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Why Motivation is Hard Right Now – and What to do About It

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We talked about the brain science behind motivation a few weeks back.  What that blog didn’t do was acknowledge the very unique time that we are in right now and why that is impacting our motivation.

Although we usually talk about January as the new year, in real life September is when our year renews.  This normally looks like:

  • Back to school with all the excitement and shiny new clothes and supplies
  • Relief of being home after a travel filled summer
  • Craving of routine and homecooked meals
  • A clean slate and a new beginning

The very nature of this time of year catapults us into new goals and routine.  It reignites our sense of purpose and provides us with the structure that reminds us what it feels like to be good at things.

This has been a cycle in our lives almost since we were born.  The motivation is intrinsic and the process is familiar. We transition into September like we are stepping into our new fall boots.  Cozy, comfortable and ready to get moving.

This year it is different. Yes, there is a transition but so much is still the same.  That which isn’t the same is vague and unknown. We are far enough into the upheaval of 2020 to know that we aren’t going back, but we still don’t know what lies ahead.  The familiarity is gone leaving us struggling to find our footing.

There in lies the friction.  We have this innate desire to get back on track, do the healthy things, be the person that we are used to seeing in the mirror.  Yet the execution falls short.

We are quick to blame ourselves because we really should be doing better…right? It’s not THAT hard to pass on the wine or cook instead of Doordash or get even a little exercise in. Everyone on Instagram seems to have it dialed in.

Honestly, you are right.  They really aren’t THAT big of a deal…on their own.  However, when you zoom out and look at the big picture you see that when put on top of everything else, this can feel like one more task. The straw that broke the camel’s back.

What do you do with this information?

This might sound like doom and gloom, but it really isn’t. You just can’t use old solutions for a new reality.

The root of what is going on is right now we lack a solid foundation.  Things that we used to use as our touch point have changed.  Along the same lines, using health, weight, etc. as a carrot to get you moving will leave you feeling like Bambi on ice. Full of desire but no traction.

via GIPHY

However, good sustainable nutrition is not a destination it is a foundation.    

This may sound weird if you are used to white knuckling it or focusing on what you are NOT eating rather than what you ARE eating.  If you do fall into that category, you are not alone. Welcome to the world of dieting.

But we are talking about nutrition.  Nutrition supports and enhances your life.  It is the exact foundation that you need right now. 

And yes, nutrition and weight loss can happen simultaneously so don’t think that I’m talking about changing your goals, just your solution.

I want you to think about where the thought of this becomes heavy.  Here are some starting points:

  • I don’t know what to eat – sick of conflicting information
  • I want to do well but it is at odds with my friends/family and I give in
  • I know what to eat but then I succumb to emotional eating

Now what are some steps that you can take to make those things that feel shaky become more stable.  Here are some examples:

  • If you are overwhelmed about what to eat focus on making healthy additions to your day rather than taking things away.  Some ideas are – including vegetables twice a day, adding in 64 oz of water, adding protein-based snacks in the afternoon.
  • If you are at odds with those around you or sabotaged by the weekend, think of your week as 21 eating opportunities (3 meals per day).  Shoot for healthy choices at 17-18 of those meals.
  • If you are struggling with emotional eating, I want you to allow it.  Instead of sneaking or inhaling food that you think is “bad” I want you to acknowledge that you are emotionally eating and really be present.  What does it taste like, how does it feel, how do you feel afterwards?  There is a lot of powerful information in this process. You can see learn more about what to do with this information in this how to resist an urge blog.

To be clear, I don’t want you to do all these things at once!  Yes, I see where that Type A brain of yours starting to turn!  Instead start with one and build.  We are rebuilding your nutrition foundation.  Then when that is sturdy we can add in all the things.  I promise!

I’d love to hear how you are doing and where you need help! Send me a DM over on Instagram and let me know!

{This post was in part inspired by Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us Podcast about Day 2, which really struck a chord with me.  If you haven’t listened to that, you can find it here.}

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