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Giving You the Tools to Change Your Life.

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Written by Connie Stapleton, Ph.D
on September 07, 2020

Motivation is the set of forces that activate, guide and maintain our behaviors in order to meet a goal. In other words, motivation is the reason(s) behind why you do what you do. The word motivation comes from a Latin word that means “to move”, therefore motivation implies effort and action—as in doing. 

 

What is Motivation?

In relation to this blog, which is about the motivation for losing weight and motivation for maintaining that healthy weight, we are talking about motivation being the incentive (or the force) for doing the actions. More specifically, we are talking about motivation for doing the behaviors required to lose weight and keep it off. 

In case you forgot, the actions necessary to lose weight and keep it off include but are not limited to: eating healthy foods in healthy portions, getting exercise on a regular basis, getting plenty of sleep, and not skipping meals.

Therefore, wishing, or hoping, or wanting, or thinking about losing weight is not motivation. 

Motivation propels you into action, doing those healthy behaviors, and practicing a healthy mindset needed for weight loss and weight maintenance. The actual doing of the healthy eating, the drinking of water, the exercise, the keeping of food in an exercise log, etc. are often set into motion by a need. That need can be physical or psychological. 

People often join a weight-loss program because their health is being jeopardized due to their weight. This need for improved health motivates them to take action. 

People cut out junk food and begin working out because they want to drop 20 lb so they look good at their class reunion. This need to look good and impress others motivates them to take the action. 

Many people desire a better quality of life and know that if they lose weight it would free them up to participate in activities they enjoy in life. So the desire to have a fuller, healthier, more satisfying life motivates them to take action. 

The need for improved health or the desire to have a better quality of life is the why behind engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors. The “why” provides motivation for doing.

Finding your Why 

Motivation can originate from biological, social, or emotional goals, or from a combination of these three. It’s often driven by some sort of need and that need can be external or it can be internal. 

Motivation can stem from a desire to learn things, to get some reward, or to experience a pleasure. It can be driven by the desire to avoid punishment or pain as often comes with poor health. Or it can come from wanting to meet needs and a desire to fulfill certain expectations. 

Really the whole thing boils down to what I refer to as your meaningful matters; or more simply what matters to you about your health. What's meaningful to you in relation to living a healthy weight?Bariatric Surgery on YouTube

Meaningful Matters: What is Your Motivation? 

My personal meaningful matters (or my motivation) for doing the things it takes to live at a healthy weight sound like this: “I choose to put real, healthy food into my body and forgo the vast majority of junk food.” “I choose to exercise at least 45 minutes, four to five times a week so that I am able to enjoy good health, physical strength, and to increase the odds of me living a longer, healthier, happier life so that I can spend it with the people that I love the most.”  

Anytime your motivation is wavering, you can ask yourself a couple of simple questions in relation to these matters and they will steer you right every time. 

  1. “Will {insert word here} move me closer to or further from my meaningful matters, or those things that matter the most to me?” So for example, I could say “will eating this ice cream move me closer to or further from what I say is most important to me about my health?” Or “will skipping this workout move me closer to or further from what I most want in life in terms of my health?”
  2. Follow up the above question with, “given where I've been (perhaps at an unhealthy weight or perhaps unable to participate in life the way I want to), and given where I’m at (which is in the process of working toward that healthier lifestyle) and given where I want to be (which is to maintain a healthy weight so that I can live the life the way I want to), what is the wisest choice in this situation?”

Remember, motivation is based on your needs and wants, and that's what drives you to do things that may not align with your weight loss plan. That is why you need to really know yourself and know your meaningful matters. 

Ways to increase your motivation or maintain motivation. 

  1. Post your meaningful matters / your goals somewhere that you can see them on a regular basis. Therefore, when you are wondering “do I really want to do this?” you are reminded “yes I do, and this is why!”
  2. Get rid of that “stinkin-thinkin” and those other self-sabotaging behaviors that you typically engage in. Determine exactly what your behaviors are going to be to reach your goals. 
  3. Set short-term targets so you have some reason to celebrate along the way as you get to that healthy weight that you want to live at. 
  4. Identify and bolster both internal and external motivations. Internal being “I’m getting healthier”, and the external being “I like the way my clothes fit better.” 
  5. Set some rules for yourself, such as “I don’t eat in my car.” 
  6. Make a list of foods you don't need to eat to live (we don't need all food to live by the way) and then nix those things from your life. 
  7. Live in gratitude. Be grateful for the many, many things you do have and are not deprived of. 

Remember wishing and hoping and making promises, doesn’t do squat. Doing, doing squats actually, does some good. SO keep doing those behaviors that do get you the results. 

Your health is your responsibility, this day and every day. 

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