The new Weight Watchers 360 pack included in it a "Success Handbook" by Elizabeth Josefsberg. I've mentioned previously that I may go through some of that handbook here and after reading the section on motivation I thought I'd share a few things.
While I take this information from Weight Watchers materials, I think this information can apply to most diets.
According to the handbook:
Motivation is a circle
"Motivation is a circle: at the top of the circle is your most highly motivated state. As your drive starts to slip, it moves down and around to the right, like the hands on a clock. At the bottom of the circle is a less motivated state, where you may experience a plateau and start to disengage. At the 9:00 or 10:00 position, you are reaching the all-out unmotivated state. You may not care what happens anymore, and you stand outside yourself and watch as you make choices that lead you further and further away from your goals. You may be gaining weight, losing hope, and possibly even deciding that this is the end of your weight loss journey. It's not. The point is that even when you are feeling the least motivated, you are never too far from the highly motivated state."
It is nice to have a visual. Nice to know that your motivation dropping is normal and part of a common cycle. Also, the author is sure to note that while motivation is a circle, you can move in any direction or stay in any one spot for a period of time. Just because you slip to an unmotivated state does not mean that you have to go all the way to the 9:00 or 10:00 position, you just need to know how to "nudge" yourself out of it and get back to your highly motivated state.
3 steps that kick motivation into gear:
1. Take action:"you took an action, whether you knew it or not- maybe you stopped tracking or didn't plan- which made your motivation start to wane. To get back up, you have to take another action."
2. That action can be very small: Pick one change, like drinking more water, and focus on that for a full week. The next week make another small change.
3. The action doesn't have to be about following the rules: "The action that puts your motivation back into drive does not always have to be a step in the direction of doing what you think you "should" do. In fact, it might be the exact opposite."
The author offers 3 suggestions for examples:
1. Allow yourself to go out for dinner and have an off-plan meal. But, you must then plan an on-plan meal for breakfast.
2. Imagine what would happen if you quit. You can only quit if you can answer how your life would be better if you stopped following the program.
3. Visit weightwatchers.com and read a few success stories so that you can believe that you can succeed.
Use these strategies to get back to your motivated state again and then take time to realize what triggered you to be unmotivated in the first place.
Learn to see your red flags
Most "red flags" are personal so each person needs to think about an determine what they are for you, but the handbook does discuss a few common ones:
- Stopped tracking points values
- A plateau or a few weeks of small weight gains
- Talking yourself out of attending meetings.
The author states that her "red flags" are
Look for motivation drains"Little signs that tell me that I am either bored or deprived or stressed or that I have lost touch with why I am doing this in the first place. I know that I need to take a minute to figure out hat is bothering me and take the appropriate small steps to correct it before it gets larger, takes over, and brings me to a true low point."
Look to see what has changed recently. Do you have a new job, new home, less sleep, etc. Then think about what has worked for you in the past and start to implement your small changes to get your motivation back on track."Changes in your motivation are often tied to changes in your life."
. . .
Different things work for different people. I'm writing this blog as I'm going through this process. I'm reading this motivation section because I feel like my motivation has waned so I want to implement this advice.
When I read things that I find helpful I will share it here. Feel free to leave feedback of what has worked/not worked for you. Everyone who has read this blog has helped keep me feel more accountable, so thank you!
Now, let's go find our motivation again!