Some days you wake up ready to take on the world, filled with energy and drive to achieve your bone health goals, but then on some days you just don't.
Today, we'll gather strategies for regaining and maintaining the motivation you need to keep up with all of your bone-healthy behaviors. It's important to think ahead about how you'll get yourself out of a slump, that way when you start to feel uninspired, you'll know just what to do.
Motivation Starts With “Why”
Articulating a specific and personal reason for pursuing any goal is essential to building and maintaining motivation.
A frequent mistake is misidentifying the goal itself as the reason for pursuing it. While the goal is likely desirable in and of itself, you can strengthen your resolve by identifying a more personalized and positive purpose for your pursuit.
For Savers, the goal is most often to build stronger, healthier bones. If you stop there, with “stronger bones” as the reason for changing your diet, activity levels, and lifestyle, you won't have a goal that's specific to you.
Maybe your “why” for this goal is that you want to be able to play soccer with your grandchildren. Maybe your “purpose” for this pursuit is so you can keep living independently in the house you raised your kids in. Perhaps the reason for your goal is to have the energy and confidence to keep up with your younger colleagues at work or with your close friends.
Pick something that's specific to you, and connected to the people, places, activities, and things you love. If your goal is about something specific and important– something you can imagine and see in your mind's eye– then you'll have a tangible “why”.
That “why” will be the source of your motivation. Hold it close and return to it often. On days you don't feel motivated, return to your “why” and reconnect with your desire to reach that destination.
Don't mistake your goal for the reason you're pursuing it. Dig deeper for a personal reason for achieving that goal and make sure it's specific to you and your life. This is your “why”. It's the source of your motivation and you should return to it often to stay motivated.
Refuel Your Motivation With Progress Markers
Every major goal takes time to reach. But if you can't tell that you're making progress it's easy to get discouraged and lose your forward momentum.
You can avoid this problem, and the subsequent loss of motivation, by providing yourself with progress markers. Many different systems use progress markers to keep participants engaged and motivated to continue– think of reward points on a credit card or roadsigns counting down the miles to an attraction.
You can build your own system of progress markers to help you maintain your motivation. Try one or all of these techniques:
- Bite-Sizing – Break your larger goal down into bite-sized chunks. Turning something massive and overwhelming into a series of manageable tasks will prevent procrastination and burnout. Then you can use these bite-sized bits to create your progress markers.
- Checklists – If you've ever felt a rush of satisfaction from marking an item off of your to-do list, then checklists are a great strategy for you. Make daily or weekly checklists of the bite-sized chunks of your goals. They could be new habits you're forming, old behaviors you're giving up, or tasks you need to complete. When you accomplish each one, simply check it off the list.
- Accumulative Markers – Accumulative progress markers are a favorite strategy of grade school teachers. When a student accomplishes a goal, they get a gold star. When they get a certain number of gold stars, they get a reward. Gold stars are always a great choice, but you could use anything you have handy. This is an excellent system for visualizing your progress, and it's one you can put out where supportive friends and family can see it. That way they can celebrate your progress too!
- Temporal Markers – If you have a goal that involves time, like something you do every day, or something you're going to do for a certain number of days, try temporal markers. They could be as simple as Xs on your calendar. Or you could put a countdown on your wall. If you're maintaining a daily practice, you can give yourself a counter of how many days you've accomplished your goal without interruption.
- Progress Log – Keep a log of your progress. Pick out a journal or a notebook and write down notes about your journey on a regular basis, daily or weekly. Be sure to note what you've accomplished, and what was challenging. You can return to this log when you feel discouraged to remind yourself of the progress you've made so far. You can even add progress markers to your progress log– try marking every five or ten pages with a special tab so you can easily visualize how far you've come.
Use progress markers to motivate yourself. Break your goal down into bite sized chunks, and use those chunks for making checklists or adding accumulative markers to a progress chart or board. You can give yourself temporal markers of how long you've kept up a new practice. Keep a progress log as a record of your accomplishments you can look back on for encouragement.
Reward Yourself For Sticking With It
Now you've got a system for marking your progress and creating a series of bite-sized goals you can accomplish on the way to your big one. You can maximize the motivation boost you feel upon making progress by rewarding yourself.
Decide in advance what sort of reward you'll give yourself for each success along the way.
