Do you ever get super fired up about something and you just completely run with it? Like you get some whack-a-do idea and fifteen minutes later you have created an entire plan for your life and you’re ready to quit your job at Target and get going? Or you have a really practical idea and you’re so excited to start working on it and you’re just going to get going tomorrow as soon as you wake up? Maybe you’ve got a plan and you’re just waiting on the next Monday to get started because a day where you’re exhausted and wishing it was the weekend is the perfect time to start a new goal…right? The easiest thing for me to pin that down to in my head is motivation.
In some way, shape, or form you have found the motivation to get started. Sometimes motivation comes in waves or just a subtle thing that keeps growing. My motivation smacked me in the face like a girl fight at a frat party. It wasn’t pretty but it was definitely happening. The thing about motivation is that it doesn’t always hang around. You can be really motivated and have every intention of beginning on Monday, but motivation can fade by then and you never get where you are wanting to go. Certain things can re-spark the initial motivation that you had (thank goodness for that) and can project you even further in your journey. Motivation is an incredible thing, but you’ve got to have something more than that.
I don’t wake up every day just dying to run into the gym and be conscious of everything that I eat. I’m not Work-out Barbie and I’m never gonna be. Although, on days where my motivation level is on 10, I feel pretty close. I have to have something to rely on when the motivation is gone. That is where I have realized the importance of consistency, sustainability, and dedication.
I had a completely different plan for this week’s post. But, something big happened a couple of days ago whenever I was at the gym. My gym (which I really enjoy) has a personal training station set up at the front. Most of the time the trainers leave me alone but every now and then one of them will catch me and try to ask questions about my fitness routine. I’m glad that they are there to provide help for others, but one time the experience I had was many steps away from helpful…
The head trainer came up to me and started asking general questions, “Why are you working out?” “What are you wanting to get from your gym experience?” “How long have you been working out?” I told him that I was wanting to lose weight and get healthier. At the time, I was about two-three months into my lifestyle change and I was about twenty-five pounds down. He then proceeded to tell me that was all of the progress that I was going to be able to make on my own. He told me I couldn’t do it by myself.
He threw out all of his favorite fitness terms; body mass index, plateau, circuits, calorie deficit, etc. I didn’t ask for his advice or opinion, but he happily shared that for free. **Disclaimer: this is not turning into a sob story…** As I walked away from him, I couldn’t help feeling super discouraged and unmotivated. How was I going to be able to do this by myself any longer? I was never going to reach my goals. I didn’t know anything about fitness, didn’t have the money to pay for a trainer, and my mind was going a million miles a minute.
Fast forward a year to this week when I was at the gym, I saw that head trainer again for the first time in a while. I walked in and he looked right at me and I could tell there was no recognition of my face to him. He has not idea the impact that his words had on me. Since the last time we spoke, when he told me I couldn’t do it, I have lost another 45 pounds and am showing no signs of stopping to become the healthiest version of me. The things that I have gained and learned are worth so much more to me than any amount of weight. And as soon as I saw him I couldn’t help but feel proud and determined.
I say all of this to point out a lack of motivation. I allowed his words to take that power from me. Even just for a moment. And that’s going to happen sometimes. You’re going to lose motivation because you’ve had a bad day, or you still feel bloated even after you ate a salad yesterday, or because someone might tell you that you’re not strong enough to do it… but, that’s when consistency, sustainability and dedication come in.
Consistency can be one of the most difficult of the three. It’s hard to stay consistent when you’re not seeing the results as quickly or as boldly as you originally intended. This is one that I struggled with and continue to struggle with daily. If you stay consistent with your fitness and diet, you will see results. Change takes time. Let me say it again for the people in the back, change takes time. Results aren’t immediate. Think of it this way… if you consistently eat fast food, what are the results going to be? You’re going to get more and more unhealthy. If you consistently give someone five dollars every day, what’s the result going to be? You’re going to lose money. Same goes if you are consistently doing something that is good for you. What happens if you are consistently eating a recommended dose of vegetables and hitting the gym? You are going to be healthier and lose weight. What happens if you spend time each day practicing self care? You are going to be in a more stable mental state. You are going to see results. Don’t give up after one salad and a Zumba class.
Sustainability is a concept that has been overshadowed amongst all of the “healthy-living” trends and fads. Sustainability looks different for everyone. I know some people that have followed a low-carb/no-carb diet for decades and it works perfectly for them. They live a healthy lifestyle and feel that they are able to eat as they please……. That’s a no from me. A life without bread is a life I am not interested in. I know that is ridiculous for me to even attempt, so I choose to eat bread in moderation because that is more sustainable for me. A lifestyle change is going to be a challenge. Everyone would be doing it if it were easy. There is a difference between possible and impossible. Don’t try a trend that you know is not going to work for you. You’re already giving yourself an excuse to fail. Give yourself a million reasons to succeed and pick a plan that works for YOU. If you find something that is sustainable, you can look back in a year and see all the things you are capable of.
Dedication is undoubtedly the most important of the three. Be dedicated to your goals, yourself, and your future. If you are not happy now, become dedicated to the idea of getting happy. Living life without dedication seems almost pointless to me. You dedicate yourself to so much throughout your life. Dedicated to your family, your job, your significant other. But how often do you actually dedicate yourself to yourself? Now is the time.
Consistency, sustainability & dedication have been a large driving force in my life over the last year. I used the motivation to get me started and these three to keep me going. Think of the happiest and healthiest version of yourself and use them to get you where you want to be. It’s not rocket science, it’s not expensive, it’s just difficult. And you are capable of hard things. The only thing standing in your way is the thought that you can’t do it. And I’m so thankful to be able to stand here and tell you that you can.