Ever sit there on the couch or a comfy recliner and wonder where your get-up-and-go went?
Here I am not talking about the instances where you flop down after a hard day’s work which involved some physical exercise that has left you needing a rest. It’s more like for those times when maybe several days, weeks, or even months have passed and you suddenly realize you have not done much but sit. You may have been working, communicating, socializing, working a puzzle, reading, or watching TV, but you realize that the hours sitting have been adding up.
Even worse, you are kinda liking it. After all, there are so many interesting things you can do sitting down, or with minimal moving around (cooking comes to mind).
But you have a nagging feeling.
Maybe you are even noticing that you are settling in. Maybe you are starting to feel a bit sluggish. Then the scales tip and the thought of getting moving is not very appealing at all.
And lately, there is the virus thing. What is the point of getting active when you can’t even leave the house without feeling like you are risking your life? Maybe you even figure that once the pandemic is “over”, you will get started again. Meanwhile, ice cream seems like a great alternative.
Let’s see what we can do about that. But before we get started, let me say this…no need to think I am going to suggest that you get off the couch right now and start training for a marathon or even a 5K. I just want to give you a few things to think about. Or maybe these can be for someone you know.
I sometimes wish people would stop using the term “motivation.” Often it conjures up something that you either have or you don’t, and maybe even something that others have that you don’t. So, you give up. Or you beat yourself up.
In fact, I think there are two kinds of “motivation”. The kind where you have a really good reason for wanting to do something. And the kind that you need in order to keep you engaged with a goal that you want to achieve.
Let’s say you want to eat healthier food and exercise more. These are a couple of vague goals that may keep bugging you to do something about. But what?
Here’s where I think it is important to stop calling it “motivation” and start calling it “my strategy.” To explain this, the following may be helpful:
Four Areas of Strategy
Once you decide to find your strategy, there are four areas that you need to consider.
- Barriers. What are some of the things that have been stopping you or making the effort seem less than appealing? Make a list and then write down what can be done instead. Maybe you don’t like to exercise. Find some kind of movement that you do like and that can be fit into your day. Maybe you hate the idea of restricting calories. Find a few healthier habits you can switch to. The idea is to move forward in a way that is not based on deprivation.
- Extrinsic motivators. These are some things you can put in place that will help you stay enthused. Things like joining up with a buddy, finding a class you like, or setting up some sort of (non-food) reward for yourself.
- Intrinsic motivators. Often called your “why”. Without a good reason, the “what am I going to do?” and the “how am I going to get it done?” will not happen on the inevitable tough days. The ones where you need to really dig in and decide that your “why” is more important than anything else.
- Practical items. Things like making sure you have a great pair of walking shoes, comfortable clothes to move around in, and have rearranged your usual schedule to make room for how you want to move forward.
One more mindset thing…it’s important to focus on changes that you can sustain for the long haul. Heading toward healthier habits should not be just a shot in the dark (as in “well, I’ll give this a try and see what happens”). It’s a life change, but a slow, manageable one. One that takes all four of the above areas into account.
Want to slay sluggish motivation? Turn it into a four-part strategy.
Here’s to moving forward,
© 2020 Kristen Carter, MS. All rights reserved.