Do you want to make a change to your lifestyle but find you can’t maintain it for long?  Are you looking for motivation from someone else to make the change?

I talk a lot about motivation and it’s because I see a lot of women who want to achieve change, but who don’t put in the effort for success.  This disconnect between effort and change means we don’t achieve our goals.  If you do the same things day in and day out, you’ll get the same outcome.

I’ve already talked about working out what your really want to achieve here, and how to set goals here, but motivation is something we often expect to receive from someone else when really it comes from within, due to a variety of reasons.  Your motivation can come from a place of:

  • personal challenge, desire, a passion, satisfaction or self-validation – this is termed an internal-positive motivation and this motivator has a higher rate of success for change and feeling fulfilled;
  • recognition and appreciation from others, including financial rewards – this is called an external-positive motivator and the most likely outcome is some change, feeling partially fulfilled, but dependant on others for continued change and positive feelings;
  • a threat, fear of failure, inadequacy or insecurity – this is an internal-negative motivation and the usual outcome is some change, with possible relapse; or
  • fear of loss, such as losing a job or relationship, from a lack of respect from others, financial or social pressures, or pressure from significant people in your life – these are all external-negative motivators and, as you might already have guessed, the likely outcome is some success, but with quite a really high risk of relapse.

Enjoying the process of change gives you positive reinforcement to continue the behaviour

Internal-positive motivations are the motivators we want as they usually come from a place of security and you are likely to enjoy the process of reaching your goal and less likely to relapse to old behaviours.  On the other hand, many people achieve goals driven by internal-negative or external-negatives which doesn’t usually result in happiness and have a higher rate of relapse.

So, let’s have a check in – when motivation and effort aren’t equal we don’t achieve our goals.  Internal-positive motivators are more likely to result in success and you’ll be more likely to enjoy the process.

Okay, so motivation includes recognising a problem, working out a outcome goal to achieve as well as one or more new behaviours or processes to achieve that goal, starting to do the new behaviours and sticking with them until you achieve the original goal, and having a plan B when things go wrong or get tough.  Right?  Sounds simple but it’s not.

Experts agree that:

  • Motivation is key to achieving change.
  • But it is dynamic and fluctuating (now that sounds familiar!).
  • Motivation is influenced by social interactions – so choose your supporters and the people around you very carefully.

But… being able to work at achieving ongoing change in the face of obstacles, boredom, fatigue, stress, and the desire to do other things is hard work.  You have to have the determination and perseverance to resist long-standing habits and patterns and turn the new behaviours into habits. Your health coach (that’s me!) can help to inspire your motivation.

It’s important also to remember when you decide to make changes you move from doing the familiar to doing the unfamiliar.  This change can be unsettling and cause some people anxiety as they are unsure of what to expect.  Be open minded.  Welcome new experiences.

Now to recap.

How’s your perseverance to achieve your lifestyle change?  Go back to your motivations and look within for one or more internal-positive motivators.  Have smaller goals that lead to your big one can help you feel like you are making headway.  Make sure you have good processes in place – strategies or new behaviours to help your achieve your outcome.

Work on thinking and talking positively about your goals, for example, “I’m exercising more and changing my eating habits to lose weight” instead of “I’m trying to lose weight” – which one sounds more positive to you?

Always have a plan B for when your motivation is low or you hit an obstacle.  It’s rare that everything goes to plan exactly as we would like it to. Having a plan B gives you a way forward when things don’t go right.

And enjoy the journey!  Go to it!


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Post bydale cooke

I'm a nutritionist and dietitian with 26 years of experience helping people improve their health. Can I help you improve your health?