Stay motivated

09.09.2020

In need of some tips on how to stay motivated during a lifestyle change? Keep reading! Frank Eirik Abrahamsen is an associate professor at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. He works at the Department of coaching and psychology and is responsible for the bachelor’s degree with a specialization in training, coaching, and sports psychology. Get his best advice on how to get motivated for an active lifestyle and stay motivated during the change. 

The Self-Determination Theory

The Self-Determination Theory focuses on three psychological needs: self-determination, knowledge, and belonging. The theory states that: when those needs meet, we are more easily motivated, productive, and happy.

What can we learn from this theory? It shows that knowledge is motivating. Therefore we should strive to know more about the challenges we are about to meet. No one can force you to change. It would help if you were self-determined. Also, a feeling of belonging helps in the process. Share your goals with those who will support you. They might even join you on the journey.  

Set your goal

Knowing where you want to go to is a good idea when you are booking a vacation. The same thing is smart when you are about to change your way of life. What do you want to be different, and why? How will you benefit, and why is this important to YOU? How will your everyday life look like when you have reached your goal, and even more important, how do you look living your new daily life? Visualize yourself achieving your goal! If it helps, write it down or find a symbol to remind you of the journey you’ve booked. 

Keep eating chocolate

The goal you have chosen should be realistic. A great way to kill your motivation is to “pack more than you can carry.” Keep eating chocolate; eat less. Don’t plan on six workouts every week from now on. What is realistic for you? It would help if you made it easy for yourself to stick to your plan. But remember, if you have to overcome some obstacle along the way, the wine tastes better, and the motivation grows! In other words, changing your lifestyle can’t just be comfortable. Find activities and food you enjoy. It will help you make the trip as pleasant as it can be.  

“It is easier to start with something you love than to stop something you like.” 

Intrinsic or extrinsic motivation?

Extrinsic motivation is a more brief motivation. In contrast, intrinsic motivation stays longer and can take you further. So if you do something you love, the activity itself is so motivating that you don’t need rewards or someone cheering for you. However, rewarding yourself for doing something you never thought you would manage might make you take new chances in the future.   

When you ask experts about rewards, the answer is: Reward is a vulnerable form of motivation. It is not strong, but when you are missing any other motivation, it can work. However, it would be best if you look at the benefits you get from the changes first. That is a better form of motivation.

Remember the note or the symbol to remind you of your goal? Keep it close. It might motivate you when the going gets tough. 

It’s okay with a delay

The plan you made to reach your goal is a great way to start! But let’s be honest. Life doesn’t always go as planned. So what should you do when you start drifting away from it? 

Let’s make a comparison. Most of us have driven to work and got delayed because of the queue, but that does not make us turn back home again. This behavior can compare to lifestyle changes. Something may happen along the way, which forces you to postpone your plan, but it is just a small delay. If you don’t stop reaching for your goal no matter what, you will get there. There might just be some detours.