How do you stay motivated? a podcast episode by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson

How do you stay motivated?

I am often asked how I stay motivated to stick with healthy eating, daily workouts, drinking water, avoiding sugar, not indulging in junk or drive-thrus…

I don’t. It’s not about motivation. I’m not “motivated” to do any of those things.

Motivation is a feeling. It comes and goes. That’s why it’s unreliable. Instead of relying on motivation, I rely on discipline. Discipline is taking action regardless of how you feel. Discipline is doing all of the things even when you don’t WANT to.

Feelings are temporary, not based on logic, and will not take you down a path of consistency. Feelings will lead you to start and stop quickly, to flit from plan to plan, and to make excuses way too available to you – all deterring you from success.

When I think about foods that I will be eating, I don’t even think about what “sounds good” or what I feel like eating. I eat what I know my body needs – what provides real nourishment, what will give me the raw materials that my body needs to make hormones, muscles, neurons, immune cells, new tissues, and for proper detoxification. If I were to go with what I feel like – I’d most likely never stop eating ice cream, chocolate, bread, and wine – and all of the things that definitely aren’t serving me. I’m not motivated to eat meats, vegetables, or to drink water. It’s that I actively choose these foods because my health matters.

That’s discipline.

When I think about working out, I don’t think about how motivated I feel. I don’t wait around for the motivation to get started. I know fitness, muscle building, flexibility, and balance training are important parts of mental, physical and emotional health, longevity, and detox. So I do it. It’s not about feeling motivated, it’s about doing what I need to do regardless of how I feel.

In the end, results come with discipline – not motivation. Motivation can help get you going, but it won’t necessarily get you to the finish line or help you maintain those amazing results.

So how do you become a disciplined person? It starts with small steps. When you can complete those, then add on something else. Before you know it, you’ll be taking action every single day – even when you don’t feel like it. 

Over time, those tiny actions really add up.

The second aspect I’d say is that we have to become more mindful with all of our decisions and actions. We must be aware of the consequences that our decisions have on our health and well-being. When we are more mindful of our actions – when we stop and think about choices before we take actions, it’s easier to stay disciplined and make better choices in the long term.

Before you take a bite, sit on the couch, hit snooze in the morning, refill your wine glass, or stop in the drive-thru – ask yourself – would this action take me closer to my ideal self or farther from it? The more often you can take actions intentionally (not mindlessly) toward that ideal self, the more likely you are to achieve your goals and KEEP those results long-term. Pretty soon, people will be asking you the ever-so-popular question ‘how do you stay motivated?’

So there you have it – the very significant difference between motivation and discipline. If you’re honest with yourself – which one have you been living by most often? No shame, no guilt. When we know better, we can do better! This is your sign and time to do better. I believe in you! You’re worth the work.


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