So many of us have trouble getting ourselves going, doing what we intend to, and achieving our goals.
In this powerful short interview The Fitness Dietitian Leanne Ward and I answer Serena’s question – “How the heck do I get motivated? ” discussing:
✔︎ What motivation is (and how to build it)
✔︎ The way I set goals for success (not sabotage!)
✔︎ How to turn airy-fairy dreams into crystal clear motivations
✔︎ The “sweet spot” time-frame for goals
✔︎ Why I’m not a fan of weight goals
✔︎ The realization both Leanne and I came to over our work with clients
✔︎ How motivation is like having a bath 😛
✔︎ Motivation comes from doing, not the other way ‘round.
✔︎ How Leanne and I deal with “blah” days (we do have them!)
✔︎ How to get motivation from other people
✔︎ The biggest motivator Leanne uses to motivate herself everyday.
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Links from Video:
Leanne: All righty Glenn, so Serena wants to know about motivation. She wants to know how to get motivated. Serena says, “I’m 50. I need to lose weight. I’m always tired. How the heck do I get motivated?”
Glenn: You guys have good questions.
Leanne: Good question, Serena.
Glenn: You are a good audience. This is something that I’m sure you get, and I get all of the time. It sounds like Serena, you’re kind of just having trouble getting things in motion, so let’s see if we can give you a few ideas that’ll get you on track.
It is an oldie, but a goodie. The best thing that you can do for your motivation is to set some goals.
Leanne: Yeah. Definitely.
Glenn: But I wanna show you how I do it.
Leanne: Okay. Yep.
Glenn: So, what we wanna do is, I like to set maybe three or four goals. So we become a bit holistic about it.
Glenn: But when you set a goal, think about where you are now. Think about exactly where you want to be.
Glenn: So it can’t be like a general kind of a daydream. I wanna be thinner. I wanna be healthier. I wanna have more energy.
Leanne: It has to be realistic.
Glenn: It has to be realistic and it has to be crystal clear, because the process of writing down goals turns it from like an airy-fairy daydream into something that you can see. It gives you visual.
Leanne: It’s attainable.
Glenn: Yep. So I like to set three or four. And when I do, I like to break it down into where I am now, where I’ll be roughly at a quarter of the way, half way, three quarters, and then a hundred percent.
Leanne: Love it.
Glenn: Because for a lot of people, and we don’t often talk about this, but you get a lot of motivation when you set goals, but it also comes with a lot of doubts and a lot of fears. And one of those big ones is that once you’ve set the goal, it just seems so overwhelming.
Leanne: Yes, definitely. Yep.
Glenn: So it’s exactly like you say. The first way is that we get over that is the goal has to be realistic. So when you set it, you should think, “Oh, this might stretch, but if I’m real with myself, I know I can do this.” It should actually feel really nice and light and positive. If it feels too much pressure, then it’s probably something you want to revise down. Doesn’t mean you can’t then set another one next year and go again.
Glenn: But we’d always rather you … I say to people, we’d rather you set a smaller goal and just smack it out of the park.
Leanne: ‘Cause there’s no better motivation than actually meeting that goal and going (snaps finger). Kicking that one up rather than setting a goal that’s so huge that it sits on your bit of paper for the next five years because you never realistically gonna achieve it.
Glenn: That ain’t very motivational. And then you can, if you’ve broken it down into those quarters, you never forget where you want to go at the end. But you can just focus on what’s that next step. So you’ve just got that next, and that might be sort of … I like to set these goals for round about a year.
Leanne: Okay. Great.
Glenn: So it might be like in the next two, three months I should be at my quarter. Then I should be at my 50%, then my 75%. Actually, can I give you an example?
Leanne: Yeah. Of course. Yeah, yeah.
Glenn: Okay. So in two months I’m climbing Kilimanjaro.
Leanne: Wow. Awesome.
Glenn: Yep. So that’s one of my goals. And to break that into sort of the, when I started, 0% was have set the goal, done nothing. My 25% was actually just booking the trip.
Glenn: Yeah, I thought, once I’ve booked the trip, that’s actually a notable point. I haven’t done anything-
Leanne: ‘Cause there’s no backing out after that.
Glenn: Yeah, exactly. I’m doing it. My 50% was I wanted to get some hiking shoes and then I wanted to climb some of the mountains around us.
Leanne: Locally, yep.
Glenn: Some of the big ones. Yep. So I’m there now. So I’m at, like, that’s my 50%. Oh, I’m motivating myself as we go. Then 75% for me, and this is where I’m going next, is I want to all of those mountains that I’ve done twice. So I mean, I’ll go up and down then up and down in the same day.
