Here we are, one more year and a new list of resolutions and goals to accomplish in 2011 - lose weight, go to the gym, make more money, save more, enjoy my job, work on relationships, fall in love...
The truth is that by the end of the month most of us will have already given up and we'll be back to our old ways, feeling disappointed with ourselves. Why is it so hard to stay motivated and make permanent changes in our lives; and why do we struggle with the same issues year after year?
Throughout the years coaching clients make permanent lifestyle changes, including finding health, losing weight and ultimately being happy and living life to the fullest, I have found that there is a secret to achieving everything we want in our lives. Have a love affair!
Really! It's highly motivational.
When we are in love, dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, is activated in the brain. Dopamine is part of the brain's reward system, providing feelings of pleasure. It is released by rewarding experiences such as being in love, and also by food, money, sex, shopping, playing sports, and the stimuli associated with them. Dopamine reinforces motivation for a person to proactively perform certain activities.
If there is anything you want to achieve in your life, you must first have a love affair. Fall in love and the rest will easily follow.
Having a love affair takes commitment and that can carry over to other things in your life. People who love money are committed to making money. They will tell you they LOVE money. People who are committed to being healthy, love eating well. People who love sports, are committed to exercising every day. All of these activities release dopamine in the brain. As the neurotransmitter is secreted, pleasure is felt and the brain craves more dopamine, so it finds the motivation to do more of the same activity that knows releases it. It's a vicious cycle. Chocolate, shopping, wine, being in love, sex, all release dopamine in the brain. Ever wonder why these are such addictive substances?
Pleasure + Reward = Motivation
If it is weight loss and health you have on your list of resolutions for 2011, you must first fall in love with the idea of being healthy and losing weight. Picture yourself healthy and 20 lbs lighter, fit and strong. Ask yourself: What would I look like? What clothes would I wear? Would I go out more? Would I have radiant skin and hair? Would I have higher self esteem? How would I feel? How would my life be different? What are all the delicious and healthy foods that I can eat to be healthy? What sport do I want to play to keep me active? Should I play tennis or take up jogging? Perhaps I will do both. This is a very different approach than the usual negative approach people take of endless calorie counting, eating prefabricated tasteless foods and dragging themselves to the gym with negativity.
Motivation becomes easier when your brain knows it will be rewarded with pleasure, and having a love affair with that which you want to achieve is the secret to more dopamine in your brain. So what are you committed to in life?
I propose that in 2011 we all have a love affair with food, our jobs, our significant others, money, and most of all with ourselves and life itself.
Happy New Year! May 2011 bring you much health, true love, beautiful food, plenty of money to share and many dreams come true.
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