Have you ever started a diet or a fitness program and then quit or fell off track just a few days or weeks later? You are not alone! Most of us can find motivation to get started because we have a goal and want to see change, but then quickly stop when we get bored, don’t enjoy the program, too many changes are required, or results happen too slowly. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated on the days the couch seems more appealing than the gym!
1. SET GOALS!
Start with one or two simple goals that you know you’ll be able to hit with a little effort. Then progress to longer range goals. Consider starting with a 2-week goal, a 4-week goal, 6 weeks, a 90-day goal and then work toward 5-6 months and 9 months. A goal could be starting each day with a healthy breakfast or exercising 4 times a week. Set a reward for yourself once you hit these goals, especially at 90 days. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable (no one is losing 50 lbs. in a month or even two months folks). If goals are unrealistic or too ambitious, it’s easy to get frustrated and give up. These markers will help you focus on smaller achievable outcomes that align with your long-term goals and help you stay on track.
2. MAKE IT FUN!
Find sports or activities that you enjoy when it comes to fitness. Find foods and recipes that you enjoy that can make cooking or finding healthier options more appealing. Include your partner or friend to jazz things up. Then vary up the routine to keep it interesting. Try something new, and discover your hidden athletic talent or interests. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive. You are more likely to adhere to a program if you are having fun!
3. MAKE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE
Finding time for exercise may not always be easy, but don’t fall back on excuses and those old habits. Schedule your exercise as you would any other important activity. You can also sneak in physical activity throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a walk during your break at work, park at the far end of the parking lot when running errands. All of these activities increase your daily calorie burn and contribute to overall health.
4. PUT IT ON PAPER!
Write down your goals and post them somewhere noticeable (refrigerator, bathroom mirror, etc). This will help you remain focused on your “why” and remind you of the reason you started the program in the first place. Keep a food and/or exercise diary. Record what you did each day and how you felt. Recording your efforts and tracking your progress can help you work toward your goals and remind you that you’re making progress!
5. BE FLEXIBLE!
If you are too busy to exercise or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day off. Give yourself some grace. Lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight, but come with consistency and time. Listen to your body, burnout is very real and can zap motivation. Rest and recovery are just as important as the exercise. The important thing is to get back at it as soon as you can. Too much time off can make it tough to start again. Odds are you will feel stronger and re-energized after a rest day.
6. NO EXCUSES!
Most of us are busy, we work, have families, run errands, have other demands, etc., and may find it difficult to make changes to our current routines. But, here’s a few questions for you…are you seeing the results you want to see currently? Will you see changes without making changes? Is someone else going to do this for you? If you answered no, as you should have, then let’s get busy! Stop making excuses and sabotaging yourself and your health! Start by looking at your current routines and identify how you can begin making some simple changes that you can continue to do.