It can be relatively easy to 'get motivated' but a bit more difficult to 'stay consistently in that state', unless of course, if your name is Pollyanna !
At the moment, after a few weeks on the road, I'm feeling 'highly motivated' by a desire to eat foods that my body thrives on and get more exercise.....
My motivation varies but overall in now consists of being kind to my body, as it needs that kindness to keep working!
It got me thinking and I began to ponder what has motivated me over the decades:
In my teens it was to look like Twiggy, and fit into Biba clothes - I could drop 7 lbs in a week to squeeze into a tight little mini dress at the weekend, my calves having plenty of room in some knee high patent leather boots and my eyelids capable of blinking under the weight of two sets of false eyelashes.
Looks were everything as I turned to fashion to help me find my own style identity. I followed the only signposts that were available at that time i.e. the fashion magazines. It didn't even occur to me in those days to be 'kind' to my body - my body was kind to me!
In my 20's it was more about attracting a mate. Hormones guide us during our most 'fertile' years and yes, I admit it, I dressed for men. I laugh at that now, but it was a truth in that decade, although I wasn't necessarily fully conscious of the fact as I considered myself a 'liberated woman', but those hormones had other ideas.
In my 30's I began to discover my own style, but weight was still a burning issue in society, so the image I presented to the world was still a factor in my motivation, especially as I was involved in the natural health profession.
In my 40's I was motivated by keeping my figure lean and trim, muscular and strong. I'd always done yoga but this is the decade I discovered Pilates and continued to be a bit of a gym bunny.
In my 50's the decade was about 'damage limitation' through a time of transition on every single level. Menopause took over and I stopped smoking - yes I admit I had such a bad habit (see my blog on how I stopped and stayed a non-smoker). Up until then I had metabolised tobacco pretty well but suddenly that changed and my body struggled. I stopped cold turkey and my body went into a chemical freefall. Dramatic is not the word, every system became disrupted by withdrawal symptoms. My body had never known an adult day without the drug circulating the systems and had managed to achieve a perfect balanced adaptation; so when I changed the rules (gave up smoking), it caused chaos on a monumental level. On top of that the hormonal fluctuations of menopause meant a double whammy and suddenly I put on weight, had big boobs for the first time and my body felt out of control.
It didn't really bother me much at first, I quite liked the 'abundant goddess' look and Nature had been kind and now, no longer able to be 'fertile', the unconscious desire to find a mate simply evaporated.
In my 6o's things settled down and I began to appreciate just how amazing my body was, that in the face of all the abuse I'd inflicted on it over the decades, it was still going strong, it just needed a bit of extra attention and kind support.
So my motivation turned to tuning into my body, losing the damaging weight (pressure on joints, internal fat around the organs, strain on heart etc.,) accepting I'm not built like Twiggy, not hating myself, not feeling a failure but developing a slow burn motivation to make a healthy weight adjustment, stay hydrated, make healthy lifestyle choices and most of all my motivation became all about loving my body and taking responsibility for it; a role reversal really; it had looked after me during all my youthful excesses and now I needed to look after it.
In my 70's I think my motivation to stay healthy will become the primary one, along with a feeling of increased daily gratitude that it all still works. I actually pat my body and thank it every day for keeping going in such a wonderful way!
There is a quiet freedom that comes with age, almost a second rebellious phase, without any anger, just feeling good about yourself and not worrying a jot about what other people think of you. I so wish I had had this freedom of thought in my 20's but for most of us it comes with the passing of the years and is a precious thing.
Being able to walk my dogs, see, hear, still do yoga, remain curious, continue learning, retain a sense of humour and ultimately being grateful for the things one DOES have, mean the motivation has changed 100% from being all about the external 'looks' to the internal health of the body ...... loving oneself, achieving and maintaining a 'healthy' weight - and healthy is not what the books say, it's how your body feels.
I wonder what my motivation will be in my 80's ?
So take time to ponder what your motivation is at this point in your life.
Take time to ponder if you are ready to move into thinking it's 'all about you and your body' not about what others think or what society dictates ....... are you being your authentic you? Do you handle the various transitions that come with each decade with ease, or at least a degree of grace?
Ponder your lifestyle choices: healthy foods that you enjoy/stretching/hydration/walking/ exercising the brain/choosing to laugh/reducing grumpiness/improving sleep/ realising and appreciating all that you have in your life.
Ultimately, it is all about YOU and finding the joy in your life ..... and there is nothing wrong or selfish in that. If you are a 'happy, healthy bunny' everyone who comes in contact with you will benefit is some way, by sheer osmosis..... even your animal companions!