Last week I got an email from a woman who said that whenever she reaches her goal, whether it be losing weight or getting in better shape, she finds it hard to STAY motivated to keep at it so she always finds herself trying to “get BACK INTO shape”.
She said that as soon as she reaches her goal, she starts to slack and she wanted to know if I had any suggestions as to how she can stay motivated to avoid this in the future.
This is such a great question because I feel like it is SO common. Most of us can probably relate to having reached a goal and then when we reach it we’re like “now what?”.
For me, this was a huge issue when I used to compete in fitness shows. For 12 weeks I had a very well laid out plan. Workouts were scheduled, meals were planned an prepped, and I had a specific goal in mind. But once the show was over I felt like I had nothing to train for. I had no motivation to go push myself in the gym or continue to eat so clean. There was no reason to, or at least thats how it felt.
I’ve had friends and clients face this after running a marathon or doing a fitness or nutrition challenge. Once the event is over and the goal has been accomplished, the motivation to continue to train or eat healthy starts to fade.
So how can we stay motivated once we’ve reached a level of fitness, or a body composition that we would just like to maintain?
REEVALUATE YOUR GOALS
Goals change, obviously. You’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to achieve but now it’s time to re-evaluate.
Sit down and really think about what it is you want to do now. If it’s staying in shape, what will that look like?
Without specific goals in place we become a lot less focused and we have no direction- making it very easy to slack off.
Maybe it’s time to focus on a performance goal if fat loss has been your main concern.
Maybe you want to change gears all together and take up a completely different hobby.
Whatever the case may be, I really think that setting small, attainable (even daily) goals will help to keep you in the game. It could be something as simple as not snacking after dinner, going to the gym 3 days a week or only ordering take-out 1 night per week.
Sit down and create a plan that you know you can (and want to) follow.
NOT WHAT, WHY?
I’ve talked about the importance of finding your “why” before, but I think it can be commonly overlooked. Your “why” should be something that reignites your fire. Something that creates motivation to get after it.
If your “why” doesn’t really mean that much to you, guess what? That motivation will surely start to fade, and as I’ve said before, WE are the ones in control of our motivation. WE create it. It’s not just going to “happen”. So really sit down and think about WHY you want to maintain your fitness level. What got you started? Why was it important to you in the beginning? Maybe you have a different why! Thats totally fine, but you want to put some thought into it. “Staying in shape” has to hold some meaning. Why is it important to you?
CREATE AN ACTION PLAN
Setting goals and determining your “why” is great, but it’s nothing without a plan. Sometimes we get so focused on the outcome that we forget about the path it takes to get there.
The more specific the better. Instead of saying “I’m going to continue to eat like this” think about HOW you are going to do that. What will you change and what will you keep the same?
We tend to be so hard on ourselves and think that to maintain, or to reach our goals, we have to be perfect. I know for myself, I would have a fantastic week of eating healthy and getting my workouts in, but one little “slip” would send me on a tail spin of shame, regret, and negativity. “I suck”, “I can’t even make it one week without x,y or z”, “I don’t even know why I bother, it’s pointless”, “I just have no willpower”…blah blah blah.
In the book “The Gifts of Imperfection”, Brene Brown says that these feelings of shame work like a lens on a camera. When we feel shame, our camera is zoomed in on all the things we see as flawed.
In my case, I zoomed in on the things that I didn’t do “perfectly”. I chose to waste time and energy focusing on the handful of choices that I made that didn’t necessarily take me closer to my goals instead of the dozens of choices I made that did.
Looking at the big picture tends to bring a different perspective to the situation. When I started to zoom out a bit and pat myself on the back for all of the actions I was taking that were bringing me closer to my goals, the more motivated I was to continue.
Practice zooming out. I promise you’ll start to see things differently.
Tell me how many of you can relate to this. You’ve reached your goal, then you start to get a little too comfortable. You’re no longer planning or preparing your meals, you’re skipping the gym, you stopped taking your progress pictures or measurements, and before you know it you can see the difference in the mirror and can feel it in your clothes.
Then you get kind of embarrassed or ashamed that you “let yourself go” and start beating yourself up. You say “I can’t believe I let this happen” etc. etc.. “I was SO motivated a few weeks ago and I just can’t pull it together”….
You avoid putting on your “skinny jeans” because you know they’re going to feel tight. Maybe you avoid going to the gym or social events because you don’t want to face anyone.
I’ve had SO many conversations like this with women in my coaching group. They feel like they’re not “being good” so they completely avoid checking-in or reading others’ posts until “after vacation” or “the first of the month” when they think they’ll be ready.
Believe me, I’ve been there. I have 2 coaches. A business coach and a strength coach and I still find myself avoiding them when I haven’t done my homework or I’m not following the plan….A few weeks ago I was supposed to send an email out and I totally didn’t. I knew I didn’t plan well, I knew it wasn’t going to get done, and when my coach msg’d me about it, I totally ignored him ha! (I’m super mature). But I just didn’t want to admit to him (or to myself) that I didn’t get it done. I was avoiding it because I felt guilty and didn’t want to deal with it.
But on the other hand, when I’ve reached a certain goal, like getting in my 10 chin-ups or getting a blog post done (which we know is very sporadic!) I’m emailing, texting, emoji-ing them like “looook at meeeee, do you see what I did?????”.
One thing I’ve realized is that accountability is key when it comes to reaching your goals and avoiding doing things because you feel bad or whatever doesn’t solve anything. It just keeps you in that avoidance mindset longer.
Check-in with someone even when you don’t want to. If you have a coach, tell them that you’re struggling. Just put it out there. If you know you’re avoiding something – face it head on and deal with it right then. Don’t tell yourself that “I’m going to be “good” this week and I’ll try my jeans on next week” while scraping the bottom of the pint of Ben & Jerry’s. No. Do it now. Face the resistance you’re feeling, deal with it and move on. Chances are that you will start to feel better a hell of a lot sooner with someone supporting you than you would by avoiding the situation and going into hiding 🙂
I hope you found this helpful and maybe could relate to it a bit! Remember that motivation will come and go, but it’s up to YOU to continually create it. Set goals, determine your why, stop zooming in on the things you think you’re doing “wrong” and focus on all the great choices you’re making that are bringing you closer to your goals. And if you find yourself avoiding the scale, the jeans, your coach or accountability partner, acknowledge that although you may not want to do it, checking in and getting some support will go a LONG way!
Do you have any other tips you would add to the list?? Leave them in the comments section below 🙂