Motivation Monday

R is for reality

So, you’re getting on nicely now.  It’s week 8.  Maybe a centimetre has gone off your waist – have you checked?  Don’t step on the scales every 5 minutes.  Once a week at the same time in the same clothes (or not!)  But, if you’re following



and building your plan, OR if you’ve come unstuck already (well, February happens), then you might need to stop and do a reality check.

What is actually happening?

The first reality check is to ask

“who owns this problem?”  

If you’re after a healthy lifestyle change it’s probably you!  But it may be you felt pressured into accepting the change challenge for the wrong reasons, or someone else’s reasons.  Either stop, put the problem back where it belongs or go back to topic or goal setting and make it personal and relevant to you.

I’m stuck

stuck in a rut

If you’re stuck and unsure how to move forward with lifestyle change but it’s definitely your problem and you definitely want to, asking yourself

“what have I already tried?”

can be very powerful.  You’ve probably tried a lot of things. Work out what did work.  Ask

“what’s going/what went right?”

Even if it was only a little bit or for a short while.  Then flip that over and work out what stopped it working?  Ask

“What is my own contribution to the problem?”

Ask yourself,

“In an ideal world, what would be happening to get my healthy lifestyle on track?”

And then look at what the barriers are to achieving this ideal outcome.

Finally, ask

“How much energy do I have to solve the problem?”

“How much energy do I have to overcome those barriers on a 1-10 scale?”

If your energy is 8, 9 or 10 go ahead. If it’s less, start by looking at how you can move yourself towards more motivation for change.

1-10 readiness for change scale

How I did it

As an example, I’ve already talked about my assumptions and perceived barriers to change, but now let’s put it through the “reality check”coaching sieve:

“Who owns this problem?”

Me, me, me.  I hated the discomfort of fatness and the dreadful embarrassment and double-standard of being an obese health professional. So far so easy.

“What have i already tried?”

I used to go to the gym 3 times a week, or before that fitness classes, or before that ballet and it worked, I was a normal weight.  I tried myfitnesspal calorie control and it helped, but I didn’t exercise and after a time I gave up.

“What is my own contribution to the problem?”

I’ve chosen a career which is sedentary with long hours and I’ve got into a mindset that I can’t go to the gym for an hour after work.  I cannot sustain strict calorie control at 1200kCals/day.

“In an ideal world what would be happening?”

I would exercise three times a week and eat what I wanted – but that would be naturally controlled by restored hunger and satiety signals.

“What are the barriers?”

Long working hours and I am leached of motivation.

“How much energy do I have for a solution?”

Initially, 2/10!  I just got fatter.  How did I get to the tipping point of 10/10 NOW I am going to act?  Firstly acknowledging the scale of the problem.  BMI 29.9 was a shock.  Next, the serendipity of new year with its resolutions and promises of fresh starts.  I was at an 8.  Finally, knowledge – reading up about new approaches to short bursts of frequent exercise suddenly galvanised me.

Put yourself through the same set of questions and see where you end up.  If you’re struggling with moving your motivation from 2/10 to 8/10 try the “force-field analysis”: 

to see if identifying and visualising the size of the pros and cons can help you identify a solution to minimise the forces against change.  Then join us back here next motivation Monday for the options appraisal.

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