Motivation is one of those things that you either have it or you don’t.
You look at other people who seem to be doing so well with their eating and their exercising, and you wonder “Where do they get all this motivation?”
And why can’t you seem to muster up ANY?
You aren’t alone.
So I am going to go through multiple ways to get motivation, in hopes you can find the best way that will work for you.
Some of you may be thinking that I already recently wrote an article on motivation.
This one is part 2, with even more tips!
In my new Facebook group, we were discussing motivation recently.
They said one of their biggest struggles was having zero motivation.
I hear them loud and clear, and trust me, I know how they feel because I have been there.
I still struggle. The planner method discussed in the previous article does very well for me and many others, but I still have days and weeks that are harder than others.
So what happens if you try that method, but you lack so much motivation, you can’t even open your planner?
So I knew I needed to look into other ways.
There are reasons why we can’t motivate ourselves, and different ways you can, so let’s find the right way for YOU.
Why We Procrastinate at Getting Ourselves Motivated
How many times have you told yourself you were going to do something on Monday, but when Monday came, you again, put it off until the next Monday?
Most of us have done this.
So when you do that, your brain is storing a memory to remember this moment.
Unfortunately, the memory you are storing is that this isn’t a priority, because it can be put off until another time.
And can be put off again.
The more you put something off, the more your brain will fight you on actually doing it when the time comes, because you already made the habit of putting it off.
So next Monday, when the time comes, your brain will remember this is not a priority and you can put it off.
So stop putting it off until Monday.
Do it NOW. Today. The second you are thinking about it.
If you want to eat better, go grab an apple right now.
If you want to start exercising, stand up and start doing stretches or go for a walk. Even if it is just for 5 minutes.
Doing this, your brain will start to re-wire, because you are showing THIS IS A PRIORITY.
Side Note: Brains don’t re-wire by us doing something only once, so please don’t think you are going to automatically jump into motivation mode every day because you did this once, or tell me this doesn’t work after only trying it once. It will get easier each time you do this.
20 Ways to Get Motivated!
So what are the different ways you can find motivation, when you have none?
1. Determine “WHY” You Need to Accomplish This Goal
If you don’t know why you are doing this, then how are you supposed to do it?
What do you want out of it? Do you want to live longer? Be a happier person?
If your goal is to eat healthy because you feel that is what you are supposed to do and that’s what everyone else does, does that sound like a goal that will get accomplished?
Many times, we don’t want to eat healthy and exercise.
We want to be healthy, but how many of us actually WANT to put in the effort?
Not many of us.
So if you want to make a change, you have to WANT it.
Determine how your goal benefits YOU and what all you can do once you switch your eating habits.
Look at the bigger picture. Be excited about what is going to come instead of what you are giving up now.
2. Keep a Goals Checklist/Planner
I wrote an entire article about this, so won’t dive too deeply into it here.
Write down your goal.
Make a list of all the super tiny things you need to change to reach that goal.
In your planner, schedule one of those tiny things for 2 weeks until it becomes a habit. Once you form the habit, add in the next tiny step.
Read How to Motivate Yourself to Reach Your Goals to read more about this one, find examples of how to do this, and how I used it to change my eating habits.
3. Learn How Foods and Exercise Impacts The Body
Many people don’t get motivated because they aren’t sure where to start.
They are confused about healthy eating and what’s healthy and what’s not, so they put it off.
This builds it up in their mind to be a more difficult task to accomplish and they start dreading it.
Learn about what different vitamins and minerals do in the body.
Find some literature or documentaries on about food (I like Genetic Roulette and Food Inc, they kept my interest and explained things well) . Go to the library and check out a few books on the subject (I highly recommend the books by Dr. Mark Hyman, because his way of explaining is fantastic) . Subscribe to multiple blogs like mine that discuss how food interacts with the body and brain.
If you can, talk to a registered dietitian, because nobody knows more about how food reacts in the body than they do. They literally have to study biochemistry and research studies for YEARS to become a dietitian.
Whatever your most trusted source is, please do not get your information from a random person on social media. 99% of everything I have seen people say or comment on social media about how food reacts in our bodies is incorrect.
Once you learn about the subject in depth, you will know where you want to start.
And it will be so much easier!
4. Scare Yourself Into Doing It
I have to tell you, learning about how food biologically reacts in the body was a wake up call for me.
I got rid of so many things in my diet because it scared the crap out of me to keep them in!
My food was not only causing me obesity, but also causing depression, anxiety, ADHD, borderline diabetes and hormone issues, and putting me at risk for heart disease and cancer and other things!
