What happens when the motivation feels stalled? Time to up your dream. I had two conversations around this topic yesterday that stand out with two clients who have felt a bit stuck this summer. And then I have a story of my own to share.
The first conversation was with a long-term client who has lost about 20 pounds and would like to lose that much more. Instead of our regular weekly check in call - she scheduled a longer conversation that I like to call "operation motivation." When I asked her why she wanted to lose 20 more pounds, she said she wanted more energy. When I asked her what she wanted more energy for, she did not know. And there in lies the problem. How much effort are you going to make toward a goal if you don't know the point of it? This is very common. So we went around the "trilogy wheel" and talked about her healthy body, mind and finances. The goal was to start painting a clear picture of what an "optimal life" looked like in her mind, not just a healthy weight. To create some energy around "now what" - to keep the motivation in tact. So she started to dream a bit about some outdoor activities such as hiking, and about a fresher space for her home office, since that is where she spends so much time and it feels pretty cluttered. Instead of starting with here's my to do list to clean out the clutter. I encouraged her to find some pictures in magazines or online of what that "dream" environment would look like - to have a goal to work toward. And to bring those pictures to my open house in a few weeks when we are going to put together vision boards. This may not be the conversation you would expect regarding stalled weight loss. This is not a diet. This is different. This is how do I take my life back. How do I dream. And I am willing to bet a whole lot of money that once she starts getting excited about other areas of her life, and have a reason for wanting more energy, she will lose the weight to gain that energy.
The second conversation was with a client who has lost about 35 pounds and is looking ahead to the next 35. Give or take. We don't focus on goal weights here, more so habits. Your body will settle where it is meant to settle. Again, she has been struggling with motivation this summer. Doing well for a 3, 4, 5 days, then getting a bit off track during social events for the most part. She is not gaining, but not in limbo. What we found, just during out 15 minute weekly check in call was that she is so proud of her current weight loss - and rightfully so - that her focus has been on how far she has come, rather than where she wants to go. There is a difference between healthy and healthier. She is much healthier. Half the battle is being able to pinpoint the thought pattern, creating that awareness. The key here in this situation is no different from any other - circle back to the motivation - where are you NOW and what is your dream? Not where did you start, but where are you now. Now what habits can you address? She's improved a whole lot of habits to get to her current spot, now what? What else is in that not-so-healthy column, and then what are the triggers. Motivation, habits, triggers... always. In that order. I look forward to my "operation motivation" call with her on Saturday morning to hep kick the next layer into gear so she can enjoy new momentum. And the conversation will surely involve, what do you want for your life - not just your weight.
And finally, my story. To me Labor Day kicks off a whole new season. The back 1/3 of the year. A new semester. Back about seven years ago I lost my job. Before then we had always lived within our means without having to try, before kids and with our first child. A stint on unemployment, a second child and then medical bills threw us off balance and into some debt. What I now see very clearly is we lack the habits it takes to be really intentional about our day-to-day finances. We don't spend big, but we don't keep track either. Kind of like eating relatively healthy, but not really knowing, and not losing weight. About a year and a half ago we took a Dave Ramsey class. Which created some awareness and taught a good system. Yet like a piece of exercise equipment, it only help you if you use it. At one point we received an inheritance, paid off all our debt, but it has slowly crept up again - because we didn't adopt the habits, we just got a gastric bypass. So, right now. This is it. It's not that we aren't smart. It's that it takes practice. And the right support. And the right tool. I am DONE playing small. And I'm not talking about a few tweaks here and there to get it paid off by next Fall. I am talking about massive focus and action (kind of like the de-cluttering project) that gets our credit card fully paid off by December 31. And then cuts it up. And continues to practice the habits long term - because the next question will be "now what?" But for now - I can see it, visualize making that last payment. I can feel the freedom. I can taste the relief. I want it as much as I wanted out of my maternity pants and to be done dieting almost five years ago. This is the next thing, the next piece of the puzzle toward an optimal life.
One final analogy before I close - a speaker at a national convention for health coaches like myself told a story about how she was mentoring a new health coach, trying to get a sense for a financial goal she might want to work toward. The response she got was how the woman just wanted to make enough to buy a new back door. She lived on a farm in the Midwest and the door got a bit drafty in the winter. So she said OK, let's get you that door. She got the door and started to think a bit bigger. How about new carpet. She got new carpet. Then she decided to buy her husband a new truck. He got a new truck. Her next goal was a whole new house! She went from a back door to a new house, within the space of four goals. So... you start where you are today. What do you want - and then you grow that dream, goal by goal, toward a more optimal life. For myself that has been healthy weight, free of dieting, fulfilling work, balanced life, de-cluttered house, debt free... I can't wait for what is next!! And here I thought I was just going on a diet. :)
Come to my OPTAVIA OPEN HOUSE, 2-5pm, Saturday, September 17 -- and spark your own dream. In addition to meeting good folks, yummy healthy appetizers, Optavia samples and a live 3:00pm broadcast - we will be doing vision boards, if that's your thing, because we are DONE with the standard American diet and the standard American dream -- we want the DONE playing small - healthy life dream.