I am running and taking part in a nutrition challenge with our friends over at CrossFit Zeke. For quite a few of the clients, it is their first real nutrition challenge. The way challenges generally go, the 1st week is super tough because it is all new and still seems crazy, the 2nd week through 1/2 of the 3rd is relatively easy because you have found your stride and you actually begin to feel (and maybe even see) a difference. And then at the end of week 3 and definitely in week 4, motivation drops straight through the floor.
Why? Not because it suddenly becomes more difficult. You have already figure it out by then. You know what to eat, how much it takes to fill you up and how often your meals should be. The reason it gets tough is because the motivation you began the challenge with tends to lose steam.
Reasons change but what is best for us usually remains the same. When I went through a break up, I focused on needing to be more educated, more in shape, and more imppactful in this world. My thought was that my improvements would either who her what she’s missing or maybe get her back [if you cannot admit this is how you felt after being dumped, please save the private messages about how “down” I’m being and just read on]
In the 1st 4 weeks this was highly motivating. I read everything, took practice quizzes for fun, worked out the way I always should have been, searched for opportunities to change the world and laid out the blue print for an empire.
But at 6 weeks out, the thought of her conjures much less intense feelings and that lowers the motivation a bit. I am in a healthier place mentally and emotionally, but will I keep up the effort in the pursuit of my goals or will it all just fizzle?
We all have different reasons for embarking on a journey. Maybe there’s a cute guy or girl. Maybe your kids asked why your pants are so big. Maybe you had to carry something and realized that it was way harder than it should have been. Or reality set in and your job is a dead end. The trick is to allow your motivating factors to evolve as time passes. 1 month ago I was on fire because my breakup meant I had been weighed, I had been measured, and I absolutely had been found wanting (A Knight’s Tale anyone?…anyone?). I had to make up that ground. I had to get ‘where i was supposed to be.’
This was an irrational and emotional response (not necessarily good) but it put me into an incredibly productive place (definitely good). It took an emotional experience to put me here. I will stay here, however, because being here has shown me this is where I should have been operating all along. Not because of some ex-girlfriend, not for a misguided hope for a rekindling of sorts, but because I should have been here all along.
The reason we begin does not have to be honest or even the best for us. We trick our pets and kids into good behavior and habits all of the time. If a kid eats his vegetables growing up, even if it’s only because he may get a dessert every once in a while, he will likely grow used to vegetables and include them for the rest of his life. When he is 25 and living on his own and he chooses to eat a salad, nobody cares that it was because he had an ice cream sandwich when he was 5.
Maybe you walked into CrossFit because you saw yourself in the mirror and thought, “what the hell happened to me.” But once you showed up 3-4x a week for a month that was no longer your main reason for coming, but it is still what got you there! And if you hadn’t had that reason, you may never have walked in.
So when you reach that week 4 of the challenge loss of motivation, focus on the goal still being what is best for you even if the original reason no longer holds water. Find something else to get you through. if you do this enough you will instill habits that no longer require high degrees of motivation. You begin to take action because it is what you know to do, not because you feel motivated to. This is our ultimate goal with both nutrition and movement.
I want you to eat well (not necessarily Paleo) because you were meant to be so much healthier than we have become. I want you to move more often (it doesn’t have to be CrossFit) because you were not meant to be put in a home at 60 or 65 or even 70. You were meant to move well into old age.
It may be cheesy to throw #BeBetter at the end of this, but that is really what it comes down to. Be better than you are. Be better than the world around you. Take advantage of whatever is fueling your fire at this time, but be ready to switch fuel sources when the time comes.
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What motivates you?