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A pat on the back from the the most important person in your life

I’ve been talking to some clients that have lost faith in themselves recently, for all sorts of reasons, so I thought I would revisit something from last year.

Do you ever find yourself seeking approval from others? Do you think that what other people think about you is more important than what you think of yourself?

If you have ever started exercising, going to the gym or running, take a moment to think about the real reason why you started. Did you suddenly have an epiphany? Did you think to yourself, “My goodness, if I exercise on a regular basis then I’ll grow strong muscles and bones, reduce my pain, improve my posture, create a sense of well-being within myself, have more energy, have a nice taut body that I’ll be proud of”?

Chances are that the impetus in starting to exercise was hearing something from someone else. A comment about you putting on some weight, or you asking someone if your bum looked big in these jeans, and not getting the answer you wanted, is usually enough to make people think about getting moving and starting something. Sometimes it is a desire to prove someone wrong that is enough to make us start.

But what happens along the way? That motivation initially is extrinsic, it comes from outside, something that someone else says, even a look from someone in the supermarket or a cafe. (You just KNOW that they are judging you for buying that cake…).

Extrinsic motivation will drive us for a little while, after all we have a point to prove don’t we? What happens though when it gets a bit hard, the mornings are cold, you are tired, you start to achieve some of your goals and think you don’t have to work hard any more, or you can’t achieve any of your goals and want to give up. Why does that happen?

What I aim for as a coach, as a trainer, is that point at which the individual’s motivation becomes intrinsic, it becomes so powerful that the thought of not achieving goals, of not putting all of the steps into place simply doesn’t enter into the equation. You simply believe that you will complete all of the tasks, achieve your goals, and you just go about the job of making that happen. I see that in my members’ and clients’ eyes, they start to walk a bit taller, they start to ignore the other distractions in the room, and you just know that they are visualising that success.

It’s like the room becomes electrically charged, you can sense it, and you just know that you’re about to witness something awesome.

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That doesn’t mean that your are being cocky, or arrogant. It just means that you have developed an unshakable faith in how following the process will see you through to your goal.

At what point does the motivation go from being extrinsic (external) to intrinsic (self belief)?

I believe it starts to happen when you stop looking for pats on the back from others, constantly seeking approval from others and worrying about their opinions, and you start giving yourself a pat on the back, start congratulating yourself for all of your achievements, no matter how minor.

Remember some of the messages so far:

Give yourself permission to be successful
Be mindful when you action a positive thought
Be mindful of limiting thoughts

It is now time to accept that you DO deserve success.

It is now time to believe that you WILL be successful.

It is now time to congratulate yourself for your achievements.

Find something you do today, that you do well, and give yourself credit for it, give yourself a pat on the back for putting the steps in to place to make it happen, for putting another stepping stone in place to achieve your Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

Sometimes, to find your MOJO, you just have to accept that you’re doing a good job, you’re overcoming obstacles and fears and objections and you are getting it done!

Written by

Matt Jolley has been coaching fitness and sports for over 25 years. He has led several treks to complete the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea as well as operating a multi day trek along the Great Ocean Walk several times a year and also runs a Bali Fitness Adventure and a Lombok Trek Adventure - encouraging everyone to take on a challenge and grow from it

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