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  • Emily

Can't find the motivation? Here's where to look

Many people struggle to stick to a diet or exercise plan because they lack motivation. Or more often, they start out with a lot of motivation and it wanes over time.

That's normal! Here are a few things you can do to try to find that motivation again.

1. Return to your ultimate goal

Have you set a realistic health goal that you feel passionately about? Do you want to feel more confident in your body? Do you want to bring your cholesterol down? Goals are one of the major sources of motivation for health and non-health related goals. You want to be working toward something that will reward you for your hard work.

If you haven't revisited your ultimate goal in a while, maybe think about it again. Better yet, write it down! Writing down your goal in a place you can see it frequently will also help you maintain your motivation.

Make sure you also have smaller goals to help you get to the larger one. When we feel overwhelmed by a large, long term goal we may abandon our motivation. So, smaller goals keep us accountable and comfortable with the level of challenge we are presented with.

2. Get some rest

If you have been working non-stop, going to the gym every day, and staying up late to binge your favorite shows, consider taking a few days to prioritize your sleep. Motivation is directly connected to the amount of energy you have to expend. Getting enough sleep will help you feel well-rested and energized so that you can get back on track with your motivation.

Don't be discouraged by a couple of days off of your gym routine to focus on sleep. Sleep is also critical to your health in many ways including weight loss. Your body needs time to recover, so be kind to it!

3. Ask for help

If you are lacking in motivation, don't be afraid to confide in a friend or gym buddy. Maybe they can give you some words of support or encouragement. Asking others for help is not a weakness, it's another way to demonstrate your will to succeed.

Maybe your friend can offer to go for a walk with you or share a healthy recipe. Adding something new to your day or routine might be just what you need to rediscover that motivation.

Start a text thread with a few friends with instructions to share something motivational every day. An inspirational quote, a hype video, whatever!

4. Reconsider what it means to be motivated

It is perfectly normal in life to go through waves of high and low motivation. We are human and we are complex.

Just because you don't feel motivated to go to the gym or cook a healthy dinner, does not mean you are a lost cause.

Consider which healthy habits you already do that ingrained in your routine. You brush your teeth twice a day and you walk to and from the bus station every day. Those don't require motivation per se, they are just a part of your life.

You can exercise for 30 minutes or prepare an easy healthy meal even when you're not technically motivated by something bigger to do it. Or as Nike famously says, "Just do it". Don't overthink it. Just do. Chances are that at some point, that motivation will return to you.

There are a few other tricks when you don't feel motivated:

- Listen to an upbeat playlist

- Write a to do list

- Go to an exercise class rather than planning to do your own routine

- Give yourself a healthy reward, "if I go to the gym and have a healthy breakfast, later tonight I will indulge with a bubble bath and my favorite book"

So, the bottom line is that motivation ebbs and flows, and that's okay! Try to boost your motivation when it is running low and consider what it is that motivates you and if that's the right source of motivation.

As always, be kind to yourself, be forgiving, and treat your body with respect.

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