Social media is an amazing thing. Sure it has its dark side, but as of late I have been seeing a lot of good from outlets such as my Instagram and Facebook feeds (FYI I don’t have Twitter, and I’ve lost pretty well all use for SnapChat). One really cool thing is I’m seeing a lot of people tag me in things having to do with various styles of training, such as Olympic lifting, Crossfit, running outdoors, swimming, etc. I’m taking it that people are responding to my new variety, keep-your-body-guessing style of training, and I’m LOVING it!! People are also messaging me things like: “I ran 10 km today, and I totally thought of you” or “I wasn’t going to train today, but then I read your post- thank you.” You have no idea how much those messages make me smile 🙂
The number one question I get asked every single week is “Lindsay, how do you stay so motivated?” While I am not perfect and definitely have my sluggish moments, my answer is simply: mindset. Before we talk about that, we need to explore your original source of motivation. Motivation can come and go with so much as a whiff of a cheeseburger. Fickle in nature, extrinsic motivation is as flaky as your Grandma’s pie crust (damn, I must be hungry 😉 ). Extrinsic motivation refers to a reward or inducement provided by an external person or entity to compel a person to act. The reward could be the cheeseburger, it could be a paycheque or monetary prize, or even a promotion. Take any of those initiatives away, and the goal becomes less desirable. Intrinsic motivation is the most effective personal motivator. Intrinsic motivation is a person’s inherent or inborn motivation that does not need outside influence to make things happen. This is a goal or something you as the individual wants to achieve out of pure interests sake, without expecting any sort of reward other than the achievement itself. Try to think to the last time you had a goal/task you wanted to achieve and you were intrinsically motivated. This type of motivation does require some soul-searching.
Once you have identified your goal, and more importantly- your ‘why’ for what you wish to achieve, the next piece of the puzzle is your mindset. Having a strong, healthy, positive mindset is what will keep you in the game and help make that goal a reality. As motivated as one may be, the path to success is never smooth. The following are 3 tools I currently use in everyday life to help maintain a strong mindset:
1) Be Grateful
If you follow me at all on social media, you’ll know I refer to gratitude A LOT. Recently I shared that I began journalling every night 5 things I am grateful for. This has been an amazing exercise! It takes about 5 mins and it gets me to think about my day and all the good that was in it. It also makes me realize the things I am most grateful for are my relationships with others and how they make me feel/I them.
Another way to show gratitude is get in the habit of replacing the term “I have to” with “I get to“. Speaking from experience in my line of work (in health care), you’d be surprised on how many everyday activities you might view as a chore or routine that others would give ANYTHING for if they had the ability.
Example: Instead of “I have to go to the gym today after work” say “I get to go exercise after work”. How fortunate that A) you have the physical ability to exercise and move your body; and B) that you are working!! Those are both great things! Nobody has to do anything, but everything we do serves a purpose and we should feel grateful for what have, not dwell on the have-nots.
Relating back to extrinsic motivation, many of us are in all honesty motivated originally by an external source. One might be look up to a certain athlete, or CEO, or media mogul- but our inspirations do often stem from someone or something. I often catch myself wanting to do and achieve more because I see others with greater life obstacles succeeding. This is inspiring to me because I have seen it can be done. Nothing is truly impossible. We all go through tough times, as have many role models before us. If your extrinsic motivation has to be “I can do this because I know _____ did”- then so be it. Better yet- you can be your own source of motivation. If you can think of the most challenging obstacle you have ever faced and realize that you got through that, you will likely succeed at overcoming another.
3) Focus on the Good
We all have our bad days. The truth is, more often than not we have a bad ‘moment’ and tend to dwell on it for the rest of the day. I have been a victim of this many times, and it’s crippling. We all go through tough times, as have many role models before us. To me, staying negative about something is a set back- you are losing time. In the amount of time spent dwelling on what went wrong, someone who had it worse than you has picked up and moved on. As crazy or corny as it seems, when times get challenging I say this to myself: “I will NOT let this beat me.” I am a competitor at life!! It works almost every single time. Tying in with tool #1, try to remember your ‘haves’ or ‘get tos’ not your ‘have nots’.
All 3 of these tools have helped me get through some tough challenges in my day-to-day life, but I am not perfect. I do have my less-than-positive moments, but when I feel myself slipping I refer to all 3 of these points listed. There’s winning a competition, reaching a weight-loss goal, or achieving that promotion- any goal reached will have its bumps and hiccups along the way. Staying motivated is not easy, but your motivation is only as strong as your mindset.