What motivates you? Do you really know? If you know what motivates you for even moments of time and want to change something in your life, like your health let's say, tap into it, turn it on and use that inspiration to push you through your transitional process to success. Learn how to turn on your motivational brain and keep it on. It might be easier than you think.
I know exactly what motivates me when it comes to nutrition and well being. I know that once I tap into it I can stay strong enough to push through things like workouts and have the will power to completely ignore things like processed food and fast food restaurants. My motivation has actually given me the ability in the last few years to NOT SEE most fast food restaurants. For years when I lived in Arizona with my husband as a newlywed (pre-kids) my husband would try to give me directions somewhere using fast food restaurants as landmarks and every time he'd mention one, even if it just down the street from us, I wouldn't know where the fast food restaurant was at all. He was dumbfounded. He couldn't understand how I didn't know where any of them were. I probably subconsciously knew where they were, but I couldn't even picture them or their location in my head. I was actually pretty proud of the fact that I didn't know where they were. I believe my motivational brain was responsible for this phenomenon. I could on the other hand tell you where Sprouts, Whole Foods, some other grocery stores and the local Farmer's Market were. Those I could always picture and find as landmarks, no problem.
Our Motivational Background
My husband has always been one of my greatest sources of motivation from the moment we met. He helped motivate me to finally graduate from college after many years of on and off schooling trying to figure out my future path even as a newlywed. He has been a great support for me in my constant pursuit to live a healthier life. He has admitted to me on numerous occasions that shortly before we met he was a total fast food junkie. He ate at every fast food restaurant within a few miles of his home and drank tons of soda. Once he hit 220 lbs and couldn't fit into some clothes he realized he needed to make a big change and used that scale reality to motivate himself to make drastic changes! He absolutely turned on that motivational brain at the moment. He quit smoking cold turkey, switched to diet sodas (not the path I would recommend today, but at the time even I didn't know better about that toxic habit) started Jared's Subway diet, joined a gym and lost the excess weight he strived to lose. Then he met me...
Today, we are a couple with more kids than we ever expected, living to pay the bills, but trying to enjoy life as best we can in a day to day struggle to maintain sanity in a house without much peace or quiet. Motivation to stay healthy and active isn't exactly as easy as it was when we just had ourselves to look after. You parents of toddlers know what I mean. I think one of the best things you could do for yourself, your spouse and your kids is to keep yourself healthy, teach your kids from a very early age about good health and how to eat to feel good and stay strong instead of just letting kids have whatever they want. We as parents are the source to turn on our kids' motivational brain! It's our role to start them off right in hopes that they'll have that early inspiration and motivation to keep it going through their lives for their future spouses and children.
So, back to what motivates me...I'm motivated when I see people running or speed walking on the street, young or old; little do they know that I am secretly excited for them and cheering them on in my head. You can see the motivation in their face, their pace and I swear I can feel my heart speed up as I channel that feeling just by watching them move. I'm inspired and motivated by people making big changes in their lives by taking big risks, especially when it's outside of their comfort zone.
In the last few years my motivators have helped inspire me to keep up with my healthy living pursuit and take it to the next level by eliminating as much processed food, fast food, and other unhealthy options in daily life. I used to be that so called, "healthy eater" who ate margarine and low fat frozen meals because I believed the ads and thought they must be healthy because they say so. I thought low fat must healthy and I let that motivate me for years without any significant changes in the way I felt, my health or weight. This is the battle a lot of us deal with as some point in time in our lives.
Loved Ones Motivate
I'm motivated by the negatives of health as well as the positives. As we've all heard at some point in our adult lives, don't ponder on history, but learn from it and move on. Unfortunately, my loved ones lost have acted as motivation for me as well. My grandmother and father both suffered from heart disease as well as other illnesses for years and unfortunately their illnesses got the best of them. My grandmother was never active and it became obvious many years before her passing that if she just moved more, walked, made small strides she could have possibly lived longer and regained some strength and health just by moving more. I have held onto that motivation anytime I'm feeling sluggish. I think of her and feel inspired to move more to feel better and gain strength.
My father did actually move a bit, but years after his 1st heart attack and quitting smoking he started a dangerous habit that brought on a 2nd heart attack that nearly killed him. He required a 5-bypass surgery. The precarious habit he got into, which he thought healthful at the time was to walk a couple miles to the grocery store to do shopping (great!), then walk to the nearby Micky D's (nickname for a well known fast food chain) and eat "big breakfast with hotcakes" (ouch!), then walk a couple miles back home. My father thought he was doing well by doing his big walk everyday for exercise, but little did he know he was negating his exercise efforts by stuffing himself with a high cholesterol, nutritionally deficient meal on a daily basis.
I use my loved ones as motivation, not to negate them in any way, but to learn from them as I know they would want me to do. I know my father was proud of running efforts however big or small when he was alive only because he wanted me to be healthier than he was. I know if he could have turned back time, he might have changed some of his habits, but once you're at a certain point in life, it's so hard to change these habits.
I use all of these memories and experiences to inspire me to always do better regarding my health. I know that if I slip into some negative patterns I'll age that much faster. I use the positives and negatives as my motivation to help keep me on my health path. I know I'm only getting older and can't reverse my aging, but by living a healthier lifestyle I can definitely slow down my aging by feeling and looking better and being stronger.
Find New Motivation
In just the last few months in an effort to keep exploring healthier options for nutrition and boost my micro-nutrient intake in as well as my family's, I've been experimenting with smoothies and most recently juicing. I've lost some weight and kept it off by supplementing my diet with raw juices. I know juicing isn't for everyone, but I find that for me it's a great supplement because it keeps me from over-eating at times. I love food so much, that my biggest challenge is just portion control. Juicing is helping me control that, plus I'm now craving the raw juice! I love it!
Motivation to Move
To motivate myself for exercise, when I run or work out at the gym, I literally have this movie reel playing in my head. My movie reel is a culmination of all the images from my history or personal research that have inspired me to get to where I am at that very moment. I even tell myself why I am there working out. I turn on my favorite tunes that also help take me to those moments that inspired me. By keeping these mental images in my head constantly I'm able to push through my hardest workouts. I tell myself why I'm running, why I need to continue and think about how good I'll feel when I'm done. I remember how amazing i felt after completing my first 5K.
I use public spaces on my runs to motivate me as well. When I'm running, no matter how silly I might think I look, I feel good about running at that moment with cars passing by, thinking there's got to be at least one person out there seeing me thinking, "Good for her for running in the cold rain.", etc...(Yes, I enjoy running in not so ideal weather only because I push myself that much harder) as I think when I see someone active in public.
So, turn on your motivational movie reel in your head; think about why you want to succeed and what it means to you. Think about the last time you felt amazing about yourself or felt healthy and tell yourself you can do it. Think about your loved ones and how your health good health could impact them. Do you want to stick around to share more memories with your significant other or maybe your kids? The brain is so powerful and it's our greatest motivator if we just tune into it and keep it on. Push through and find your motivation!
Some informational books and documentaries that have motivated me and my husband to get Real with Food and our Health
(We have taken bits and pieces of this media to try to better our health over the years, maybe it will motivate you as well)