Did you know many of the ingredients in our foods are banned in Europe for causing health issues?
Want to scare the crap out of yourself? Read the articles I wrote (find at bottom of this article) that will have you eliminating certain foods from your diet today and adding others in. It was easily the biggest motivator in getting on track with my health.
So want to get motivated? Scare yourself into not wanting to do anything but that!
I know it seems weird, but it works!
5. Be Realistic About Fast Food
We lie to ourselves a lot when we are trying to get out of cooking.
So ask yourself if your lie is realistic?
For years, I would go get fast food because I would think I was too tired or didn’t have enough time to make dinner.
It’s not true. Fast food isn’t as fast as you think.
You have to make a stop on your way home, going out of your way, even if it is just 5 minutes out of your way. You sit in a drive through line that is maybe another 5-10 minutes. Half the time, when you get to the window, they make you pull over to the side and bring your food out to you, making it another 5-10 minutes!
You know how much time you just spent going out of your way to get fast food? Between 15-25 minutes! All that effort just to go out and have dinner made for you!
You know how long it takes to just go home and make a sandwich?
Like 3 minutes.
On days you don’t feel like making dinner, make that sandwich night! It doesn’t have to be a hot meal every night!
Or meal prep and you could have a simple throw together meal each night when you get home without a lot of effort.
I guarantee it’s a heck of a lot healthier than fast food. Check out my article on the best and worst fast food to see how bad fast food can be.
You also get to save money and spend more time with your family.
6. Be Around People Who Want to Be More Active!
Are you constantly around people who just want to sit around all the time?
Trust me, the second you walk into a room with certain people, you can almost feel any motivation you had fly out the window because they never seem to want to do anything but sit.
This makes your brain automatically go into lazy mode because your brain remembers when you are around this person, you don’t do much. Remember earlier when I said our brains make memories to tell us how to act in the future?
This is an example.
Laziness is contagious!
If it’s your spouse, see if they can try to do more activities with you.
Grab some friends and see if they want to join you for walking time. Or just go to the gym, where everyone around you is working out, so you feel you should too.
But try to limit your time around the laziness if you want to be more motivated!
7. Switch Bad Things Out For Good
In the Facebook group, my mom told a story about how she had a habit of getting a doughnut every morning because the comfort food helped with her stress.
Recently, she changed it out for a banana.
She felt the difference THAT DAY.
One tiny change led to her being more energized and she didn’t have heartburn that day.
Since she felt the difference right away, it was easier to keep up on.
I did the same thing when I changed out cereal for avocado toast.
I was always scared to try avocados because I knew healthy people ate them, so thought they must taste bad.
It’s not true at all. They actually taste amazing. Creamy and definitely helps with sweet cravings.
I also was full until lunchtime!
I can definitely feel the difference when I eat something else besides avocado toast in the morning. It makes a huge difference.
So find one bad thing you eat and switch it out. Go from there.
It can be something small.
8. Do It For Someone Else
If you have trouble doing it for you, or caring about your quality of life, do it for someone else.
When my blood pressure skyrocketed to 210/130, I started having weird symptoms that made my husband and I believe I was going to have a stroke or heart attack.
Seeing the look of fear on his face was everything I needed to start trying.
I don’t want my husband to be scared like that.
Another way I did this: My husband’s mood and health drastically improves based on the foods he eats. I always make his breakfast, lunch and dinner with good, healthy foods.
I don’t want to live without my husband, so I make sure to feed him so he can outlive me.
In turn, since I make healthy meals for him and don’t keep junk in the house (so he doesn’t eat it) I am eating healthier too.
So try to take care of yourself for someone else. Because you don’t want them to suffer.
9. Do Time Blocking and Deadlines
If you have it scheduled, you are more likely to do it.
Eliminate something unproductive in your day and replace it with exercise.
Watch two hours of tv with the family?
Get the family up and go to the park and walk around for a half hour each night!
Dedicate a specific time in your day that is focused solely on getting more exercise, no matter what activity you do.
Don’t allow anything else to come into your focus during that time slot. Because that is solely dedicated to your exercise time (you can re-label it family time if you get your family involved!)
10. Use the Two Minute Rule
You are more likely to accomplish things if they take two minutes or less.
So start off with doing those tasks!
If you are dreading working out, then just do 2 minutes of jumping jacks, running in place, stretches, whatever! Just do it until you feel you can add more time to it.
Change your eating by switching out that doughnut for a banana (see above), because that took zero extra time.
So write down your goal and everything you need to do to achieve that goal. Start off by doing only the stuff that takes two minutes or less.
Once you got that down, then add the other stuff.
