Welcome to our first blog post! Maintaining your motivation is the key element to obtaining lifelong results, which is why it is fundamental to our brand and the focus of our first blog topic! Stay tuned for much more from the Fit Style blog!
Master Your Motivation
In order to transform your body and your lifestyle you MUST first transform your MIND. When your motivation begins to slack, a strong mind that views yourself, your capabilities, and your goals differently will allow you to push forward in times of doubt.
Know your mindset: Prior to my physical transformation I was stuck in a mental rut. I was unhappy with my current situation and felt powerless to change it. I was unable to see any of the possibilities that lay ahead because I was overwhelmed with the regret of giving up my career and lifelong dream. Like most people, I did not take responsibility for my happiness or health and did not realize the power I had in changing my future. I believed that my life was a ride that I went on rather than a road that I actively drove and whose destination I could control.
My mindset was stagnant until I saw the transformation stories in the Muscle & Fitness HERS magazine. Reading stories of women that had taken control of their lives and their bodies showed me that I could change my situation if I made the choice to do so. The fact that I was capable of choosing to be happy or not and
fat or fit, was a concept that was difficult to accept. I found the extra guidance I needed in a book, The Soulmate Experience by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn. This self-help book taught me that I have control over my mind, my attitude, and beliefs about myself. I learned that my life, my reality and the perceptions I have about myself and that others have about me are all within my control.
TIP: I would recommend that everyone attempting to undergo a transformation of any kind to read a self help book about changing your mindset and perceptions. The tools you will learn can be just as life changing as they were for me.
Change your mindset: The first step to changing my mindset was to sit down and reflect on my life and the things that made me unhappy or happy, and what lead me to become overweight. I had to face the reasons why I was unhappy and find out what caused those feelings about my situation or how I felt about myself. Only then could I replace these negative outlooks and beliefs with positive ones. Making the choice to be happy and to see the positives in myself, and every situation is a tool that I had to actively work on and a habit that I was able to create over time. This change in my mindset and my belief about my capabilities was instrumental in my transformation.
TIP: With every failure and misstep I took time to reflect on why I failed and what I could learn from it. Keeping a journal on your reflections and revelations is a great way to make sure you take the dedicated time out to actively work through your situations and to have a resource to look back at when you lack motivation. In doing so, I was able to see every situation for what it was, a learning point and chance to grow and become stronger.
Maintaining your motivation: The Merriam-Webster definition of “motivation” is: the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something; a force or influence that causes someone to do something. The initial motivation for changing my lifestyle and losing weight came from the transformation stories of other people. Seeing what they were capable of inspired me to achieve the same results. Their actions and success gave me the courage and push to do something I never thought possible. It’s been a tough road to get where I am today but I’ve learned a lot about myself, and how I can be successful in remaining motivated. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way and five tips on how I maintain my motivation:
Lesson 1: I will admit that in the beginning of my transformation I struggled. As with anything that we are new to, we go through a trial and error process and changing our lifestyle and creating new habits takes time. In the difficult moments when I questioned my capabilities and decision to change, I revisited the transformation stories I was initially motivated by to remember why I started. Remembering how I felt about myself in the beginning and why my choice to change was important to me gave me the strength to continue.
Tip 1: Start a journal and write down what your goal is, why you want to achieve this goal, and what it would mean to you to achieve it. When you find your motivation dwindling, reread your journal to remind yourself of why you started and why it’s important for you to continue.
Lesson 2: Over time as eating healthy became easier and I began to lose weight and the changes in my body became more visible, I became my own motivation. Taking progress pictures of myself and putting these side by side with my before pictures allowed me to see how far I had come. Now, my competition photos and photo shoots have become my drive to continue and to bring an improved physique with each show. I still look at my before photos to remember how far I have come and to remind myself how proud I should be of every single accomplishment I’ve made. Like most competitors, I am also motivated by Pro athletes, and the dedication, and drive that they must possess. Motivation can be found within any situation and what motivates us often changes as we change. Finding and maintaining this motivation can be difficult but is possible if you make the choice to actively seek it out.
Tip 2: Many people, including myself, are motivated by visual input. To take advantage of this, create a “motivation board” that is a collage of pictures, quotes, your written goals and anything that inspires you to achieve your goal. These can be pictures of others or of yourself and you can change it over time as you progress. Place your motivation board where you will see it first thing in the morning to make sure that your goal is reinforced each day and you begin the morning with a positive and driven mindset. Additionally, placing your before and progress photos, competition, or photo shoot pictures in meticulous places to view throughout the day can also provide small reminders of how far you’ve come and keeps your motivation high.
Lesson 3: It is inevitable that you will have bad days and succumb to temptations. That’s ok, it happens! When it does, how you handle it and what you learn from it is the key. Don’t beat yourself up, just dust yourself off and start again with your next meal or workout. The regret that comes along with a breakdown can be worse than the sick feeling in your stomach from consuming unhealthy food. The physical and emotional feelings you have should, however, be used as a reminder.
Tip 3: Here’s the best time to make use of that journal you should have. After a breakdown meal or unintended break from training, take the time to write what caused this to happen. Were you overly hungry with no prepared meal in sight? Whatever the cause that led you to it, also write down how you felt afterwards. Did the breakdown meal make you feel sick? Did it satisfy you in the end? Did skipping your training leave you feeling frustrated and sluggish? Writing down the negative feelings associated with these moments of weakness and re-reading them is a great motivator to keep on track the next time we feel a breakdown creeping up.
Lesson 4: I have been fortunate enough to have my transformation featured on multiple website and have gotten great feedback from those who have read my story. Unexpectedly, having other people take the time to tell me how inspired they are by my story and congratulate me on my transformation actually motivates me even more to continue improving and to work harder than ever. Recently, I started a fitness motivation group on Facebook to help people undergoing a physical transformation. Being able to provide them with health and fitness information and seeing their changes is extremely rewarding. I have always believed in giving back when you find yourself in the position to do so. Helping others who are in the situation that you were once in can create even greater purpose for your chosen path.
Tip 4: Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. Together you can inspire each other and keep each other motivated and accountable. Let’s be honest, no one likes to fail, it’s human nature, and the chance that others could find out about our failure is even worse! Don’t let this hinder you, use it!! Whenever I have a goal I want to accomplish, I tell other people. The drive to reach my stated goal is greater than any secret goal I keep to myself.
Lesson 5: Maintaining motivation and keeping a positive mindset is an active process and one that you must work on daily. Just as we must change up our training to keep the body guessing, we must change our tactics to keep our minds motivated. Variety is truly the spice of life!
Tip 5: Throughout my transformation I used multiple visual and auditory tricks to help keep myself motivated. I wore a bracelet with a motivational quote or word around the wrist of the hand that I eat and drink with. Every time I had a meal or snack, this bracelet reminded me of why I’m choosing to nourish my body with nutritious food and helped prevent me from indulging. If you are the kind of person who needs auditory input to stimulate you, there are many amazing fitness motivation videos on YouTube.com that are extremely effective. Watching one of these first thing in the morning, before training, or when your motivation is low can reignite your fire. Whether you prefer visual or auditory tricks, changing them up and adding in new ones over time will keep your mind and motivation fresh.
The ability to change your lifestyle and your ultimate success in achieving this is largely dependent upon knowing yourself. Realize that it is a process with ups and downs but as long as you are learning about yourself and what works for you, every step forward is a step in the right direction. With the right mindset and the right motivation anything is possible.
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