Getting Motivated When You’ve Fallen Off the Wagon

April 24, 2011

in Blog, Kristine's Best Tips, News, Facts, Fitness

Its Monday!  Easter Monday that is!  Hope you all had a great long weekend!  Some of you may be working today, some not.  If you’ve still got some chocolate eggs staring you in the face, time to get rid of them 🙂

I was contemplating what to blog about for “News, Facts & Fitness Monday”.  But lately I’ve been thinking about “Motivation” and have been wanting to explore it further.  I understand that many people struggle with finding motivation, or have been motivated before and stuggle to get it back.  A couple people on my Facebook Page also mentioned they were interested in reading more about it too.

motivation.jpgFirstly, what is Motivation? It’s the driving force which help causes us to achieve goals.

I got some of this info from Wikipedia, its very interesting!

Starting from studies involving more than 6,000 people, Professor Steven Reiss has proposed a theory that find 16 basic desires that guide nearly all human behavior.  The desires are:

1) Acceptance, the need for approval
2) Curiosity, the need to learn
3) Eating, the need for food
4) Family, the need to raise children
5) Honor, the need to be loyal to the traditional values of one’s clan/ethnic group
6) Idealism, the need for social justice
7) Independence, the need for individuality
8 Order, the need for organized, stable, predictable environments
9) Physical activity, the need for exercise
10) Power, the need for influence of will
11) Romance, the need for sex
12) Saving, the need to collect
13) Social contact, the need for friends (peer relationships)
14) Status, the need for social standing/importance
15) Tranquility, the need to be safe
16) Vengeance, the need to strike back/to win

In this model, people differ in these basic desires. These basic desires represent intrinsic desires that directly motivate a person’s behavior, and not aimed at indirectly satisfying other desires. People may also be motivated by non-basic desires, but in this case this does not relate to deep motivation, or only as a means to achieve other basic desires.


As you can see, I BOLDED the ones that I feel that to reaching health & fitness goals. It may be different for each person, but I assume these are the main ones.

One positive thing about getting motivation back that you have lost, is that the motivation was there at one point!!!  You were driven to reach your goals and you had that satisfaction of partaking in that journey!

What people need to understand (I believe) is that we’re not always going to be motivated by the same factors.  For example, with myself, when I was training for a fitness competition, it brought out my competitive nature.  I think the desire that motivated me the most was: Vengeance, the need to strike back/to win.

Now that I am not competing, I need to look for other sources of motivation.  I don’t seem to be as self-motivated as before, so Social contact, the need for friends (peer relationships) seems to be a bigger motivator for me right now, that’s what as of more recently, I’ve gone back to attending classes (bootcamp, spinning etc).

Clearly, motivation is a VERY difficult thing to fully understand and scientists only understand such a small portion of it.

As much as some people don’t like hearing about it, motivation really comes down to Goal Setting….
goal setting.jpgHere is an exerpt from Wikipedia on the Goal Setting Theory:

Goal-setting theory is based on the notion that individuals sometimes have a drive to reach a clearly defined end state. Often, this end state is a reward in itself. A goal’s efficiency is affected by three features: proximity, difficulty and specificity. An ideal goal should present a situation where the time between the initiation of behavior and the end state is close. This explains why some children are more motivated to learn how to ride a bike than to master algebra. A goal should be moderate, not too hard or too easy to complete. In both cases, most people are not optimally motivated, as many want a challenge (which assumes some kind of insecurity of success). At the same time people want to feel that there is a substantial probability that they will succeed.

Obviously everyone wants the pay-off at the end.  Typically with losing weight that may be fitting into a certain outfit, feeling healthier, lowering your blood pressure, being able to elimate certain medications.

Finding inspiration is a HUGE factor in motivation too!  If someone inspires you, talk to them!  Learn more about them.  Even if they’ve been successful in other areas of their life, those same lessons could help you.  Sometimes if you get motivated in one area in your life, it can help in other areas!

I feel its my journey to help people find their motivation.  Everyone is so different in what motivates them.  Its really about knowing yourself and what works and what doesn’t.  Figure out what your desires are (from the 16 above) and adjust your goals around them.

When it comes to food, many people have a hard time getting back onto the healthy eating regime if they’ve been off it for a while.  For me, I feel really crappy when I eat bad, so I’m motivated to eat healthy because I know how good I feel when I do!  I also know that if I’ve had a couple days of eating badly, the first day back at healthy eating isn’t the most enjoyable.  Do you know that sugar actually CHANGES your tastebuds?  Perfect example: eat a piece of chocolate, then eat a piece of fruit right after.  The fruit will taste sour!

But if you’ve been eating healthy for a while and elimiate the processed foods, that fruit will taste as sweet as the chocolate!  Junk food ruins your palate for healthy food!  That’s why I typically recommend ditching a lot of the processed stuff.  So keep telling yourself this when you’ve gotten off the wagon and want back on.  After a few days, you’ll be feeling good, the healthy food will taste good and it will get you motivated to keep going with it!

Another thing that gets me excited about eating healthy is trying out new healthy recipes!!!!  That is why I’m so passionate about it!  People that stick to the same boring food are more likely to binge HARD.  Don’t want that!  Healthy food can taste good too!

Hope this will help you in some way to get your motivation back!!!! Feel free to leave a comment below!  I’ll always respond!


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I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
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