In the quest for weight loss, health, and fitness, there are so many numbers we can play with – body weight, calories, steps, heart rate, etc.
They can be so motivating!
And then suddenly de-motivating.
Using an activity monitor reaching 10,000 steps a day! Yay!
Skipping the lunchtime walk when I don’t have it on because I wont get credit for it.
Feeling really energized from going to the gym five days a week.
The scale didn’t move this week. Going to the gym just is not working.
Training diligently for three months and running a 5K for the first time.
Once the 5K is over not feeling motivated to exercise.
What is up with this roller coaster of motivation?
How can we trust ourselves a to sustain any changes when our motivation just seems to come and go on a whim?
Then there is the oxymoron about what we are willing to “put up with” to reach our goals.
Exercising hard to burn 700 calories a day for weight loss in order to have more energy, but feeling exhausted from the workouts.
Suffering through a 1200 calorie diet in order to reach a goal weight to someday feel good and enjoy life.
Continuing to go to a popular fitness class because it is supposed to work, even though I feel awful about myself when I walk out.
Motivating with numbers through social media, special diets, phone aps, fit bits, weigh ins, fitness challenges can be a double edge sword.
They certainly can motivate us.
The problem is not that we lose motivation, it is that we lose focus on our true motivator.
The number goals are pseudo goals.
The body does not know the numbers – only knows if it was challenged, nourished, and given what it needs to activate growth, energy and healing.
When we listen to it, we know this too.
True goals have a bit more depth. We need to dig a bit deeper to find them.
- having more energy to travel
- having more confidence to enjoy social activities
- being a role model for my kids
- being around for my grandchildren.
When we focus on the true goal, the numbers are just awareness tools. They guide us but don’t drive us.
It takes focus to keep our eye on our own prize. When all the “noise” from social media, challenges, advice from others, and the scale cause more stress than motivation, it is our cue to get back to listening to what we already know.
When we quiet the outside noise and just listen to what we know we really want in the end, we stop the madness. We find our own lasting motivation.
With this as a guide, we can decide which numbers are good awareness tools and which numbers blur the true goal.
Making a habit of doing a momentary mindful check in on the true goal before checking the numbers can be helpful. How is my energy level? How healthy do I feel? What was my best accomplishment today? This activates our lasting motivation.
Let’s make peace with the numbers on this journey.
Let’s remind ourselves and each other that they are simply tools for awareness.
Let’s stay focused on what we REALLY want from all of this effort, and celebrate the not so concrete successes too.
And let’s find joy on the journey, each and every moment, by celebrating the fact that we are on the journey, no matter how slow the progress.
Life is way too short and precious to let numbers get in the way of our joy!
May You Be Well,