Have you ever been so frustrated that you just can’t seem to make it more than a few weeks or months following a new diet or fitness program?
Over the last ten years, Tony and I have coached thousands of frustrated dieters through the Ideal Body Formula™ and have noticed some common mistakes they tend to make when it comes to motivation.
And we get it, because we’ve made them ALL.
Here are the 5 most common reasons you might be struggling with motivation…
1 – You’re too focused on outcomes
The more outcome focused you are, the more frustrated you will be.
There’s nothing wrong with having goals and wanting outcomes, but being too focused on them puts you into a position where willpower can’t be sustained long enough for your results to materialize. As a result, you feel like you aren’t making any progress, which is a recipe for frustration.
Outcomes are not in your direct control. What you do TODAY is. So focus on the thoughts and behaviors that make you feel your best right now. If you feel good you’ll keep going.
2 – You’re more driven by pressure than purpose
It’s easy in our society to feel the pressure to have a certain-sized body, just like how Tony felt the pressure to be fit.
I felt so inadequate and unattractive in my larger body, yet that discomfort couldn’t keep me motivated longer than a few weeks because my temporary white-knuckling efforts were so exhausting.
Even when I did finally manage to white-knuckle to a leaner body, the pressure to keep it was suffocating, and I was living in fear of everything I ate and every missed workout.
What finally motivated me for the long-term was a sense of purpose over how I wanted to live my life. I decided I was worth more than neglecting my health, but I was also worth more than holding myself to a beauty standard not set by me.
I asked myself – How do you want to feel? What do you want to experience in your body? How does the way you’re treating yourself each day get you there? When I found true joy and purpose in what I was doing, it was easy to sustain it consistently.
3 – You think struggles are bad
Diet culture has led us to believe that struggling and failure are signs of weakness or that you’re doing something wrong. So when most of us hit the inevitable wall or face a challenge, like my struggle with keeping sweets in the house, we give up or move to a different program.
But what you may not realize is that struggles are part of the transformation process. And if you can persist through them, your biggest breakthroughs will be on the other side.
You can start by viewing struggles as a good thing – a sign on the road showing you an area that needs your attention, with exciting growth on the other side.
4 – You get scale tunnel vision
When all you’re focused on is what’s happening with the scale, you not only miss out on the big picture, but you negatively influence your behavior.
I used to use the scale to monitor myself daily because I believed it kept me in check. But after years of yo-yo dieting and frustration, I had a huge epiphany about how it was ACTUALLY affecting me.
What I realized was I was handing my intuition and decisions over to an external tool. This lead to me being completely out of touch with my body and it negatively influenced my behaviors.
Scale went up? I felt frustrated and gave up. Scale going down? Great! I can relax and eat what I want, finally!
Weighing yourself is not what determines if you gain or lose weight – your habits do.
Removing the scale allows you to wire those healthy habits in without the negative side effects of frustration and giving up, and you can finally tune into your body and learn to interpret what it needs.
5 – You’re relying too much on willpower
I used to get so excited to start a new diet and fitness plan. I’d feel on top of the world, buying all the food and workout clothes I’d need, ready to change my life forever.
For a few days, weeks, or even months, I’d feel motivated and energized to follow the plan. Then, to my dismay, I would always start to notice that motivation was wearing off and I’d start struggling to stay on the bandwagon. I just wanted to feel free to do what I wanted without all the rules.
Before I knew it I was right back where I started, having totally lost confidence in myself.
What I didn’t know was if you’re using sheer willpower to get through each day, each meal, and each workout, you’re going to run through it fast. Willpower is exhaustible and needs to be renewed.
It’s useful to get you going, but you can’t rely on it to keep you motivated for life. Instead, you have to find the intrinsic reward in the behaviors that make you feel your best, as that’s what naturally keeps you taking action.
Understanding motivation is a necessary part of your ideal body journey, but it’s probably not the only reason you’re struggling.
If you’re like most people who have spent years trying and failing to achieve their ideal body, then be sure to check out tomorrow’s email. It’s going to show you why that keeps happening and what you need to do about it.
- Watch the accompanying video at the top of this page
- Listen to Episode 61 of our podcast, Fitness & Sushi – How to Stay Motivated Without Physique Goals to Lean On
- Check out Built Daily Elite when you’re ready to start applying the Ideal Body Formula™ to your own life