Motivation Hangover

Hangovers suck. They are unpleasant and render us pretty useless.

The majority of people looking to get fit are suffering from a perpetual motivation hangover. Or rather, they are going from one hangover to next with little time to recover.

Our Instagram and Facebook feeds are enabling a problem. All of those super hot fitness guru’s with statuesque six packs we follow for motivation? That’s where the hangover comes from.

Each time we see one of those pictures we get a shot of motivation. We get really psyched up and motivated. We’re ready to tackle our goals at any cost. We feel like this time will be the time.

This feeling is temporary.This shot of motivation lasts about as long as a shot of whiskey i.e. not long.

When we start to sober up, we can tell. So what do we do? We down more shots to sustain our motivation. What happens when we have too many shots?

Our body rejects it. Our body fights back.

This can take several forms, but can all be classified as self sabotage–anything that feels counter to what you’ve achieved with your motivation shots. This could look like binge eating on one end of the spectrum. It could also be something as seemingly benign as eating a treat because “we’ve earned it”**. Either way, we end up pushing back against the gains we’ve made.

We barf up all the motivation we’ve imbibed.

barfinguni.jpg

And just like we shouldn’t rely on those shots of whiskey to get through our day, we shouldn’t rely on shots of motivation to get through our fat loss goals.

A shot here and there to take the edge off won’t have noticeable adverse effects. However, if we’re drinking constantly because we can’t get through the day otherwise, we obviously have a problem.

The same is true with motivation.

Relying on shots of motivation isn’t a good long term strategy. We need to have something more sustainable. We need something that will keep us intrinsically motivated in the long term.

Unfortunately I can’t tell you what will motivate you intrinsically. That’s the thing about intrinsic motivation, it doesn’t come from an external source. However, I can tell you what intrinsic motivation feels like.

First let’s define motivation. Motivation is anything that catalyses an action. Anything that gets us to do something else is motivation.

Intrinsic motivation feels very subtle, or like nothing at all. Think about brushing your teeth. Something is pulling you towards brushing your teeth. We don’t feel super jazzed and excited whenever we brush our teeth. Most people don’t brush their teeth and fistpump simultaneously. Even so, we brush our teeth consistently enough to keep our teeth clean and healthy.

That is to say, motivation doesn’t only mean the cheerleader kind.

The moral of this story is to start thinking about motivation differently. When we imbibe too much of certain kinds we end up doing more harm than good. The best way to prevent a hangover is to stop drinking so much.

Oh yeah, and maybe unfollow @sixpackforeva on Instagram.

 

**We don’t earn treats. We’re not dogs. We don’t learn like them. If you want some cookies, have at it. But no matter how healthy we’ve eaten, we didn’t earn those cookies. Rewarding ourselves with treats reinforces this feeling that healthy foods are punishment. And whenever we feel like we have to do something, like we’re being forced, we rebel. Rebelling against healthy behaviors is certainly detrimental to long term fat loss

 

Further readings:

http://blog.myfitnesspal.com/how-to-break-your-body-shaming-habit/

http://www.losestubbornfat.com/motivation-superstition/

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