Leanne: Yeah, wow. Yeah.
Glenn: And I also want to do some altitude training.
Glenn: It’s pretty high up there and apparently it helps.
Leanne: Good idea. Yep.
Glenn: So that’s the next step. So I’m really only focusing on that step now.
Leanne: That’s awesome. Because if you had just set your initial goal of climbing a mountain, that is overwhelming.
Glenn: It is…oh my God.
Leanne: And you may not have never even got there. But how motivating is actually being able to tick off every little step that you actually do.
Glenn: You can do that with any goal.
Leanne: Awesome. And you can see progress that way as well. You can actually say, “I feel like I haven’t really got, come anywhere but look how far I’ve actually come from where I started.”
Glenn: And you can even, if you want to, you don’t have to, but if you feel like it’s worth while, I mean you can reward yourself for the progress.
Glenn: So for example, I didn’t buy my shoes until I had reached the other goal. I’m like, oh, that’s like a little reward.
Leanne: Great. I love it.
Glenn: So you can reward yourself, and of course reward yourself in a whole bunch of ways. The thing then to do, and obviously 100% is on top of the mountain.
Glenn: Yep. So the thing then to do is, and I kind of get this when I hear Serena talk, is kind of like this (blah) and I think you get a lot of that when you’re focusing on the scales. Like I’ve got to lose weight. Those were even the words of a real sure death.
Leanne: That’s actually even a number that Serena mentioned, which I actually didn’t read out because we don’t like to focus on an exact number that you need to lose weight.
Glenn: So it’s interesting because I’m such a massive fan of goal setting, but I’m not such a massive fan of setting weight goals, because for a lot of people they just come with a lot of heaviness, especially if you’ve tried for a long time in the past. There’s a lot of dis-empowerment and guilt and shame.
Glenn: So I think if you don’t, for a lot of people watching this, you might decide to get a fresh energy and set non-weight goals. So you can set fitness goals.
Glenn: You can set goals for your energy. So I saw Serena said I’m really tired. You can go on the internet and check out, there’s a scale that I like to use called the Vitality Scale and you can measure yourself and then say, okay, if I’m a two on the Vitality Scale … I can’t even remember what the numbers are, but say it goes from zero to ten. Okay, well next time I measure myself, my 25% might be I’ll be a three. Then a four so you can actually, objectively measure it.
Leanne: Yep. Or even a goal around tiredness. How much sleep are you getting? If your somewhat, Serena, if you’ve got kids and you only get maybe four or five hours sleep a night, you’re 25% could be six hours, 50% could be seven hours. If maybe breaking even down your goal in terms of not motivation, but in terms of what you wanna achieve and that’s going to be more the motivation to get you there. So break it down into little, small segments, and as Glenn said, make it health-related rather than weight-related or an exact number-related.
Glenn: Yeah. Absolutely. And you can really set it for anything. I do it with my clients and you can always find a way to get an objective number measure. Because it is important to have a number because I think you and I are not massive fans of the scales.
Leanne: Yep, yep. No, no.
Glenn: But one of the upsides, if there is one, is that it is a clear measure. So what you wanna do when you’re setting non-weight goals is have the measure just as clear. So let me give you another example of this. Last year I realized I was working a bit too much and I’m not seeing my friends and family enough.
Leanne: Yep. I had that realization as well actually. Shocking. Terrible.
Glenn: Yeah. Us health professionals. So I mean you kind of think, well how do I set a measurable goal to see my friends and family more? And I literally did it in numbers. So I wanna see my friends and family x amount of times during the year. So whenever you set a goal, make sure that, it might take a little bit of time and requires a little bit more finesse and a bit more creativity than setting a weight goal, but you will be able to find an objective measure.
So then the last thing is, of course, this is really setting yourself up for success, but you’ve got to stay motivated.
Leanne: Exactly. Motivation’s like a bath. Great to do, but you’ve gotta do it every day. You’ve really gotta do it every day.
Glenn: You gotta do it all the time. And it’s interesting you say great to do, because motivation to do things often comes of doing. So it’s that circular definition. Once you start to get out there and do it, you will feel more motivated and so I think it’s been a combination of the doing the actions of motivation. They actually get you more motivated, and then thinking the thoughts. Because I did my research in motivation. And it is one of these unstable kind of factors. It does go up and down that’s why sometimes, we were talking about it before, sometimes you’re like “I’m so pumped today.” And other times you’ve got the same goal and you’re like “Uh, I couldn’t be bothered.”
