In the last year or so concepts like self acceptance and self love have become more popular in the health and personal growth field. We've gotten a bit tired of the masculine energy of the "push through it", "suck it up" and "Just do it" and now we're starting to realise that with all the fat shaming, mental illness and insane stress in our lives, a little bit of feeling ok just as we are might not be such a bad thing.
I'm the first to pump my pom poms in the air over the fact that we've finally realised that you can't have much fun if you're waiting until you're thinner, richer or "better" in some way before you allow yourself to enjoy your life. Also, you can't make any real change until you accept yourself as you are either. That means being really willing to look at the habits you've cultivated over the years, the decisions you make every day or the reasons why you say you want to achieve a certain goal, but then you sabotage yourself from succeeding.
If you're a Type-A personality, a perfectionist or an overachiever, I can already sense the fear that's bubbling up in you around this conversation about self acceptance. I know because I can totally relate to it. I remember that when I learnt that in order to make change you need to accept yourself first I thought:
"Yeah, but if I accept myself as I am, I'd never make any changes! I'd end up living a mediocre life. I'd never lose that weight, start that business or bother going to Toastmasters meetings. "
At that time in my life the feeling that I was inherently broken or flawed was the only thing motivating me to make any changes. Many of us are functioning the same way. We want to lose weight because we hate what we see in the mirror and we think if we accepted our body right now then we'd never change. That' s actually not how it works.
A client of mine said to me last week "I've learned to approach my health and fitness from a place of much more self acceptance. When I first came to you I felt urgency about wanting to 'fix' so many things that were wrong with me. Now, I'm happier that I feel at peace with myself...but there are still things I want to improve on. I still have goals. But I'm a bit nervous that if I just accept myself, I'll slack off. My motivation will disappear."
This is such a common fear. But wouldn't it be nicer to work towards our goals from a mindset of improving the fantastic and beautiful person you already are? How would that feel compared to slogging it out because you feel you need to fix something that's broken?
Let's be honest: doing something because you're punishing yourself doesn't feel good - so that's why you stop doing it. You call it lack of willpower or motivation and you feel guilty about quitting, but really all that's happened is that some part of you has finally said "I don't like doing this thing that makes me feel crap about myself all the time! I just want to sit on the couch and eat ice cream and watch Game of Thrones!"
Motivation from fear never lasts. On the other hand, inspiration from what's possible is endless. When you ask yourself "How can I feel stronger today? Healthier today? More in love with my body today?" you can easily see action steps that come from a place of excitement rather than punishment.
True motivation comes from that positive feeling, that WHY that you're chasing behind every goal. When you know what your WHY is, and you approach your goal from a place of inspiration and improvement you're much more likely to stick with it. Throw in a support team and there's no stopping you.
How to stay motivated
If you need some help creating goals or accountability in sticking with them, coaching can change your life quickly and powerfully. For more information on the coaching packages I offer, come and visit my coaching page over here