What motivation do I have that you don’t have?

Why did I lose weight? What was my motivation? I wanted to be healthier, I wanted to feel better, I wanted to live longer, I wanted to look better. When people say to me “I wish I had your motivation” they don’t realize that they DO have it, they just don’t care enough to do something about it. They do want to be healthier, feel better, live longer, and look better. They just don’t want it bad enough to make it a priority. They don’t want it bad enough to put in the work. They make excuses, they say they can’t do it, don’t have the time, they’ll start next month, etc etc. Let me tell you some harsh reality: if you’re not willing to put in the work, you just don’t want it bad enough.

I am not motivated 100% of the time. I don’t always wake up excited to go to the gym and excited to eat healthy food and excited to say no to those bagels in the break room that I really want. A lot of days I have NO motivation to go to the gym. A lot of days I want to say screw it and eat the dang bagel. So what keeps me going? It’s definitely not motivation.

I’m not motivated; I’m committed. I want something, therefore I’m going to work for it. I decided that I want it bad enough that I’m going to put in the work. I would love to eat pizza more, or sleep in and skip my morning workouts some days, or drink more sweet tea, and I definitely would love to eat more candy (seriously, it’s my weakness). But I have the willpower to say no to these things. I have the willpower to maintain a healthy balance instead of always giving into cravings or lazy tendencies. I didn’t always have it, but I decided that I wanted it bad enough that I was going to put in the work. I’m not always motivated, but I do always work my ass off.

So if I don’t feel motivated, what keeps me going? The fact that I’ve been able to change my lifestyle instead of feeling like I’m ‘dieting’ all the time. The fact that I went from a size 12 to a size 2. The fact that trying on clothes in the dressing room no longer makes me want to cry. The fact that I can run 3 miles with ease now. The fact that I no longer see a picture of myself and want to tear it up or delete it. The fact that I no longer wake up feeling sluggish and bloated from eating unhealthy all the time. The fact that I feel so much better when I eat healthy foods. The fact that I love myself for how far I’ve come and how hard I work.

When I don’t feel like going to the gym, or when I’d rather stop and get takeout than go home and eat my meal prepped food, or when I really just want to eat a whole damn tub of ice cream, it’s not my motivation that stops me. It’s my desire to be better than I used to be. It’s my desire to never go back to how unhappy I was. It’s my desire to never hate myself the way I used to hate myself. It’s my knowledge that if I skip the gym, I’ll regret it later. It’s my knowledge that if I stop and get the greasy and fat-filled takeout food, I’ll wish I hadn’t eaten it when I was done. It’s my knowledge that choosing short term discomfort will lead me to long term happiness. And the hard work is so worth the payoff. I have no regrets, and even if choosing a banana and a protein shake over a bagel feels like a sacrifice at the time, I’m thankful for each of those little sacrifices that have gotten me where I’m at now. That might fall under the realm of motivation, but I just take issue with the word. A lot of days I’m not motivated. I’m determined, I’m disciplined, and I know I can put in the hard work to get what I want. But I’m not always motivated.

So let me ask you this, are you really unmotivated, or do you just not want it bad enough? You can’t rely on motivation alone. If you wait until you feel motivated, you might be waiting a while. If you commit yourself to making healthy choices, day in and day out, whether you feel motivated to or not, then you will see a change.

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