There are countless times when we are motivated to take on a new challenge (start exercising, eating properly, running a marathon). In the beginning we are amped up and pour a lot of initial energy into this new challenge. During this honeymoon phase we make it a priority. We excitedly join a health club, buy fruits and vegetables and purchase a new pair of running shoes. We talk about it liberally with family, friends and colleagues. But then our interest begins to wane, it becomes more challenging then we thought. We easily become preoccupied with other distractions. The initial burst of energy is down to a flicker. Before we know it, this new challenge begins to collect dust in the corner never to be touched again.
For one of my clients, her challenge, to live a healthier life by losing weight. No small task for someone who waged this lifelong battle. Recent health issues heightened the urgency to take action. From the beginning, she realized that motivation would only get her started. Commitment is essential to her conquering this challenge.
We started by establishing a visual goal consisting of two core elements; how she wants to see herself and a time frame for success. Immediately, she zeroed in on fitting into her wedding dress before her 20th anniversary, 9 months away, no small feat. She took a visual snapshot of what she would look like and how she would feel. This became permanently etched in her brain. In addition to her visual goal, we focused on defining her values and crafting a purpose. Having a visual goal, values and a purpose created a core belief system that would anchor her commitment to this challenge. She needed this solid support structure to withstand the inevitable waning of motivation she knew would kick-in. This isn’t the first time she tried to get healthy.
She knew that enlisting the help and resources of others is critical. This is no journey to take alone. Initially, there was great success in losing weight and keeping it off. There were plenty of high-fives and soaring motivation. True to form, the initial buzz of adrenaline dissipated and the true test of her resolve would happen during the middle stretch when progress is slow. She stayed committed by constantly referencing and honoring her visual goal, values and purpose. Through all the temptation, frustration and low points where doubts creep in, she pulled herself out. She refused to waiver while being severely tested. This time she is in control of herself and how she would respond.
And today. She lost 65 pounds (and counting) and successfully integrated healthy eating into her life. As a reward, she treated herself to a new wardrobe bought at a store she used to bypass. People are constantly commenting on how she looks. While this does wonders to her self-esteem, she is a bit disappointed that people can’t see the inside because that is where she really feels the change. She’s living her best self on the inside and outside.
Oh yeah, and the wedding dress, it’s too big. So what’s next for her? For the outside, improved fitness and tone. For the inside, acceptance of how she looks.
How about you? What are you motivated to do? How will you stay committed to see it through? I’d like to hear your success story.