These rewards could be as simple as taking a five-minute break or enjoying a favorite snack. For bigger milestones you can give yourself larger rewards: going to see a movie, visiting your favorite city, or buying yourself something you've had your eye on.
By doing the work of setting these rewards for yourself, you give yourself some simple and tangible reasons for getting a few steps closer to your destination.
Using this method, your journey can start to feel like a game that's full of prizes and rewards!
Pick out rewards to give yourself upon completing each step toward your goal. You can use small rewards for small goals (like a favorite snack or a short rest) and bigger rewards for major milestones.
Identify Obstacles To Motivation
Part of setting yourself up for success is identifying obstacles and planning how to overcome them. Of course, some things are out of control and may impede your progress, but often the problem comes from within. Learn to recognize these counter-productive feelings and habits. Then you'll be able to take steps to avoid or overcome them.
- Overwhelm – Sometimes you can take on so many challenges of such a large scale that you feel overwhelmed by them and can't even get started on the work of facing them. If you're feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and assess your goals: are they broken down into manageable bite-sized steps? Are there simply too many of them? It's ok to adjust your goals. It's better to set yourself five tasks and only accomplish four than to set yourself ten tasks and get so overwhelmed that you don't accomplish any.
- Self-doubt – Everyone experiences self-doubt– that little voice in the back of our mind trying to convince us that we just can't do it. The difference between motivated people who persevere and people who give up is how they deal with it. When you hear that voice, name it. That's self-doubt. Then disregard it. That voice will get you to sabotage yourself and give up before you've tried.
- Get Comfortable With Discomfort – Uncomfortable feelings, emotional or physical, are part of the change. To accomplish your goals you must get comfortable with discomfort. That's different from suffering, or pain– you don't want to hurt yourself. But if a particular challenge feels unpleasant but isn't hurting you, it might just be an uncomfortable part of helping yourself.
- Perfectionism – Don't strive for perfection; strive for completion. The fear of imperfection will petrify you, preventing you from moving forward. Instead, embrace imperfect progress as the ideal form.
Identify impediments to maintaining motivation and eliminate them. Avoid overwhelm by breaking big goals into little steps or by reducing your number of challenges; identify and disregard self-doubt; get comfortable with discomfort; and reject perfectionism.
Don't Expect Perfection
Motivation is not a personality trait that some people have and other people don't. It's something that you build and strengthen through practice. If you find yourself thinking “I'm just unmotivated”, try responding with, “No, I just haven't done my motivation-building steps yet.” Then you can get to work.
You won't feel the same amount of motivation every day, and that’s fine. Stick with your strategies and accept that variation is a part of life. Remember, perfectionism can scare you. Observe the difficult days and don't misinterpret them as failures. Progress isn't a straight line.
If one strategy starts to feel stale, you can change it up. Sometimes a simple change can make a strategy feel exciting again: rotate in a new self-reward, start a new progress log, or get humorous stickers to mark your progress with.
Just like your bone health, your motivation-building practice is a perpetual work in progress. That's a good thing– it means you always have the chance to make it stronger, and little set-backs aren't failures, they're just detours along the way.
Motivation isn't something you have or don't have, it's something you build. Approach your motivation as a daily practice and remember that your success and progress will vary. That's normal. Just like with building your bones, building motivation is a perpetual work in progress.
What This Means To You
For Savers, the journey to strong and healthy bones may require new habits that demand resolve and perseverance. Building and maintaining motivation is essential to accomplishing our goals.
Fortunately, the Osteoporosis Reversal Program breaks the journey down for you into bite-sized steps, easy adjustments, and daily practices. That makes it simple to mark your progress, reward yourself for each accomplishment, and tackle challenges as they come.
The best part is that the results of the ORP extend far beyond stronger bones– this holistic approach has a positive impact on almost every area of your health. That makes it even easier to craft a personal and compelling “why” that fuels your forward momentum.
Take the time to reconnect with your deeper purpose for pursuing a drug-free, all-natural approach to lasting good health and well-being!
Love the idea of checklists and breaking your goals into bite size steps. Good suggestions for motivating ourselves. Think sometimes we forget to reward ourselves, even if it is for small accomplishments and that it how we are encouraged to move on, grow and learn. Thanks!
You have interesting subjects to look into like recipes, exercises and nutrition.
I love the advise to reward ourselves! I will start implementing what you suggest right away. Thanks so much.
Just what I needed! Thanks so much, Vivian!