Dear #MotivationMonday, Let's Try That Again...

Have you ever heard any of these phrases? 

"nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"

"suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret"

"suck it it up and one day you won't have to suck it in"

"fat lasts longer than flavor"

… or maybe you’ve heard ones that are similar? One quick search on Pinterest found me plenty of them. 

I think that the intention of them is to motivate, to inspire, and to encourage but I feel like, more often than not, this type of ’motivational’ dialogue falls into the category of demeaning, and discouraging, rather than helpful. So, I just want to talk about that a little bit: 

Phrases like these may seem motivational and sure, maybe they do inspire some people to take action - but I think the means by which they encourage action are wrong. They insinuate that there is something wrong with a person that needs to be hidden, or fixed, and that in order to fix it they have to suffer, and feel restricted. These phrases target people’s biggest insecurities, and use them against them to force them into achieving something. Like I said before, it might be effective...but, it’s certainly not healthy - emotionally or physically.

Motivation to better yourself should come from a place of loving, rather than hating yourself.

Yeah, I know, blah blah self-love everyone’s talking about it, you get, it you get it! But seriously… it’s important, so let me get to the point: It’s all just a little shift in the way that you think about things.

I’m not trying to say that if you just wake up tomorrow and decide “I love me” that you’ll suddenly feel awesome about what you see in the mirror but self-love is a practice, that gets much easier when you do good (healthful) things for yourself from a place of positive motivation. So, you can decide: “because I love me, I want to be a better me.”

Instead of going out and doing a workout because you hate the way you look, or because you feel guilty about enjoying pizza last night (aka motivating from a negative space) - try going out to exercise because you’re grateful for the fact that you have a body that is still functional and capable of moving, because you like the way it feels after you finish a great workout, or because you love yourself enough to work through something that’s tough so that you can live a longer, healthier life. Sure, maybe both approaches lead to the same action, but the result in the end will be different. You have to love yourself throughout the journey, or there’s a good chance reaching “that goal” won’t actually make you feel any better. Accomplished, but disappointed is a dangerous mental space to be in, so don’t assign the value of your happiness or your ability to self-love to a certain benchmark or achievement. As they say, happiness is not a destination – so don’t convince yourself that it is one.

Now that we got through the demeaning aspect, let’s address that ‘need to suffer’ aspect.

The journey towards a better, healthier you should not be miserable, restrictive, or involve suffering.

Yes, some workouts are killer, and your muscles might be screaming for days afterwards, but if you don’t like that feeling, if it doesn’t light you up, make you feel accomplished, or leave you with that post-workout high, then you may be doing the wrong exercise. Even if you used to love the exercise you do, but lately you feel like you have to drag yourself to it, it might be time to find something new, or even just add something new to your routine. You should go explore new gyms, classes, and exercises until you find a new favorite way to move your body, even if it’s just something you add in on occasion to keep things interesting. Is there a new gym you’ve been wanting to try? Has one of your friends been loving their classes and asking you to join? This right here, is your friendly reminder to go do it!

As far as feeling restricted goes – You’ve probably already heard me say this but, I can’t help but reiterate. I don’t believe in dieting, in cutting out every food item you’ve ever loved, in tediously counting calories, in ‘drinking water instead when you feel hungry’, in replacing meals with powdery shakes, or whatever else much of society makes us feel like we have to do to lose weight, or be "healthier." A healthy lifestyle is not created in 21 days, or 30 days, it happens as a combination of small sustainable changes that you don’t have to worry about “failing at” or “quitting”. Our dietary needs are as unique as we are as people, there’s no one-size-fits-all diet, and the right foods for you should make you feel good and satisfied, not hungry and sad. If you need more about this check out my blog on dieting here.

So, there it is, my little rant on demeaning “motivational” quotes. What do you think about my perception of these popular phrases?  Do you agree? Disagree? 

Share your favorite positive motivational quote with me in the comments! Here are a few of mine:

“take care of your body, it’s the only one you have”

“your health is an investment not an expense”

“it’s hard to feel bad about a body you’re taking great care of”

“you’re allowed to be both a masterpiece, and a work in progress simultaneously” –Sophia Bush

I hope you enjoy your day!

Live, love,