Set backs… we all have them, and generally they are not within our control. It’s important to note my perspective on a “setback” sees it as not quite something negative, more so something that can be overcome simply by changing your mindset. We may not be in control of the circumstances in life that get us down, but we are always in control of how we respond. A setback is defined as a hitch or difficulty. A problem as such. Something we need to understand in these difficult moments is that problems ALWAYS have solutions.
We all battle adversity to some degree in our life, whether that be issues of mental health, family, emotional, environmental or even situational. For me, mental health battles have been a huge part of my life and the reason for my undeniable resilience. Just recently I was involved in a car accident, breaking my arm and sternum whilst in preparation for a body building/fitness competition. Motivation is the substance to achieving a dream or goal. So the question is, how do we stay motivated when life knocks you down?
Something I have learnt during my own fitness journey and also whilst investing in my client’s journey’s is that not everyone is motivated equally. Your journey is unique and motivation is subjective. It all comes down to being able to relate to something that’s considered motivational. I am a firm believer in going after your biggest dreams and goals and being your own source of motivation. To embrace this way of thinking requires understanding of how to live with this sort of mindset.
CREATE YOUR VISION
The first step to believing in yourself is to work with your vision. I cannot go a day without my biggest goal surfacing into my thoughts, so I choose to act on that and plan steps to achieving this goal. Every decision I make in a day is driven by this goal, whether through nutrition, training or just overall health. When you feel a lack of motivation, consciously thinking about your goal. Thinking on future goals can push you back into a focused mindset.
Here’s what I do when I plan my goals:
– Create a vision/mood board with words of self-praise and images of inspiration.
– Meditate and envision myself achieving the goal (for me it is being on stage competing in body building).
– Develop a step-by-step plan listing how you can achieve your goal (for me it was: contact a coach, research posing, educate myself on training).
PLAN YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS
A fool-proof plan will help you bounce back from personal emotions you are experiencing. I have certain routines and practices in place as a safety net for when I’m needing a more positive mindset. Realistically, I know I can’t be in the best head space 24/7. This safety net of practices will ensure that in moments of weakness or emotion, you are deterred away from being self-destructive. You will know exactly what you have to do when you struggle to reason with your own mind, because your plan is already decided. This may be as simple as saying to yourself: “Okay when I feel this way, I’m going to go for a walk in the park I played in as a kid, because I associate it with positive feelings.” A tip is to share your safety net practices with family and friends, so they too know how to help when it’s needed.
When I’m dealing with disordered eating habits, my safety net is to eliminate all foods in my environment that are going to be toxic to my behaviour, and inform those closest to me so that I have support.
The way you talk to yourself each day has a huge impact on your actions. Do you psych yourself out of things? Do you tell yourself you can’t do something before you even try?
We can manipulate our way of thinking even when we think we can’t control our emotions. It’s important to remember in times of stress or anxiety that you are in control. I create mantras in my head for when I’m feeling negative. I told myself so many times when I had broken my arm and couldn’t compete that it was going to be okay. That I can control how I respond to the circumstance. That “I CAN get through this”.
Every time that voice in your head tries to tell you can’t do something, take conscious control. Everyone has a voice inside their head that tries to be the super ego and dominate all decision making and patterns of thinking. We can learn to dictate our own thinking if we take the time to sit with our thoughts and actually think about what we’re thinking!
FIND YOUR “WHY”
I’m going to draw my perspective of motivation by using an example of a car trip. When you’re in the car, driving from destination A to destination B there is always a reason why. For example, you may be off to work. But past this, there is an even deeper ‘why’. There is a reason why you are going to work. Your first thought may be ‘financial gain’. BUT the why must go even deeper than that. Why financial gain? To afford my monthly rent, bills etc. And you see, this why can always go deeper.
This deeper reasoning is what I like to refer to as the “why” when I discuss motivation. No surface answers. Think deeper.
There is ALWAYS a deeper reason why we do something. This is our driving force and our fuel to becoming motivated. In my experience the only way to truly tap into your motivation and drive yourself out of any sort of rut is to find your “why”.
I get up at 4am every day to train.
I prep my food weekly and stick to my meal plan.
I say no to things that go against my goals.
I know my reasons for doing it and it goes much deeper than just obtaining an ideal body composition. It sounds so simple to ask someone why they want a goal in the first place, but it can help you to understand what makes your goal so important to you.
It may be your passion for health.
It may be that you want to make a positive lifestyle change.
It may be your mental health.
Whatever your reason for wanting your biggest goal, no one can motivate you, for you. I urge you to ask yourself the following question every time you feel knocked down and unmotivated:
What do you really want and why?
In consideration of getting motivated, we also have to put into question what does NOT motivate you. It may be bad habits that you need to eliminate from your life, or people who are getting you down and deterring you from your goals.
One setback does not define you or your journey. They can perhaps pave the way for a new direction, a new beginning. Allow yourself the ability to understand your pattern of thinking and take control.
Remind yourself every day that you are the only motivation you need.
Seize the day and motivate the hell out of yourself.