11. Change Your Environment
You remember how I told you that other people can create memories that make you feel lazy as soon as you see them?
Items can do that too.
If you look at the same positioning of furniture every day, your brain remembers how you feel when you are around that.
So if you don’t do anything but eat and sit in your home, looking at your furniture placement will remind your brain that is what you are supposed to do!
So switch it up!
Move your furniture around. It promotes change in your brain, and you can associate new memories with the new positioning.
Most importantly, de-clutter and get organized in your home!
If you constantly see clutter everywhere, you will feel a sense of overwhelm.
Can you make changes when you are overwhelmed?
Not really. Most people can’t.
So de-cluttering and organizing = clearing your mind, allowing less anxiety, stress, and depression in.
Changing around furniture= Opening your mind up to changing your habits.
You need to change the way your brain is wired to get motivated, so start with your home.
12. Stop Planning “Cheat Days”
I first wrote about this in my article 20 Reasons Why Your Scale Isn’t Going Down.
Cheat days are a horrible concept.
If you allow yourself to think about having cheat days, then you will NEVER stop thinking about bad foods!
This will make trying to stick with it a lot harder because the cravings will NEVER go away.
And your brain is confused. Are you eating these foods? Are you not eating these foods? So in turn, your brain will keep telling you it’s okay to eat these foods all the time.
Which means your new eating plan won’t be sustainable.
So when trying to get motivated, don’t even plan for cheat days, because your brain will start trying to find ways to justify eating it all the time.
13. Treat Food Differently
Food is meant to be fuel.
It’s not supposed to be something you enjoy every bite.
You eat food because you are going to die if you don’t.
So if you start looking at food as that, instead of building your life around needing it to always taste more amazing than junk, you are more likely to put your focus on healthier eating habits.
You think super healthy people WANT to eat nothing but vegetables, chicken, and salmon?
At least not at first. You do tend to develop a taste for it after a while (more on that in next section).
They do it because they know food is supposed to be fuel.
14. Stop Lying to Yourself About Junk Making You Happy
We all have heard someone say something along the lines of “I’d rather eat what I want and die happy than be miserable eating foods I don’t like”.
This is crap.
I’m sorry to be so blunt here, but it is.
Sure you may feel good while you are eating it, but after an hour or two, that goes away and you tend to feel worse physically and mentally.
Have you ever met a super healthy person and known them to be miserable?
I haven’t. They are usually happy people. (FYI, being skinny and being healthy are NOT the same thing. I’m talking about the healthy people who eat healthy foods all the time and are fairly active)
That’s because the food they eat and the activity they do, promotes brain and body health!
Your body and the chemicals and nerves in your brain work correctly, which in turn allows you to be happy.
How happy are you really if you are sitting in front of a tv eating chips, worrying about your latest health diagnosis, while people eating healthier foods are out there living their life and enjoying it?
You can be like that too!
Not to mention, when you switch to healthier foods, you do begin to develop a taste for them and will eventually prefer them.
I have always despised wheat bread. Since I started forcing myself to eat 100% Whole Wheat, I now think white bread tastes gross.
Another example: Taco Bell was always my husband and my favorite fast food. Once I started making burritos at home with homemade brown rice or quinoa, grass fed meats, and 100% whole wheat tortillas, Taco Bell tastes awful in comparison. It’s mushy, unappetizing, and tastes like it’s not even food to me now. And my husband agrees with me.
You develop a taste for the good stuff full of nutrients once your body gets a taste of it.
And trust me, you are happier because you feel better and can do more!
15. Build Your Confidence
Many of us are unable to make any changes because we aren’t confident in ourselves that we can do it.
So find your inner cheerleader!
How can you do this?
One way is to take #3’s advice and learn everything you can about it.
If you have all the information, you can’t doubt your abilities.
I research a lot on how food works in the body, so I am super confident in that area.
I do need to brush up on how exercise affects the body, because I struggle with my confidence on that. And will be doing that soon.
Another way to build confidence in yourself is to read motivational quotes on Pinterest or even in my Facebook group (we post a lot of them there! Click on the link to join us!).
Reading these are an instant boost in your mood, because they re-affirm something you should already know.
Building your confidence allows you to know you can handle whatever changes you make and you WILL improve your life.
And if you don’t believe in yourself that you can do it, know that I do believe in you.
I will be your cheerleader.
16. Find A Way to Enjoy It!
Follow a healthy eating recipe blogger (sign up for my email list here!) to get recipe ideas for yummy healthy recipes.
I follow a few other bloggers that make great healthy-ish recipes and give out interesting health information that you never thought you would be excited to hear. Pinch of Yum (recipes) and Edukale (health information) are my two favorites for this (besides myself of course).
