I want you to think about the why's of exercise and what it really means to you when you set goals. I want you to find ‘the will of fire’ (it’s what I like to call it). I want you to think back to that feeling when you have accomplished something that you may have not thought you could do. I want you to forget about those numbers and remember what makes you "bad-ass."
Write two letters. One to your past self, and one to your future self. What would you tell them to get them motivated? If it helps to get you started, write down 10 things that motivate you in life. Whether or not it’s fitness related, 10 things that you find get you going. Then ask yourself, “where are those things now?” How do you get them back in your life?
Think about whether or not you still want it, your original goals, and what you did and could do, what you are going to do to get there. What if there were no barriers to hold you back? What would the road to your goals look like? The idea behind it is really to ask yourself “what am I going to do to be the best I can?”
The letter to my future self is the much harder one to write. I mean, my past self I know. I’ve been there. In fact, it’s tapping in to that past self that I need to do in order to get that feeling back: what it felt like to lose weight in the first place, what it felt like to surprise myself, and what it felt like to believe in a goal of health (versus the vanity of trying to manipulate my body for looks). Fortunately, I’ve got a lot of writing – including the past year of the blog – to return to. And if I could go back into the past, well before starting this journey, I’d tell myself that it’s never too late to start. But whoo-boy would it ever be easier if I’d started earlier! It only gets harder the further you go. Which, in itself, is a good incentive for me to keep going. Climbing out of a backwards slide isn’t any easier than starting in the first place.
What Mat’s tapped into is the concept of writing your story. It’s more than just writing your goals. Creating a character of who you want to be, and examining you are, and who you were. Not unlike the practice of writing your eulogy as a way of goal setting – what do you want people to say about you when you die? Start with that, then figure out what you need to do now, in life, to get there – writing a letter to my future self is a reconnection with my story.
It’s well documented that expressive writing helps to process deep emotions. An article in Time reiterated the psychological benefits of putting paper to pen. “what is it about writing that calms the mind and helps us heal emotionally? There are no solid answers but there’s plenty of research showing the human mind needs meaning — a story to make sense of what has happened. Only then can it rest. Writing forces you to organize your thoughts into a coherent structure. It helps you make sense of life.”
A similar article popped up on a list of the best fitness articles of the week, last week. How To Take Charge of Your Motivation. Aside from some obvious advice, like write it down and choose one focussed (and honest) goal, the author writes “Friedrich Nietzsche said that he who has a strong enough why can bear any how. This is critical as you’ll undoubtedly encounter resistance and setbacks along the way to achieving anything worthwhile. If your why isn’t built on a solid foundation of personal meaning on an emotional level, it becomes far easier to abandon your goal whenever difficulties arise.”
At this point in time, I’ve lost sight of my original goals, which were probably pretty unrealistic to begin with. I’m working to tap back into the motivation that’s taken a vacation and to find my WHY.