This is a really common problem - probably one that is shared by most people who try and make lifestyle changes.
Many of us believe that we should be able to create habits around almost any behaviour, particularly if we stick at things long enough. This is certainly true of simple behaviours (flossing teeth for example). But creating habits around more complex lifestyle changes is just not that simple.
We often look to motivation to keep us going. But it's just not possible to remain motivated to do something ALL of the time. When you talk about ‘being motivated’ to do something, you probably mean that you feel like taking action. You are in the mood or perhaps ‘in the zone’. You probably have a heightened sense of energy, willingness, desire, optimism and excitement about whatever it is you want to do. It’s essentially an upbeat and very pleasurable emotional reaction that drives you to take action. And no doubt you have this when youi first start your diet.
Unfortunately the feeling of motivation never lasts. It can’t. After all, it’s an emotional response, and you can never be on an emotional ‘high’ all the time. So like your emotions, which ebb and flow and go up and down from day to day, your motivation does exactly the same. Sometimes it will be there, and other times (perhaps even most of the time) it won’t. This is just a perfectly normal and natural part of being human. And so when your motivation falls away, so too will your diert.
When this occurs (and it always will), we have 2 options. We either give up or we turn to willpower to keep us going. But here's the thing - you can't rely on willpower either. Willpower may be able to keep you on your diet for a few weeks (hell, even a few months); but sooner or later (usually sooner) your willpower will run out. You see, willpower is like a battery - the more you use it, the sooner it will just run out. And so the inevitable eventually happens - you give up & return to your old ways. Again, this is human nature. So don't beat yourself up about this.
So if you can't rely on motivation or willpower to keep you going, what's the alternative?
Well I call it the ‘Action Mindset’ - and it will trump willpower & motivation every time.
How do you get it?
To develop your Action Mindset, you actually need to develop 5 key skills. Research tells us that people who can develop these skills, find it a lot easier to commit to the actions needed to maintain complex lifestyle changes. These 5 key skills are Clarity; Willingness; Perspective; Self-Responsibility; and Self-Compassion.
I hope I've been able to shed some light on your dilemma.
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