Leanne: And Glenn and I aren’t unicorns. Like we sometimes, I’ll just say to Glenn, I turned my alarm off yesterday. It’s 5:15. I was supposed to get up and exercise. I didn’t. I rolled back over in bed and I kept sleeping. So even we need additional motivation some days. We’re not these perfect unicorns that are just highly motivated all the time.
Leanne: We need to give ourselves motivation quite regularly as well.
Glenn: Was that you yesterday?
Glenn: It must have been something in the air.
Leanne: It was cold. It was so cold.
Glenn: Yeah. That was me yesterday too. My mate said, “So, gym after work?” And I said, “Mm, not today.” But one way to think of it is, that motivation is really just a bunch of positive thoughts. So we think in words. We think in pictures. And we think in movies, moving pictures, but the more you are filling your mind with your motivation, the more you’re daydreaming about it, the more you’re talking about, the more you’re seeing it, the more you’re saying it to yourself, the more motivated you’ll be. So that’s where you can use things like reminders.
Glenn: So for me, my new hiking books, I’ve got space in my cupboard for shoes, but they sit out in my bedroom. And I see them, I’m like it just reminds me.
Leanne: Awesome. Yep. Yeah.
Glenn: Other people use things like dream boards or vision boards and just to constantly remind themselves.
Leanne: Sometimes I even, I’ll save a quote that I love that’s quite motivational as my screen saver. How many times a day do you look at your phone? Sometimes I’ll save a really motivational quote so every time I tap my phone, I see that.
Glenn: I do the same thing. We’re learning about each other. This is awesome.
Leanne: There we go.
Leanne: And for me, one of the biggest motivators, and I do this every single day without fail whether I’m at work in my hospital dietician job, whether I’m at home doing all my social media stuff, or whether I just have a whole heap of chores to do for the day, I set to to-do lists. I mean they’re not for everybody, but just ticking things off a to-do list for me just gives me that little yes, I did it. I ticked a few things off.
Glenn: It’s a great point because-
Leanne: It’s motivating.
Glenn: … at some stage you need to turn those broad, we call them outcome goals, like goals for the results that you want, we need to turn them into little process goals. So it’s like well, how do I actually get there? And often we miss that part, so a to-do list or little smart goals can be really, really good.
Leanne: Or even just a little calendar. I mean, your goal might just be to be healthier in general in the next year. And then if you broke that right down, you might just say I want to add vegetables to my dinner at least five days a week. And that’s something that’s pretty achievable. You might get a calendar and tick each day that you add extra vegetables to your dinner. And at the end of the month, imagine seeing all those little ticks on your calendar. That’s motivating enough to continue going with that. And it’s taking you every step closer to your goal.
Glenn: So it’s kind of like set a goal or a bunch of goals, give yourself some milestones so you can see that you’re achieving it as you go. We probably both think, maybe stay away from the weight-loss goals. Especially as they’re really dis-empowering or especially if you’ve don’t that quite a few times before.
Leanne: Make it about your health instead.
Glenn: Yep. And then find ways to remind your mind and take the actions of motivation.
Leanne: And tell other people as well. I think it really makes a goal really stick when you’re telling people. If you’re telling people at work, “Oh man, I’m really trying to eat more vegetables.” And you go to the cafeteria nearby. A ham and cheese sandwich. At least your colleague can be like, “Hey, why isn’t there lettuce or tomato on sandwich?” The minute that you tell people your goals, it makes it more tangible, like a-
Glenn: More real.
Leanne: Like it’s more real. Exactly. It’s more real. So tell people your goals. Put them up on your fridge. Hang them. Put little post-it notes around your mirror.
Glenn: And I would say even a step further than that is not only tell them but enlist their support.
Leanne: Yeah, great. Yep.
Glenn: Like let’s have a walking buddy or a gym buddy. Or hey, you know what, if our routine is with your partner, we get home and we order the pizza and we have the ice cream. We sit there. Maybe we can do that a little bit differently. And then of course, plug for both of us, see your health professional.
Glenn: Because look, I think we’ve got a lot of obviously skills and knowledge and experience but I think, if we’re being honest, a big part of what we do is pumping up your tires and just keeping you regularly motivated as well.
Leanne: Exactly. We can’t be there for every single day, but just touching base with us and we can help you to refine your goals and that sort of thing. And say hold on that might not be as realistic. And perhaps we go this way instead. So if you’re someone who’s tried a few of these things before, perhaps linking with your local health professional, and we can help you set more realistic and achievable goals. And break them down. And that’s what’s gonna give you that constant motivation every day. Little things that you can tick off every single day. Take you closer and closer to your goals.