What's Holding You Back?

Valorie Burton is a bestselling author, speaker, and life coach dedicated
to helping you:

  • Be happier and have more fun, even when life seems routine.
  • Navigate setbacks or disappointments that make you better, not bitter.
  • Make a major life change that's exciting and scary at the same time.

Motivation Killers

Have you ever joined a gym or bought the latest exercise video, only to lose motivation and quit altogether? If you’re like most folks, you know what I mean. Your intentions are good, but the fiery motivation that gets you going eventually fizzles and you find yourself right back where you started – or worse. So what is the secret to lasting motivation? Can you really change your lifestyle habits and become healthier for good?

The answer is YES. But first, you’ve got to get rid of what I call your “motivation killers.” Break these bad habits, and you’ll give new life to your health and fitness goals.

“There is a spiritual and mental element to health and fitness goals that is so important,” says fitness guru Donna Richardson Joyner, author of Witness to Fitness: Pumped Up! Powered Up! All things are Possible!.” “Taking care of your body is an act of gratitude for the divine gift of good health. When you change your thinking, you increase your chances for success.”

Psychologists note that a key to changing your thinking is making sure your motivation is solid. Your motivation is your “why” for going after the goal – and it needs to come from the inside out. Extrinsic motivation can be enticing, but it does not hold the sort of meaning that strengthens your perseverance. For example, you could motivate yourself to lose 20 pounds so that you look good for your upcoming high school reunion. But what happens after that? Intrinsic motivation is more meaningful. For example, “I finally want to experience the potential I know I am capable of,” or “I want to live long and see my grandchildren graduate from college” are intrinsic motivations for better health. It is OK to have some extrinsic motivators, but if all of your motivation is extrinsic, you are more likely to give up when the journey to your goal becomes tough. Just as dangerous as not finding a strong enough “why” is killing your motivation through some common bad habits.

Motivation killers: Are you guilty of one of these?

Motivation Killer #1: Comparing “up”
When you constantly compare your body to those whom you perceive as more healthy or attractive or disciplined, you can dampen your motivation and become discouraged. It is OK to notice those around you, but do so in a balanced way. Don’t just notice those who have it all together – notice the ones who are struggling, too. By doing so, you realize you are not alone in your struggle. And when you compare yourself with someone who is doing better, ask empowering questions, such as, “What is she doing that helps her stay on track?” and “How does he stay away from those chocolate chip cookies?”

Solution: Instead of envy, educate yourself and learn from those who’ve “been there, done that.”

Motivation Killer #2: Too much ambition!
I know, it sounds almost un-American to tell you to curb your ambition. But too much ambition can be counterproductive. Have you ever started the New Year with a list of resolutions that goes something like this: exercise one hour per day, no soft drinks, drink 8 glasses of water per day, go to bed by 9 pm and no mid-afternoon runs to the vending machine for a pack of Twinkies! By Day 3, you’re failing miserably.

Solution: Choose one goal and move toward it with laser focus. After 21 days of focus, add another goal. Repeat this cycle until you reach all of your goals. Lifestyle changes happen incrementally, not overnight.

Motivation Killer #3: No Fun!
By going it alone or forcing yourself to do activities you truly don’t like, you sap your own motivation. Team up with a buddy, take a dance class or join a sports league. Make your exercise ritual a social endeavor and it will be more fun. Bonus: Research shows positive emotions generated by having fun actually help you persevere.

Solution: Stop thinking of exercise as a chore, and find a way to make it fun.

 

What are your motivation killers? Can you identify yourself in these scenarios? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!

Success is Right Under Your Nose!

I feel led this week to give you a few words of inspiration about how your words can propel you to success rather than sabotage your efforts. Success often comes to those who know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. Those with talent, but don’t communicate effectively often never get the satisfaction of fulfilling their potential. Are you a wise communicator?

In the busyness of life and work, we can sometimes forget the impact of our words. A few words spoken hastily can ruin a relationship or an opportunity. So can a few words gone unspoken. Sometimes the people around you need to hear you speak clearly about where you stand on certain issues or how you feel about them. The missing piece that will solidify success is in your relationships, job or entrepreneurial endeavors may be right under your nose! I have five simple ideas to share with you about the words that come out of your mouth:

1. Learn when to be quiet.
Some of us are more inclined to speak than others, but those who find the most success are often those who know when to be quiet. There may be a situation in your life right now that is hindered and not helped by more talking. Don’t be afraid of silence. Sometimes life’s best answers appear when we are quiet enough to listen.

2. Give yourself time to think.
We have all heard the saying, “think before you speak.” Consider this a reminder that it is always wise to consider the impact your words will have after they are spoken. Think of the best way to communicate what you need to say before you even open your mouth. Even when you are in a conversation and must respond immediately, take a few seconds first to gather your thoughts. You will come across as being more thoughtful, and you will feel more confident about what you say. If you need more time to think about how to respond, simply say, “Let me give that some thought.”

3. Refuse to murmur and complain.
We can always find something to complain about if we focus on the negative. Make a decision to appreciate the blessings in every situation and refuse to waste your words complaining and murmuring. Instead, ask, “What solution would help me eliminate the challenges I find myself complaining about?” Complaints drain your energy – and the energy of the people around you! Use your words to renew your energy, not deplete it.

4. Tell me something good!
In the seventies, Chaka Khan had a funky song that became her first hit, “Tell me somethin’ good.” I still love to sing it when I hear it on the radio. In a previous post I asked you to ask yourself and others every day, “What’s the best thing that’s happened to you lately?” Are you still asking yourself that question regularly? Stay in the habit of acknowledging the good things that are going on, so that you don’t find your conversation out of balance and focused solely on the negative realities you may face.

5. Speak your goals into existence.
One of the most common reasons many people never reach their goals is that they don’t really believe they can. Not only do they not believe it, but they speak negatively about their chances for success. Sometimes you have to speak your way into believing all that is possible for you. Speak positively about your vision for your life. “I will accomplish my goal by doing XYZ …”. Even if you hear your doubts swirling around in your head (“You can’t do that!” “Who do you think you are?!”), refuse to verbalize them. Eventually your thoughts will catch up with your words!

 

Challenge:
Watch what you say. Your words have tremendous power.

 

Journaling Assignment:
In what way(s) are your words hurting more than helping you? What specifically will you commit to doing differently this week when it comes to your words? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear from you!