3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Motivation Is Lost

Deciding to make a healthy lifestyle change is a great start – consistently taking action and prioritising the behaviours to achieve these changes is often where people fall short. We often see patients who have the greatest intentions for positive change but whose actions often don’t consistently align with their short and long-term goals.

If results begin to wain or plateau, or life throws an unexpected curve-ball your way, it can perhaps feel like achieving your health goal/s is simply too difficult. As motivation diminishes and the lure of your comfort zone returns, progress can be lost in a setback that turns from days to weeks, months to years.

It doesn’t have to be this way though.

If you feel yourself losing motivation as you navigate a lifestyle change or health-kick, know that this is very normal. Stepping out of your comfort zone, breaking old habits and trying new things is never easy. It’s important to sense this change early however, and combat it’s effects by asking yourself the following 3 questions…

Question #1 – What is your BIG WHY? 

Your BIG WHY is your primary motivator for change; it’s what compelled you to make your initial decision to choose a better path regarding your health and well-being.

Examples of BIG WHYs that we often hear at Restart include:

I want to overcome lower back pain so I can play with my kids on the floor.

I want to lose weight to allow me to feel comfortable and more confident in my clothes.

I want to reverse my T2 Diabetes to be medication-free and improve my prospect of living a long and healthful life.

I want to be fit and functional to allow me to travel with confidence in my retirement.

I want to improve my balance to prevent having a fall at home.

I want to improve my shoulder mobility so I can get back to playing tennis and swimming.

Writing your BIG WHY down on paper and sticking it somewhere prominent is a great step in reminding yourself why you are making (and adhering to) lifestyle changes. Reading this BIG WHY will help restore your motivation even on the days you least feel like exercising, spending time preparing a more healthy meal, or making the decision to go to bed early to ensure adequate rest and recovery.


Question #2 – What does life look like in 6 months time. 

Imagine that you didn’t turn up for yourself, took no action, and now everything is worse.

How do you think you will feel?

Visualising success and achieving your goals is something you have no doubt done before. Imagining your ideal job, car, house, relationship, or dream body can be very powerful, and help direct you towards an outcome that will enhance your life.

Visualisation is made all the more powerful when combined with attaching an emotional state to the image you hold of achieving your goal/s.

The same can be said of the feelings associated with not achieving your goals.

Let’s use an example using one of the BIG WHYs from above…

I want to overcome lower back pain so I can play with my kids on the floor.

Lower back pain can be particularly debilitating, stopping you from doing all manner of activities and pursuits you love and enjoy. In this example, I can imagine the disappointment of not being able to play and engage with your kids due to pain – consistently being on the sidelines and missing out on important chances to bond.

Now project yourself six months into the future – results have been minimal and pain continues. However, it’s not too difficult to understand why; not prioritising your mobility program as prescribed by your Exercise Physiologist; not engaging in regular physical activity; non-compliance with a healthy eating plan to help reduce body weight and waist circumference; and continued lack of focus on avoiding being sedentary for long periods of time. Nothing changes, unless nothing changes.

The back pain remains – you still find it near on impossible to get to the ground let alone sit on the ground for any length of time, and as your kids grow, your frustration and sense of missing out gets greater…

Question #3 – Now imagine that you took action and made it to where you want to be with your health.

How do you think you will feel? Describe this new world. 

Now I would ask this person to visualise how great it will feel to be down on the floor sitting, crouching, kneeling, twisting and turning, all without pain, and the joy of their child as they share this special time with them.

Do you think visualising this, describing this world and how good it will feel, and bringing it to life will help provide a motivation boost to do all the little things consistently well to achieve their primary goal of overcoming back pain?

You bet!

This is not to say that’s it going to be easy, or that results will flow purely because the end goal has been visualised. But if you keep consistent, embrace being out of your comfort zone, leverage the knowledge and support of your Exercise Physiologist and other allied health practitioners, positive change WILL occur.

Visualising and reminding oneself of these emotions when motivation wains can be the difference between a lack of results or a long-term setback, or a quick turnaround and prompt resumption of progress.



If embarking on a lifestyle change is proving difficult, or you don’t know where to start in deciphering your own BIG WHY, the team and I at Restart can help. We’ve guided thousands of patients to navigate this process and achieve success.

Creating a mindset for success is a vitally important step in achieving any health and well-being goal. As you step outside of your comfort zone, know that times will be tough, but there is no greater satisfaction than overcoming these hurdles, achieving your goals and experiencing a significant boost in your quality of life.




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