Have you ever started something and felt so excited about the possibilities only to fizzle out a couple weeks later?
Do you know what drives you to make healthy behaviour changes?
Do you know why you do the behaviours you do?
Do you know when to make a change and what that change should be?
If you said yeah, I need to lose weight to any of those questions, I’m going to ask you to go a little deeper.
The tricky thing with motivation and healthy behaviours is that so many of us use weight loss as our motivation. But what happens if we achieve the weight goal and what happens if we don’t?
Are you still motivated to do the healthy behaviours?
The problem a lot of people have with healthy behaviour change goals is that we get so caught up in the big picture we forget about the little wins, the small reasons why we’re doing this and that steps toward change are steps toward change, no matter the size.
There are many ways that health can be improved, beyond just diet and exercise.
So if your plan for the new year or really at any point is to overhaul your eating and exercise habits, I encourage you to find your why first.
Your actual why will likely be different than what diet culture and wellness companies tell you it should be. So, remember that there are no wrong answers here just honest ones.
Let’s find your motivation:
🍝 THE PAST
The past can be such a great clue into what truly matters to you. It holds the memories you want to make more of and the accomplishments you want to do again or do differently.
What are your most cherished memories?
What has been your all-time favourite activity?
What has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
What have you needed to be doing to be able to experience these things?
🎁 THE PRESENT
So today you, think about your day to day.
Today what gives you joy?
What do you wish you spent more time doing?
What activities do you love doing today?
What are your top 3 values about yourself and/or other people?
Who cares if you make any healthy behaviour changes?
Would you still get the benefits if weight loss didn’t happen?
🔮 THE FUTURE
How would you finish these sentences:
When I think about what is most important to me, something I want to do more of is ________.
When I think about what is most important to me, something I want to do less of is ________.
Yay you’ve figured out what your actionable goals could be. There’s a good chance that your fill in the blank answer has something to do with one of the other questions you answered and, in those answers, lies your why.
Figuring out what your actionable goals could be is only part 1 of the whole goal setting thing.
Part 2 is changing a wish into a goal.
Think about how you will do more or less of these things, how often, what does that look like?
How confident are you that this could be something you do? Scale of 1-10, 1 being not happening and 10 being soo easy
If it’s less than an 8 you should adjust your goal, make it less often or decrease the time or whatever you need to until you can feel confident that this goal can happen.
Then you’ve got to track it! There is no point in doing all this work to create a goal and then have no idea if your guess about your confidence was accurate.
We tend to think we can do a lot more than we actually can, especially at first when this is all new and we just want a change. So, track it. If you aren’t meeting your goal, change your goal until it starts to feel easy. Then you can increase the duration or frequency of it or move on and add something else.
Setting and achieving goals improves your own belief in your capacity to do what you need to do to reach your goal. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy similarly to repeated failure to fulfill a goal which can decrease self-efficacy, decrease satisfaction, and impair future performance. Small change is still a step towards progress and the more you believe in yourself, the more comfortable you may feel challenging yourself with bigger goals.
Want a worksheet to help you with this process? Check out the free workbook “Find What Motivates You”.
With kindness and compassion,