The silly season is fast approaching- hotter days are on their way, along with a lot of people scrambling to get in the last minute shred. The challenge is, as the Christmas holidays approach, so too do the social events full of holiday cheer (including plenty of delicious food and alcohol!). If you feel like you've been struggling to get motivated on your goals this year, know that you have the power to change it!
Whether fat loss is your goal or not, this process works for whatever (realistic) aim you're looking to achieve. Whatever body composition or fitness outcome you have in mind, know that it’s never too late, and your journey of fitness is ongoing. However, if you want to see the results you're capable of, you’ll need a high degree of commitment and inspired action.
Why You Struggle With 'Motivation':
Did you have some big new year's resolutions this year? Sure, COVID probably busted most of them, but pandemic or not, year on year, people often fall way short of what they say they're going to do.
If you're chasing some serious body goals, your training and nutrition need to be on point.
If you want to be in your best shape for summer:
- You'll have to nail each workout
- Have your meal prep sorted / be in a calorie deficit
- Ensure you manage your sleep and stress for the best results.
Unfortunately, we often have great dreams and plans that can easily fall away when the reality of work stress, family commitments, emotions and all kinds of internal and external pressures into play. Add in all the festivities, holiday luncheons, christmas parties and vacay vibes and you have a recipe for derailing those body goals!
Here's the trouble with motivation: it's externally focused. Motivation implies that you need some sort of outside force to get you to act. E.g., If you don't go to work, you won't get an income. Though I mentioned motivation in the title because it's what we commonly associate with achieving our fitness goals, keeping yourself inspired would be more accurate. Inspiration is a force that comes from within - it's what you do that no one needs to remind you to do. Maybe no-one needs to remind you to scroll through Facebook or watch your favourite TV show. Whatever it is, inspiration reflects what you most value in life. To get yourself to achieve your ultimate summer body goals, get yourself inspired from within to do it, to experience quality results that last.
The Power of Values:
First you need to understand that you have a series of values that determine the actions you take on a day to day basis. These actions reveal that is truly important to you, so it’s wise to look at what you actually do rather than what you think your values are. During the course of your day, you’ll notice that you always have time and energy for some things, but others never seem to get done. Maybe you’re staying late at the office, and then you find it’s just too late and you’re too tired to hit the gym.
If you’re not doing something, then it’s because deep down, you don’t truly value it. Sounds harsh at first, but when you really look at your actions on a daily basis, you can start to see that you're doing what you think is going to give you the most benefits at that moment (even if they're unconscious benefits).
From the human behavioural expert Dr. John Demartini, I recommend this process for when you feel like you need a bit of a kick up the booty!
Step 1: Find Out Your Top 3 Values
Take the time to answer these questions (write the top 3 for each):
- How do you fill your personal space?
- How do you spend your time?
- How do you spend your energy?
- How do you spend your money?
- Where do you have the most order and organisation?
- Where are you most reliable, disciplined and focused?
- What do you think about; what is your most dominant thought?
- What do you visualise most?
- What do you most often talk to yourself about?
- What do you most often talk to others about?
- What inspires you?
- What goals stand out in your life and have stood the test of time?
- What do you love to learn or read about most?
The key is not to write down what you think they 'should' be. You must be objective and look at what actions you're taking daily. Sometimes it won't be as apparent as you think – for example, you may see you're spending a lot of time at work, but you wouldn't say you 'value' it. You need to dig a little deeper to see what lies beneath the surface – perhaps it's the sense of financial security that you value.
Perhaps you say you value your health, but you're still binge drinking on the weekends. Dig a little deeper – maybe it's the relaxation you get from letting go of responsibilities, or the social connection that you feel you lack at other times.
Your highest values are the ones that repeat most often.
Step 2: Link Your Values:
Now that you're clear on what you truly value, and you find that your body goals aren't in the top 3, it's time to do some values linking. Start stacking up ways achieving your fitness goal, and doing those daily actions you need to do to reach them will help you in your top 3 values. Don't stop until you notice a shift in your actions, and then you will never have a problem with 'motivation'. You will do the necessary steps to help you achieve what you want, and you'll be willing to face the struggles and triumphs along the way without quitting.
E.g., Say your top value is family:
- Daily exercise gives me an opportunity to play more with my kids outside
- When I lose excess body fat, I'll have more energy to spend with my loved ones
- When I eat healthily and exercise regularly, I set a positive example for my family
- Feeling leaner makes me feel more confident, and that new confidence makes me more attractive to my partner
- Our family outings can include fun ways to be active together, instead of watching TV
And so on. Whatever it is, it needs to resonate and feel true to you!
Now That You're Inspired, Remember to Prioritise Your Nutrition
Now that you're feeling more inspired, you'll want to fill your diet with nourishing foods that help you reach your potential. Without the right nutritional strategy, you won't be able to achieve your goals! You can train to your heart's content, but if all you're eating is junk, you'll be selling yourself short.
What you feed your body, as well as your mind, gives you energy, helps with mental clarity and gives you a dose of inspiration to keep you going.
When deciding on what foods to eat, macro and micronutrients matter. By prioritising protein, you'll be able to grow muscle or help maintain muscle while you're dieting. Healthy fats and carbohydrates provide essential sources of energy and help to promote hormonal balance. Get your greens in every day, which contain the micronutrients your body needs to function at it's best. When you have a busy lifestyle, supplements come to the rescue!