One of the big questions I often get asked is how to stay motivated. It is one of the most difficult challenges of this lifestyle.
Usually, the excitement has worn off, the weight loss has slowed, people are giving you stress now they realize you haven’t gone back to your old ways after a few weeks like you did when you dieted. They’re wondering could this paleo thing be permanent? The horror!
Cake’s lookin’ good…doggone it.
And you want to join in, be normal, one of the gang, don’t you? I know. I’ve been there, too. If you’re like me, you’ll be a goner if you take two bites. After one bite you can stop, but two? The whole cake could disappear. Knowing that just two bites can do that to you can be depressing and the rest of your life without cake seems like a long time, huh? Poop.
Good guys finish last.
Then there’s the drag of life – the kids are fighting, the boss is moaning, your nosy neighbor is calling, you’re doing everything right and not seeing results. Time isn’t your friend, your patience has abandoned you and exercise feels like the nice guy you were always too busy for because you just didn’t like him enough.
So as a big list-maker and someone who coaches others in life and writing, I’ve got something to keep you motivated. One that will keep you on the straight and narrow if you follow it. It’s a three step process – takes ten minutes to set up then less than a minute a day thereafter. You’ll start to feel in control and unconflicted in seconds. It’s that easy. Commit to it as a habit.
Motivation Step One: Write out all the reasons you’re paleo.
Take a piece of paper and handwrite every single reason you live paleo. I think hand writing works best because it is slower, more tactile, and done infrequently so it alerts the brain that this is a special activity. But typing is a decent alternative if it pains you to handwrite or you’re in danger of not doing the exercise at all unless you type it. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good and all that.
So go on, write down every possible reason for being paleo that you can think of. Don’t limit yourself. You can tidy up the list later if you wish or you’ve too much overlap between reasons.
It is best to start from scratch with your own thoughts and words, but a short cut is to start with the list below, cross off the ones that don’t apply and add your own specific reasons. Get as detailed as possible.
Reasons To Be Paleo, 1, 2, 3…
- I’ll look better
- I’ll be less self-critical
- I’ll feel I’ve accomplished something major
- I’ll feel better physically and mentally
- I’ll like myself more
- I’ll be happier when I look in the mirror
- I’ll be more assertive
- I’ll have more success in life
- I’ll be in less pain
- I’ll get better sleep
- I’ll be more productive
- I’ll have less anxiety
- I’ll have more strength
- I’ll be able to encourage and lead others
- I’ll have more energy
- I’ll have more self-confidence
- I’ll feel more in control.
- I’ll enjoy my family more
- I’ll use my time better
- I’ll be able to play with my kids
- I’ll get off my meds
- I’ll earn more money
- I’ll have healthier children
- I’ll be more patient with others
Motivation Step Two: Put your list somewhere easily accessible.
This is essential. If you don’t do this step, most of the effort of writing your list will be wasted. Put this list somewhere you can easily see it on a daily basis. Think of somewhere where you sit regularly and place it there. Pin it on the wall at the place where you stare when you hit a point at work where you need a time out. Or write your reasons on a card and stick it at eye level on your bathroom mirror. Stick it on your dashboard. I have my list in my phone.
Motivation Step Three. Review the list at least twice a day.
I read mine while I’m waiting to pick my kids up from their multifarious activities. You might stare at it on your cubicle wall as your brain takes a break. Perhaps you read it just before you get up and just before you go to bed. Or while you’re cleaning your teeth. Whenever and wherever you do it, make it work for you twice a day.
Motivation Bonus Step: Whip out your list under threat.
Have a second copy of the list and keep it with you at all times. When that cake appears, when you’re on your way to Thanksgiving, when the Halloween candy is calling your name, or you feel like slumping in front of the TV rather than doing your exercise, pull out your list. Read it. Just the act of doing so will interrupt your thought processes that were, just a second ago, hung up on eating temptation itself. Reread your list until you feel strong, take a deep breath and go do what you know you need to. Keep your list close by so you can whip it out again if necessary.
I constantly talk about the need to be a paleo warrior, assessing threats, developing strategies and training hard so you go into non-paleo battle in great condition. This list is part of your paleo armoury. It’s your first line of defense. Use it, train with it, exploit it. This little tool can slay dragons. And it only takes seconds each day. How can you not use it? Now go write your list!
Do you have a technique to keep you inspired? Tell us in the comments. I know we’re all ears!
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