Staying Motivated For Improved Health
A healthy lifestyle, one that is comprised of a well-balanced diet and improves your physical and mental state is something that we all know is important, but many of us fail at maintaining every year. Nearly two-thirds of Americans make goals each year to improve their overall well-being by exercising and eating right, but according to research performed by Harris Interactive on behalf of Bodybuilding.com, approximately 73% of those individuals give up and revert to their unhealthy ways within just a few months. In many cases, this is due to a lack of knowledge, resources, or simply the motivation to maintain changes outside of their comfort zone.
Stuck in the Same Old Routine
A big life event is coming up: perhaps an anniversary milestone, class reunion, wedding, or simply the beginning of the new year, and you think this will be the perfect time to finally commit to losing those extra pounds. You take to doing a Google search for the best diets and meal plans and stalking your favorite fitness influencers on social media to get yourself motivated. Maybe you go that extra step and hire a personal trainer at the gym. A few weeks in and you’re feeling great, then suddenly, it all stops. You miss a session, which inevitably turns into two, then your cheat meals turn into everyday meals, and as soon as you know it, you’re back to where you don’t want to be—tired, a little heavier, and completely unmotivated.
So, what happened? Innately, we are creatures of habit. Change is hard for us all, and when it comes with the discomfort of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from an intense workout, or simply craving those nachos that you were so accustomed to having at your weekly happy hour, you simply give in. You get stuck in the same old routine and any motivation you once had has gone down the drain.
Getting Comfortable Feeling Uncomfortable
We live in a world of the “quick fix”. If we can’t have it now, why bother? And companies and entrepreneurs have made millions because of it. Diets such as the Master Cleanse, Cabbage Soup, Atkins, and the Elimination Diet are all considered fad diets. These trendy diets have helped a small population of individuals lose weight quickly, but very few have maintained the weight loss. Fad diets are not sustainable, nor should they be. Restricting nutrients that your body desperately needs will cause you to get sick, become lethargic, and will increase the stress placed on your body. During times of stress, emotional or otherwise, your body’s natural reaction is to hold on to fat stores, negating all attempts at maintaining a healthy weight.
Simply mentioning the word “exercise” can be intimidating. The most common excuses we hear from people is that they don’t have the time to exercise, they don’t have the money to join a gym or hire a trainer, and that it hurts when they do “this”. Of course, there is a rebuttal for every excuse, and then there will be a rebuttal to that.
If something is important enough, you will find a way, if it is not, you will make an excuse. Certainly, you will be led out of your comfort zone and in order to stick with it, you must push past the feelings of discomfort. We must also be clear that pain and discomfort are two different feelings. If something is painful, it is important to stop immediately. Always consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.
Small, gradual changes are key for improving your overall well-being. Gradually changing your old habits allows you to progress at a steady rate that is manageable and not overwhelming. Choose one small thing, like taking a 15-minute walk during your lunch break and make it your goal for the entire week. Set the appointment on your calendar and you can even map out your route ahead of time, so you have a solid plan. Do everything in your power to reach your goal. If you are successful, pick another small goal to tack on.
Imagine yourself doing all the healthy things that you enjoy. If you hate kale, don’t eat it. If running isn’t your thing, don’t force it. It is important to remember that you are unique, and your health journey will look differently than someone else’s.
Being motivated and making healthy behavior changes takes work. You may get discouraged but you must simply remember why you started and try again. Take a look below at ways to get and stay motivated to improve your health and well-being.
15 Ways to Improve Motivation And Stay on Track to Reach Your Goals
1. Start small
Small, gradual changes are key for reaching your goals. Don’t try to go all-in right away. If you want to start exercising, commit to one or two days per week.
2. Understand your “Why”
Everyone has a reason for wanting to become healthier. Decide what it is for you, write it down, and make it known.
3. Prioritize your time
We are all busy, but it is important to make time for yourself. If you can’t find a full hour in your day, try breaking it up. One 30-minute exercise can do the trick, or even two 15-minute routines have been shown to improve health and stamina.
4. Make an appointment
Put yourself on your calendar. We rarely reschedule doctor’s appointments, so think of yourself as important enough to keep an appointment with yourself
5. Find a buddy
There is power in numbers. Working out or maintaining a healthier diet is much more enjoyable when you have someone to share it with.
6. Find what interests you
Just because your friend is a CrossFit-king, doesn’t mean it is for you. Find what you like. Perhaps that requires trying a few classes, but once you find what you enjoy, it may not seem that far-fetched to keep going.
7. Invest in a trainer/coach
Sometimes the only way we will keep going with a new routine is for someone else to keep pushing us. A personal trainer or nutrition coach will help keep you on track.
8. Make your goals visible
It may not be enough to simply write your goals down. You should make them visible. Put a sticky-note on your bathroom mirror, the pantry door, or on your computer background. Seeing this every day will motivate you to find the time and energy to reach your goals.
9. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals
You want to set goals that are tough, yet attainable. S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It may not be enough to simply say, “I am going to eat healthier.” Build upon that statement and be as specific as possible.
10. Know the facts
Going gluten-free because your friend lost 15 pounds isn’t the answer. Do some research and figure out what makes the most sense for you. In this regard, you will be more likely to stick with your new plan. Plus, who wants to eliminate bread if they don’t have to!
11. Don’t fall for fads
Fad diets are extreme and usually unhealthy in the long-term. Also, the restriction of any food is reason enough to lose motivation. Moderation is key for consistent, lasting results.
12. Understand your triggers
We all have things that trigger us into falling back into our old, unhealthy routines. Identify yours and notice when you start slipping. Remember that it is ok to fall, but you must get back on the horse!
13. Think positively
Being positive is a powerful thing. Keep a positive mindset throughout your entire journey, especially when you’re feeling discouraged. Look back at your written goals, or even go for a walk to clear your head.
14. Reward yourself
Setting small milestones for victory are great motivators. Perhaps you allow yourself to go shopping after making it to the gym for a full month, or you indulge in dessert at your favorite restaurant after two weeks of healthy eating. Whatever it is, make it positive and know that you’re doing something that makes you happy.
15. Don’t get discouraged
It is easy to think that just because you missed a workout, or maybe ate a box of donuts, that all is lost. Accept that you can and will make mistakes, but don’t quit. You have come so far! Get back in that positive mindset, remember your goals, and just keep going.
– New Study Finds 73% Of People Who Set Fitness Goals As New Year’s Resolutions Give Them Up
– Fad Diets
Staying Motivated For Improved Health
A healthy lifestyle, one that is comprised of a well-balanced diet and improves your physical and mental state is something that we all know is important, but many of us fail at maintaining every year. Nearly two-thirds of Americans make goals each year to improve their overall well-being by exercising and eating right, but according to research performed by Harris Interactive on behalf of Bodybuilding.com, approximately 73% of those individuals give up and revert to their unhealthy ways within just a few months. In many cases, this is due to a lack of knowledge,