I had dinner with a client last night and our conversation was so valuable I had to share.
Diane asked me this question with a hopelessness that was striking: “Why am I feeling uninspired? I don’t have that same drive and determination that I had before. Why?”
She clearly felt like she had lost something that she was terrified she couldn’t get back.
I told her that the reason she doesn’t have the same drive and determination as before is because of her standards. When she was sick and couldn’t walk, her quality of life was below her standards for herself. At that point, she said to herself, “Oh hell no I won’t live like this!”
She lost 100 pounds. She regained mobility. She is feeling great. She is now within her optimum life standards.
There’s a reason why she lost her motivation. It’s because she doesn’t want anything. She has reached her personal standard goal.
When I finished talking Diane still looked defeated and uninspired. She said uncertainly, “So I need a new goal .”
I paused and let her think for a second, and then replied, “No, you don’t need a new goal. Let me ask you a question. Why have you gotten stagnant over the last three to four months while Andrea Charroin has kept going without a slowdown?”
“Why do you think that is?”
She just stared at me.
I told her that Andrea’s drive and momentum comes from a fundamental perspective of wanting to be better tomorrow than she is today. So every day it’s about nothing other that doing everything she can to improve herself. She has fallen in love with the process of improving, and it includes all aspects, from the way she thinks about food, and building her strength to improving her endurance and posture.
So her drive is inherent and lasting even despite setbacks and low result periods. By falling in love with the process of improving, a person’s motivation will always be there and will always expand. It’s a domino effect because the more progress we make, the better we feel. The better we feel the more progress we want to make.
Diane smiled. She understood.
Goals are external motivation. Falling in love with the process of improving is real inspiration.
You might ask how someone could fall in love with the process of improving. The answer may sound counter-intuitive, but here it is: Quit having goals. Goals come with start dates and end dates.
Instead, develop a philosophy; a new way of looking at the world. Adopt the philosophy that there is no start date or end date to your health or self improvement. There is just the process of improvement.
An actionable step would be to just start making yourself better every day, and then celebrate and intentionally look at the victories that you achieve. That’s how you fall in love with that process of improvement. It changes everything. You begin tying the pain of exercise to getting up the stairs easier. Now exercise is awesome. It’s the only way to truly win long term.
Really what we are talking about is counting your wins, and falling in the love with watching yourself win.
Finally, when you do slip, or have setbacks, look at your so-called “failures” not as failures, but as places for you to grow.