One of the biggest reasons that people struggle to get motivated to better their health is that there is no immediate gratification. Although healthy eating and exercise will allow you to feel great in your future, during that moment of anxiety or emotion, a chocolate doughnut is much more satisfying to most than an interval session on the elliptical.
So how do we get and keep ourselves motivated for long periods of time? Here are some things to try:
1. Make a list of reasons why good health is important to you
It could be living until your daughter’s wedding, running a marathon, feeling good in your bathing suit, or preventing a heart attack like your mother had. Whatever the reason may be, write it down and make the list visible to you as a constant reminder.
2. Hang up an article of clothing that currently fits you very well
Or maybe has gotten a bit snug in a visible place.Try to make it a piece of clothing that really makes you feel good when you wear it. Hang it up on the front of your closet or on a hanger visible in your room, so you are constantly motivated by the good feeling you get when wearing that article of clothing.
3. Remove all temptation
There WILL be frequent times where you are just dying for a piece of chocolate, or so hungry you want to down a bag of chips. If you only have healthy options in your home, you may not be able to control yourself, but at least you ingested too many almonds and carrots, rather than a box of Oreos.
4. Wear fitted clothing
We all feel a little bloated sometimes, and not physically our best. Most of us turn to baggy sweatpants and hoodies to feel comfortable. You are much more likely to reach for comfort foods and feel less guilty about ingesting them if your clothes are swimming on you. If you are wearing a fitted sweater and slacks, you’re more likely to choose the right food choice knowing how uncomfortable you will feel if you over do it.
5. Stay away from social media
Our media is consumed with quick fix diets, weight loss pills, and magic drinks to make you look and feel good. The majority of these are schemes and have the sole purpose of generating income, not improving your health. Keep a clear and conscious mindset that you’re hard work will pay off, and understand that ad you saw to get a six pack in 3 weeks, is bologna.
6. Stay away from the scale
The scale can be very deceiving when it comes to tracking progress. You could have had a lot of sodium the day before, been slightly dehydrated, or haven’t had a bowel movement yet that day. Weighing on the scale on a daily basis is detrimental to progress. For example, you stuck to your calories and had a killer Boot Camp class yesterday. You decide to weigh yourself, and you’ve gained 2 pounds. You find yourself feeling hopeless, and decide to stop at Dunkin Donuts for a Boston Crème. Little did you realize, your salmon the night before had a large amount of sodium on it, and you were just retaining some water. Now you have ruined your progress. I recommend everyone weigh in only ONCE per week, either a Friday or Saturday morning, so that you can remain focused throughout the week.
7. Take progress pictures
We look and judge ourselves physically on a daily basis. It’s difficult to visually see changes. Although taking a picture of yourself when you are feeling your worst isn’t exactly fun, taking a picture a month later after you’ve lost 6lbs and seeing the dramatic change is EXTREMELY motivating to continue your hard work.
8. Make sure you have a support system
Find a buddy to meet you at the gym so you feel obligated to go. Join My Fitness Pal food logging app with your friend and make them check your food on a daily bases. Have your husband or wife take the scale away and hide it in the house so you don’t obsess about the number. Find any way you can and anyone you can to hold you accountable for your health and wellness decisions so you don’t lose sight of your goals.
Good health and wellness is a lifelong battle. By no means will you NEVER eat a bacon cheeseburger again. So set aside a specific occasion, time, or meal to treat yourself to everything and anything you want. Not only will this cheat spike your metabolism, but you won’t feel deprived any longer and it will allow you to continue your progress.
10. Spend money on yourself!
It has become a common social occurrence to go out to dinner with friends on a Saturday night and spend $150 as a form of entertainment. So why is it difficult for most people to afford $150 for 10 classes at a Hot Pilates studio, especially if it’s a type of exercise they truly enjoy? Why do we spend hundreds of dollars on nice work attire, but can’t afford new running sneakers? Don’t go for the cheapest membership, the cheapest trainer, or settle for you holey gym clothes. Spend some money on yourself and make wellness more enjoyable.