Make your family dinner time when you also cook together, while singing and dancing to the radio!
Misha Collins from Supernatural has his own cookbook out of healthy, fun recipes that his kids help him create. The recipes are very original. He even tells how he got his kids to go from eating chicken nuggets to kale and like it! And you will love reading this because he is hilarious when talking about each recipe!
If you hate exercising, find an activity you are interested in. You can go swimming, take karate lessons, join a dance class, go on nature hikes, join a volleyball or bowling league. Just find and activity you always loved to do when you were younger and see if they have leagues or access to a public park that offers that!
Check your local city community centers, because I never knew the one by my old house offered a gym, swimming, classes, leagues, and more for adults for only a few dollars until someone told me about it.
17. Remember Everything is a Learning Experience
We often don’t start things because we are afraid to fail.
But this is the opposite of what we should do.
You need to fail at things in order to learn the best ways for you!
Get off your healthy eating plan? Try a different one.
Quit being active for a couple of days? Try something else.
Failure is how we learn. How we grow.
Be proud of your failures because you learned so much from them!
People who are successful have failed more than most people!
So if you embrace the fact that failing could lead to better things, you will be more likely to get started.
18. Lower Your Sugar Intake!
Seems weird to be in a category on how to get motivated, right?
Well, if you read Dr. Hyman’s book “The Blood Sugar Solution”, you know it isn’t that far fetched.
Sugar is as addictive as drugs.
It gets in our brain and disrupts EVERYTHING from mental illnesses to how to body functions.
Sugar destroys good bacteria in our guts, making our bodies susceptible to illness and disease. If you crave sugar, it is because the bad bacteria in your gut has outnumbered the good bacteria and is feeding on the sugar.
It destroys motivation because you need to be clear, focused, and happy to start anything new. You also need to not be sick and feel run down.
So limit your processed sugary items and after about a week, you will start to see some improvement in your brain fog and body function, which will in turn, help with your motivation to get healthier.
19. Find a Way to Make Yourself Accountable
It can be hard to find a way to hold ourselves accountable. How do we even do that?
I will share what worked for me by sharing a post I wrote in my Facebook group:
Breaking a Bad Eating Habit
I had a horrible habit of always wanting to go get fast food, get ice cream, or get junk food nightly.
I would crave the stuff and want it really badly. It felt like an addiction that I couldn’t kick…. But the worst part is that I justified it. I would use excuses like “I had a bad day” or “I know my husband would love this food” or “I’m depressed, I need comfort food”.
My husband and I talked about how I was frustrated with myself because I couldn’t stop justifying my bad eating and couldn’t hold myself accountable. I felt like I was out of control and couldn’t help myself. I needed help.
So this is what my husband did: Every time I would ask if he wants to get fast food, he would tell me no because he feels bad when he eats it. He would then get out a pan and start making something and ask if I wanted any.
When I would ask if he wants to go get ice cream or junk food, he would tell me no, because he feels depressed the next day after eating ice cream, and then find an alternate in our pantry.
He would tell me he is not stopping me from going out to get it myself, but don’t pick him up any. I did go out one time and felt awkward eating it in front of him when I got home. I stopped doing it.
It made me realize that I didn’t need it. I had no reason to justify it anymore. I was being held accountable. We have now been off fast food and going out for extra desserts for a while now.
It also helps that we started buying stuff at the grocery store, so I could make the items I was craving at home. If I wanted cookies, we made whole wheat cookies. When I wanted a burrito, we made burritos at home. If I wanted ice cream, we would make our own. If I wanted a cheeseburger, we would make it at home.
So if you have trouble holding yourself accountable, try talking to a spouse, a roommate, a friend, or a family member.
Tell them you are struggling and can’t figure out a way to control it. Ask for help to make a plan to avoid the bad thing in your life that you can’t seem to stop.
They will be more willing to help than you think and could help come up with something you never even thought of to break your bad habit.
20. Get Inspired!
Find someone you admire on social media and follow their progress.
It helps if you relate to the person in some way (maybe you both started off at 250 lbs or both have back issues).
This is because finding someone who is like you, tells you that you can do this too.
You Can Do This!
We all have struggles and want to be healthier.
But many of us don’t have motivation to take the steps to get there.
Stop telling yourself that you wished you had someone’s motivation, because you can have it too if you find the right way for you!
Try and fail. Learn in the process.
And have fun with it!
You can live better. I know you can.
Because you have made it this far and accomplished so much already.
Let me know in the comments of this article if this helped you find your motivation!