Here is a question I was recently asked by a soon to be retired professor regarding having the motivation to start and complete a weight loss program. I have a feeling he’s not the only one having this problem. I wanted to share my response to him with everyone.
Question: I am a college professor and soon to be retiring. I believe that if I can get fit and healthy before retirement, I will enjoy retirement much more than if I were not fit and healthy. So far I have not acted on it, and feel like my life is on hold. I do not want to retire if I am not feeling fit and really alive like my students, yet I do want to retire and have the energy and the passion to do things for myself, family and community at large. My question is, how can I increase my motivation to get fit, get healthy, and begin anew?
Answer: This is a great question because so many of us desire a certain way of being in the world yet strangely we can’t find the motivation. Major Life changes such as retirement are rarely easy. We get caught up in day to day living and urgent matters of the day take over.
Your plan for getting fit and healthy has to begin with the fun stuff of envisioning your future self as a “retired person.” In my practice people often say they are motivated to change, but so often cannot articulate the real reasons for change. Often they think that if they lose weight and get fit their life will be transformed – if I am slim and fit all the pieces of my life will flow seamlessly kind of thinking.
The step you may be missing is that of envisioning a future self in all it’s totality. Part of the reason people can’t seem to lose weight or keep it off is that in their zeal to get started on “the big weight loss/get fit plan, they forget why it’s actually important to be the fittest and healthiest they can be. Sure many say they will feel better, and look better, but it goes much deeper than this.
Increase Motivation Steps: write several paragraphs answering the following questions.
I call this writing exercise blabbing as no one else needs to read it.
1. Why is it important for you to be fit and trim? And How will being fit and trim impact your loved one’s health?
2. How will being fit and trim change your life positively as you get set to retire? What fun things will it open up?
3. What will you dare dream of doing as a fit lean person that you cannot do now?
4. Would you have less fear of your life to be if you felt your health was optimal? How would you think differently about the fun possibilities in life?
5. How will you be able to contribute more to your own life and the life of your loved one’s if you were fit, lean, and the healthiest you could be?
Read your vision daily. Make no expectations to act until you are ready. In most cases, people begin to start acting within a short time period. If that is not the case with you, then review your vision and aim to dig deeper within yourself and make more of an emotional connect. Emotions cause us to change, so drive it with emotion and get rid of the cognitive mind stuff we typically pride ourselves on. This is about change which begins from emotion and not that brainy beast of ours.
If You Are Not Moved to Act After Several Weeks
Then you gotta get going. It’s tough love time!
Know that action will have to begin whether you are ready or not! I call this faking it until you make it. Fake how you want to be and set up your action plan. Feel confident that action causes change in the brain so begin where you are at, and not where your spouse, neighbor friend, dog, cat are at. This is about you. It’s tough love time and begin to take action – start changing your eating habits and get moving.