Losing weight, building muscle, changing your lifestyle and becoming fit is possible for anyone. How do I know? Because I did it and I'm going to tell YOU the secret to doing all of this right now. Are you ready? Pay CLOSE attention because it is MAGIC and the SECRET is...motivation. Did you catch that? Motivation is the secret...it's that simple and you ALREADY have that inside you. The magic trick is to master your motivation so that it's easy to maintain. When you become the magician and wield power over your own motivation, you can transform yourself into anything.
Performing the Magic Trick to Maintain 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 and desire to change comes easily and most often, it strikes us from the outside, whether we want it to or not. It can come from seeing someone whose physique you covet (you know, that person you hate to look at but can't stop looking!), those pants that are becoming a tad difficult to button, that annoying jiggle of fat, to the sting in your heart of not placing as high as you had hoped in a competition. However, maintaining our internal motivation when those outside forces aren't present and when we're tired or stressed can cause our balanced house of cards to come tumbling down. To prevent that here's a few lessons I've learned on my way to becoming fit and the tricks I use to maintain the magic.
Lesson 1: In the beginning of my transformation I struggled and with anything that we are new to, we go through a trial and error process. 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. 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.
Trick 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. Attach pictures of what motivates you. 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. Remembering how you felt and validating those feelings strengthens them so that one day simply recalling them is enough.
Lesson 2: Over time as the changes in my body became more visible, I became my own motivation. Putting progress pictures side by side with before photos allowed me to see how far I had come. Now, my competition and photo-shoot photos 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. 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 and you must actively seek it out.
Trick 2: Most people are motivated by visual input. To take advantage of this, create a “motivation board” that is a collage of pictures, quotes, written goals or anything that inspires you. The pictures can be of others or yourself and you can change them over time as you progress. Place your motivation board where you will see it in the morning to make sure that your goal is reinforced each day and that you begin the morning with a positive and driven mindset. Place additional reminders in meticulous places to view throughout the day to keep your motivation high and your goal on your mind.
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, 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.
Trick 3: After a breakdown meal or unintended break from training, take the time to write down in your journal what caused this to happen. Were you overly hungry with no prepared meal in sight? Whatever the cause was 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 websites and having others take the time to congratulate me and tell me how I inspire them 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 transformation. Being able to provide them with health and fitness information and to see their changes was extremely rewarding. Giving back and helping others who are in the situation that you were once in is the greatest motivation of all.
Trick 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 tricks to keep our minds motivated. Variety is truly the spice of life!
Trick 5: Throughout my transformation I used multiple visual and auditory tricks to help keep myself motivated. In the beginning, I wore a bracelet with a motivational quote around the wrist of the hand that I ate and drink with. Every time I had a meal or snack, that bracelet reminded me of why I chose to nourish my body with nutritious food and helped prevent me from indulging. If you prefer 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. Social media content is always changing and is an infinite resource for motivation. Use it!
The ability to change your body, your lifestyle, and your ultimate success in achieving this is largely dependent upon knowing yourself and what motivates you. 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 motivational tricks there is no limit to the power you can possess over your mind and your body. You are the magician and your motivation is the secret magic trick.
by Dr Brandy Segura