Motivation-definition

W “What motivates you? How do you stay so committed to clean living when temptations are around you all the time?”

These questions came from my brother recently over one of our regular lunch visits. I think I’ve been asked this, in various ways, several times before by friends and clients. Whether it was how he worded it or that it was my brother who I knew very well, this time struck me differently.

I could tell he was genuinely looking for something tangible, a secret tool that might help in the quest for improved wellness, a leaner physique, or whatever the end goal might be. It was one of those ah-huh moments for me as an educator. I realized that like me and like my brother, many people thrive on specificity and simplicity.

My three-part answer rolled off my tongue with the greatest of simplicity that day: feeling good, chemistry, and accountability.

Feeling good motivates me. Once you experience it, it’ll be hard to accept anything less for yourself. The vast majority of people are moderately unwell and have no idea. Bloating, heartburn, poor sleep, acne or eczema, frequent colds, excess phlegm, achy joints, awful PMS, headaches… The list goes on and on.

Everybody thinks it’s “just my body” or a normal part of getting older. It is not. These are symptoms that something is not working optimally in the body. When the body and all its systems are in peak condition and working well together, these symptoms don’t exist, at least certainly not on a regular basis. When you experience being “well”, you realize how “unwell” you’d been. Then there’s no question – feeling good is pretty motivating!

Chemistry and Hormones.  I’m not talking about new lovers madly attracted to each other, although that’s great chemistry at work too! I’m referring to your biochemistry and particularly, about your hormonal and blood sugar balances. There are so many things in our diets and lifestyle that disrupt hormones and normal blood sugar stability and ultimately the result is impaired metabolism, decreased energy levels, increased hunger and cravings for bad food. On the contrary, when the body is fuelled optimally (I can help with that!) blood sugar levels are balanced throughout the day and you simply will not have the cravings to fight like you currently do. Cravings, just like the symptoms noted above, are an indication of a weakness in a body system – not of your will power. Balanced blood sugars = normalized appetite and less cravings. This means you don’t have to rely on motivation so much, as your body is doing the work for you.

Okay, so feeling good and dealing with less cravings or temptations certainly would make maintaining a clean diet and lifestyle easier, but how do you get to that point in the first place? There is one thing that helped me get there initially and that helps me get back there when I have temporary lapses (yup it happens to holistic nutrition coaches too)!

Accountability.  Being accountable to someone or something else is key. It’s far too easy to let ourselves down. It’s just human nature. Numerous studies show that being held externally accountable, ideally to an individual or group who has already achieved what you are aiming to do, is what separates the super successful from the mediocre. Among the many benefits of having accountability:

  • Accelerates performance and helps develop strategy- Tracks progress and measures success
  • Keeps you engaged during times of distraction
  • Develops self-responsibility and eliminates excuses
  • Validates your thoughts, silences your inner critic, and provides constructive guidance

Accountability is what gets your motor running, gives it a boost when required, and continue to refuel on a continual basis.  Soon enough, feeling your best and your chemistry will start to help in carrying you along too :)

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