I’ve struggled to stay motivated on my weight loss & fitness goals this summer. I haven’t totally ignored them, but I’m certainly not in the zone like I have been in the past. I’ve been distracted while focusing on building my marketing business. A sweet little encounter with my son that made me think about the struggle to stay motivated in a new way.
How Staying Motivated is Like Navigating a Hot Air Balloon:
In the middle of eating dinner, my son jumped out of his seat, and ran to the sliding glass door. Sliding it open he shouted with excitement, “There’s a hot air balloon!” The Remax balloon was taking off from the field behind our house. It was close enough we could hear the deep growl of the burners blowing hot air into the balloon. We stood on the back porch for a few minutes, watching it drift Eastward across the sky. Then I started to wonder, “What do they do if they don’t want to go East?”
I’ve always believed that a hot air balloon was at the mercy of the wind. Whatever direction the wind is blowing was the direction the balloon will travel.
Motivation is the same way. We feel motivated when the wind is blowing us in the right direction. When everything is going our way, we feel focused and energized towards our goals. We are positive, confident and feel accomplished.
We struggle to stay motivated when the wind shifts and sends us on a different path. When that happens we feel exhausted and drained by our goals. Our attitudes may also dip, allowing self-sabotage, doubt and insecurity to creep in.
As I was laying in bed that night, I got to thinking that there had to be more to piloting a hot air balloon. Sailboats can sail upwind by tacking to zig zag their way to their goal. Maybe hot air balloons have more control than I thought?
I did a little bit of research. It turns out that a hot air balloon is at the mercy of the wind, but the pilot can choose a different wind. A hot air balloon pilot steers the balloon by climbing or descending to a different altitude where the winds are blowing in the direction they want to travel.
We also have the ability to choose a different wind to stay motivated.
6 Steps to Stay Motivated Towards Your Goals When Life is Stressful:
Step 1: Know where you want to end up by having clearly defined written goals. You won’t know if you’re drifting off course if you don’t know where you’re going. If you don’t have your goals written down, take a moment and do it now. Make sure they are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (but Risky!!), and Timed. You have to know your goal specifically so you’ll know when you reach it.
Step 2: Watch for changes in the wind that steal your motivation. That way you can correct your path before you’re carried away. A pilot cannot change the wind. He or she makes many small corrections throughout a flight to stay on course. Major life stresses, such as job loss, sickness, or death of a loved one may not be predictable, but other stresses are. (Examples: Moving, getting married, having a baby, building a business, holidays, vacations, money issues, and changes to your routine or family schedule.) You can predict most stressful situations before things get out of control.
Step 3: Make a plan to reframe or reduce stress to stay motivated.
- With a little bit of planning, you can avert most motivation draining situations. Prepare some healthy crock pot meals if you have a crazy week ahead. They will keep you moving forward with your weight loss and money goals. Plus they will make your evenings less chaotic.
- Reframing your stress is another way to minimize it. Stress can be healthy depending on how you look at it. Instead of viewing the situation negatively, flip your mindset to something positive. A job loss is a chance to pursue a new dream.
Step 4: Adjust your altitude to find a different wind direction. Do you need to heat things up or cool your jets? Hustling for a few quick wins can help you get your motivational mojo back! Or maybe you need to take a break and get some rest so you can come back energized to reach your goal? Decide which is right for you, but set some time deadlines for when you plan to get back to normal.
Step 5: Build your support team to stay motivated. Hot air balloon pilots choose a chase vehicle to help them land. Find someone who can help you reach your goals, too! A Stanford University study showed that people had a 78% increase in the amount they exercised when they received a check in phone call every two weeks, asking about their progress. Award yourself bonus points if you are a support system for your support system.
Step 6: Keep a spare bottle of Champagne in the cupboard! It is a Hot air balloon tradition to enjoy a Champagne toast when they land. We should do the same! Remember to celebrate your successes (big and small!) along your journey to your goal. This is especially important if your goal is a big one that will take months or even years to reach. Break your long-term goals down into a series of small goals. String them together and celebrate when you reach each one!
How do you stay motivated on your goals when life gets stressful? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! And please share this post with a friend who needs encouragement!