Living in an old house in New England, the insulation can be a bit spotty! When the cold air seeps in, my hard-earned resources slowly slip away.
In our ‘building a home for motivation’ analogy, a strong support network is the insulation that helps preserve what we work hard to create. As I am sure you are aware, motivation can also be sapped by the people around us.
- Surrounded by the super-fit and athletic. It seems like this should be motivating, yet being around super-fit folks often leads to feeling overwhelmed and guilty. Self-criticism ramps up and we are distracted from our true goal. Keep in mind you do not need to be super fit to be healthy. Even if it is your goal eventually, when the gap is too large, motivation can easily slip.
- Stuck in the mud. Your healthy changes may be seen as a threat to the status quo. The people you used to share unhealthy habits with may try to pull you away from your goal saying things like, oh, just skip your lunchtime walk and order take-out with us!
- Media meltdown. Do you ever feel overrun with information about what is good and bad for your health? Conflicting information in the media can drain the motivation to figure out and choose what is healthy.
- Competition confusion. When the focus becomes about winning competitions for daily steps, pounds lost, or minutes planked, we can lose our way to the true goal.
- Super strong external supports. While it is great to have a strong support network, it can be easy to rely heavily on the positive encouragement of others while the internal supports start to weaken. Remember these external supports are only the insulation. What holds this house together is the foundation and the strong internal supports you set for yourself.
This last one I find to be especially true in weight loss. When weight loss stops, the positive comments stop. This is when internal supports are especially essential to stay motivated.
Activate It: Mindfulness helps reveal the holes and discover sources of support:
- Who is in your true support network? Make a list of the people who understand not only what your goal is but why it is so important to you. These are the people who will bring you back to your foundation instead of just giving you empty praise when you’re feeling discouraged.
- How do you use virtual support? Social media can be helpful to provide 24/7 support. With so many forms out there, be choosy! Use only what aligns with your true goal.
- How is your media diet? The media sound bites about health studies don’t give the full story about the research. Stick with advice from professionals, blended with what you know is right for you.
- How do you compete? Notice how you handle competitions. Do they take you closer to your goal in the long run?
- Where are the weak spots in your motivation insulation? Be prepared for any resistance to your healthy changes. Visualize how you will handle situations of temptation from the naysayers in your life.
- What groups could boost support? Groups can provide support with a sense of camaraderie. Consider both online and in-person sources.
- How effective are your support groups? Evaluate this regularly. Often groups can become set in their ways and support the problem rather than progress toward the goal. If you notice the group is stuck, either shake it up or move on.
May You Be Well,
Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC
Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Health and Wellness Coach
Yoga and Meditation Teacher