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When looking for some structure to rev-up motivation, we don’t need to look far. These quick fixes certainly work, for a while. How have these programs and challenges worked for you in the past? Were they temporary solutions or did they support long-term motivation?
For sustainability, the answers are not out there. Building on what we already know about ourselves, we can create a more permanent structure to hold our motivation for well-being.
Last week we set up our strong foundation. Now we are ready to build the framework of this sturdy home, encouraging motivation for well-being to move in and stay. The internal and external structures in our lives provide boundaries that form the shape of our vision for well-being.
- Power of pause – Scheduling moments of mindfulness during the day keeps us from straying too far when life pulls us away from our goals. You might build on already existing structures, connecting a pause to things you do often, like getting into the car or washing your hands. When we pause and notice what is happening inside, we realize there are internal warning signals when we are getting off track. With self-compassion we bring ourselves back to our foundation and recharge with our inner resources.
- Schedules and routines – When we leave healthy choices up to chance, life will get in the way. With a plan, the mind can relax. Even if you don’t have a predictable schedule, plan one day at a time. What are the important actions that lead you to well-being? Schedule them in just as you do an important appointment.
- Physical environment – Notice if your environment is supporting or challenging motivation. Does buying in bulk lead to overeating? Does going to your gym lead to embarrassment and thus procrastination? Just be curious and notice. How does your environment reflect and support your motivation to be well? Small changes can make a big difference.
- SMARTER goals – The beauty is in the details! Saying I will try to walk three days this week leaves a lot of wiggle room for motivation to fade. This is one structure that we tend to make too weak. Give yourself the gift of taking the time to build with goals that raise confidence. Be SMARTER with goal setting.
Just as building designs account for deflections (the movement of a structure as a result of stress), our structures need to have some flexibility to adapt and not crumble when life gets in the way. The “all or nothing” approach to healthy habits lacks flexibility for mistakes and outside pressures. The slightest stress causes motivation to crumble. As you build your own structures, see them as an act of self care. Self-criticism keeps the structures too rigid. The mindset of self-care and compassion provides the flexibility needed to allow for the natural deflections of life.
Activate It: What are the important structures that keep you on track for living well? What has worked in the past? What works in other areas of well-being? What could you add to support sustainable motivation? Take what you know and write down a framework for your motivation. Note how each are connected to your vision for your well-being and thus are acts of self care. You may be amazed at how sturdy your motivation can be.
May You Be Well,
Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC
Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Health and Wellness Coach
Yoga and Meditation Teacher