The Blog

Positively Motivated: A Blog on Mindset

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 ūüôā

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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 ūüėČ ). 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.

2) Believe

Ashley Horner: fitness model, entrepreneur, Reebok athlete, mother of 3 #lifegoals

Ashley Horner: fitness model, entrepreneur, Reebok athlete, mother of 3 #lifegoals

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

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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.

It’s Time for a ‘Time-Out’

*Photos courtesy of Taylor Oakes for BodyRock.tv

I am human. For every 5 or 6 good days, there has to be a bad one in there somewhere within the week. I am positive, yes, but sometimes life can really get to me. I tend to say ‘yes’ a lot: yes to my job, yes to my training, yes to coffee dates, social events and family functions. Once in a while I recognize the opportunity to say ‘no’. But sometimes, especially this past week- I ignore those signs and commit to everything that everyone (and myself) has asked/expected of me… until I snap.

Sometimes when I’m in public at the grocery store, let’s say, and I see a child throwing a tantrum in the middle of the produce aisle with flailing arms, loud cries, making the most obscene spectacle imaginable I think (first) “oh that poor mother”; then second “I really wish it was socially acceptable for adults to do the same.” Can you imagine how good it would feel to just explode and express all your feelings the SECOND you felt them?? The reality is, we can’t as we are to be civilized, mature, capable adults. We acknowledge that there is a time and place to express emotions, and that yelling and screaming in public doesn’t actually solve anything. In fact, we may have a whole new problem on our hands and face spending the night in a padded room somewhere!

Fortunately I am of sound mind to have an adult meltdown in the privacy of my home. Hey, I am not afraid to admit sometimes it feels amazing just to let it all out. Once the tears are dried, face is washed (ice cold water, it feels great) I buckle down to figure out the root of the problem. More often than not, I realize I am simply overwhelmed. Although I like my life busy, sometimes the mental pot just boils over. From the outside looking in it can all look like an amazing, full life- but sometimes a person can feel like they’re drowning. I am no stranger to anxiety/depression. Although I still have dips in my mood and anxious moments, I am getting better at evaluating what ails me.

This past weekend I experienced what can only be described as BURNOUT. I know this, because I have suffered from it (several times) before. Unfortunately this time I failed to see the signs leading up to my adult-meltdown.  Once I had cooled-off, I took the time to acknowledge the following:

  • My work schedule is ever-changing: I work casual in 3 different departments and my schedule is different every week, and my whole week can change within a day depending on the needs of staff at the hospital; I am constantly having to adjust my life day by day, week by week.
  • I have recently taken on a completely different training regime that is extremely physically taxing on my body.
  • I have also been making fairly drastic changes to my diet over the past month to accommodate my new training.
  • I have been sleeping similar amounts, though because of work/other schedule obligations my guess is that my average 6 hours a night just isn’t cutting it.

All the above listed are a recipe for a good ol’ burnout. Whether I am aware of it or not, my body is under STRESS.

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If you yourself have ever felt supremely overwhelmed, or unexplained changes in your mood/personality ask yourself:

  1. What am I REALLY upset about?
  2. Is this something I can fix (if the problem is identified)?
  3. What are the external stressors in my life (if the problem is unidentified)?
  4. Who is the most reliable person I can talk to?
  5. What are the issues that effect me the most? Will they impact me in the long term?

I am no psychological expert, but all of these really do help. Not everyone likes to talk and share, but sometimes it helps to vent to someone impartial to your situation to help you get through/validate all that you’re dealing with. It can be your spouse/partner, best friend, parent, even a therapist. I have found help from all the above- on various occasions.

Relating back to this past weekend’s situation, I realized the number one thing for me to do was REST. I needed to slow down, to decompress. It is difficult to pencil ourselves in from time to time. We make time for everyone, everything else in our busy lives that we forget about us! It’s impossible to give 100% all of the time. The world won’t stop if we remove ourselves from the next social gathering if we just need to take a break. Sometimes adults need a time-out too. In order to give our best, we must care for ourselves first.

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