Some days, the road to becoming healthier or more fit is fraught with bumps, obstacles, and confusing junctions. It might feel easier to just throw in the towel because dealing with these hazards can be such a hassle, but before you give up, try to imagine your alternate reality to renew your motivation.
Image by davis.steve32.
Let’s say you’re disappointed the scale doesn’t reflect your many weeks of hard work after eating better and working out. You zero in on the scale weight rather than notice the benefits, like improved mood and energy, as a result of healthier habits. This behaviour is pretty common, but it can lead to people believing that nothing is working (a.k.a. filtering, a type of cognitive distortion) and giving up. There’s a better way to cope with these moments.
Try thinking of your alternate reality, in which you do actually give up and stop doing all the things that pertain to your goal. What do you think you’ll be doing instead and how will you feel in this alternate reality? Really think about it.
When I do this thought exercise, I often find that my alternate reality simply involves my previous self, wishing that I was making the changes and doing the very things I’m doing now, which is putting in the daily work to achieve the goal I initially set. With this realisation, I simply know that I don’t want to return to this former self that only pines for change but hasn’t yet taken action. That usually rekindles my motivation to keep going.
Try it out. Inevitably, there will be moments in the long pursuit of health (and in life) that will tempt you to give up, but thinking about the alternate reality can give you the distance you need from your emotions and help you power on through.