The other day someone reached out on instagram saying that she's had a tough time getting back into yoga after a few years off and wondered if I had any tips to stay motivated.
Motivation is something I've thought a lot about throughout the last few years. See, when I was following the GAPS diet, I was very, very strict on the diet. I'd go to social gatherings and people would make comments like, "Oh I don't know how you'd do it, I'd die without bread." Or, "Come on, you can have one chicken wing, it isn't going to kill you." They'd always follow it up by saying something like, "You're so disciplined, I could never do that."
When they said these things, I thought back to how awful I felt before I started the GAPS diet. How I literally would wake up with my belly so painfully distended it looked like I was in my third trimester. How my joints were so swollen I couldn't bend my fingers to grip the steering wheel, the door knob, or the faucet without grimacing in pain. When you're in that kind of misery, you get desperate. You try weird diets that are supposed to heal you, if you stick to them. And when they do start to work, you're motivated to keep at it. You are not enticed by a piece of bread or a chicken wing. At all. Because you know your gut is so messed up that, while no, it wouldn't kill you to eat it, it would definitely set you back.
When I got my book deal, one of my dearest friends said to me, "I am so beyond proud of you. I could never do that. I don't know how you've managed to get up every day and write a blog that somehow lead to this book deal. Where do you find the motivation?"
I thought back to the beginning. I started this blog for a few reasons. One, there was nothing out there like it, at the time. Two, I wanted a creative outlet. I was fresh out of yoga teacher training and had so much to share. One reader (my mom), turned into two readers, turned into three readers. People started commenting, asking questions, sharing ideas. When I realized there were real, actual people (besides my mom and immediate friends and family) reading the blog, I found myself even more inspired and even more motivated to keep creating content I thought people would like.
When I got into the best shape of my life, I remember this older woman stopping me at the gym and saying, "I just love watching you work out. It motivates me. But I have to ask, 'Where do you get your motivation?'"
I told her how I was sick. Very sick. How I was bed-ridden at one point. How I could barely walk. And how I swore to myself that if I ever got better, I wouldn't take my health for granted. And that's what inspired me to get to the gym. But the more I learned, and the more I trained, the more I liked how I felt and how I looked. And that was motivation to keep it going.
Find Your Why and then Take Action
So in all three instances, there was a why and there was an action.
Why did I follow the diet? Because I was sick of feeling sick. Why did I start the blog? Because I needed a creative outlet. Why did I love working out? Because I knew how far I'd come. And from the actions came the motivation. Why was I motivated to stick to the diet? Because it healed my gut and helped me to thrive. Why was I motivated to keep blogging? Because there were real people out there reading. Why was I motivated to keep working out? Because I loved how I felt and how I looked.
So the key to motivation is blind faith in the first step.
First, figure out your why. Then, take the first step towards doing whatever it is you want. From there, you're going to reap some sort of benefit. Whether it's yoga or singing or cooking or blogging or whatever - there will be some sort of benefit and from those benefits and how they make you feel, a little seed of motivation will start to grow. And the more you continue on down your path, the more that motivation will come.
What to Do When Motivation Dies Down
And then sometimes, your motivation will abruptly die. This happens to me about four times a year, haha. Seriously. You'll notice it because I'll go AWOL from social media, I'll usually write a blog post about needing a break, and then I'll go off the grid because sometimes it is just all too much. We are all only human, so if your motivation starts to wane, I suggest taking a break. You don't always need to be going a hundred miles an hour trying to do it all or be the best you can be. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just give yourself a break. And that's okay.
Remember that you can be happy as you are while you continue to work towards your goals and aspirations. Don't forget to feel grateful for your current state as you continue on down your life's path because if you are too focused on the end goal you'll lose sight of the here and now. And the here and now is all that's guaranteed.
I'd love to hear how you keep motivated. Please share down in the comments section below.