I think to get fit and lose weight or indeed anything like that, you need motivation, in fact you need motivation to do just about anything in life. Even when we do things we really don't like we must have some motivation. After all it means to make motive or moving, something must make us move.
But there are two basic types of motivation I think, pushing and pulling. I can look at my current state of fitness and the way I look and feel bad about it, I can try and use this bad feeling to bully myself into doing something about it. I think that occasionally this can be OK but only as a one off event, let's say you see a photo of yourself that makes you realise what has happened to your weight or perhaps you try to play a sport and find you are no longer able to. That can be a shock and give a kick start to making a change.
BUT if you spend all of your time beating up on yourself you will quickly become annoyed and eventually may actually rebel. I think this is a common cause of my breaks from previous plans, I am essentially saying "screw you" to the negative inner voice.
The alternative motivation comes from what you think will/may be. If you really believe that your actions will make the change you hope for, it can create a really nice feeling and a great motivating pull. But you need more than just one of these pulls, it is OK to have some picture in your mind of your eventual goal but that may be so far off that it doesn't help you get out for a run or choose the healthy food option. You need some shorter term goals and some medium and a feeling that these will add up to provide the longer term goals. Here are some of my goals/micro-goals, they may seem pathetic in some ways but they are surprisingly motivating in the short term:
- Finalising my daily calories and it telling me what I will weigh in 5 weeks and it being a nice number
- Telling a friend about the fact that I managed to lose yet another kg with week
- Finding a way to make the slip up at lunch not ruin the day
- Seeing a good selection of work outs on the tracker at the end of the week
- Being able to post something positive about the week on this blog (that nobody reads, the code work is aardvark, first to say it to me gets a free Mars bar or healthy snack)
- Feeling less tired than I did last workout and knowing that it will only improve
- Telling a friend that my run was longer than ever before
Personally I find sharing very motivating and being able to show off a little achievement is really nice. But whatever your little goal, it has to be something that you can gain some pleasure from then and there, in the same way you might look forward to an evening out or dare I say it a nice meal. This ties in with the next topic of rambling: will power.