GETTING MOTIVATION FOR EXERCISE AND EATING HEALTHILY
Most times, motivation is hard to come by even when you are doing the right thing and know full well the benefits involved. Motivation is especially hard to come by when you are keeping at something whose result will not be visible for a long period of time. At the very beginning, you are filled with all zeal and joy at the prospect of what you will achieve (or hope to achieve) and you feel like you are unstoppable. However, after a while, the zeal fades and you become less consistent and eventually, fall out of it altogether.
Keeping a healthy diet and exercising falls within the category of what we start out zealously and eventually lose motivation for. If care is not taken, everything becomes too burdensome and almost nauseating after a while and you are more likely to throw in the towel completely.
So how do you stay motivated to achieve your goals of having a healthy life through a healthy diet and regular exercise? How do you keep your zeal and joy going?
Here are some tips to staying focused:
Be sure about your goal and purpose: What is the outcome you are aiming for and why do you want to achieve it? Is the outcome worth the stress or the stretch? How much weight do you want to lose? How long do you intend to keep that diet? How much exercise do you intend to engage in and how frequently? You need to be very clear about the reason, the process and the expected outcome of your healthy diet and/or exercise. And it’s always best to put all these in writing. In doing this, you can always compare what you have actually achieved with what you hoped to achieve. This is a sure way to stay motivated.
Be positive: Another requirement for sustained motivation is to be positive about your diet and exercise routine from the onset. There is no point setting out to do something you already see as impossible. If you want, you can spend time visualizing what you want to achieve. Write it down in places you can see. Simple statements like “I eat healthily”, “I exercise daily” will help keep you focused and positive.
Raise the bar a little at a time: Don’t set a goal that is impossible to achieve, because you will be quick to give up when you don’t get anywhere despite your efforts. So set achievable goals, and once you have achieved those goals, raise the bar just a little higher and set even higher goals. For example, don’t just say you want to lose 50 pounds in 6 months. This may seem too huge a deal for you to wrap your head around. Why not aim to lose 10 pounds per month? 10 pounds sounds littler and easier, and you will be more likely motivated to continue on in the second month once you meet the first month’s goal.
Eat what you like: Following a healthy diet need not be like you are being forced to take bitter medicine. It is very easy to lose motivation to eat more healthily if you crowd your plate with foods that you detest and are only eating to be healthy. Spice up your diet plan by combining healthy, colorful vegetables in a way that will make even a meat eater drool. There are many websites with recipes that can make that possible. Furthermore, do not enforce a strict diet on yourself that totally prohibits all that you like. Eat those foods in moderation, and work towards eating less and less of them, but just don’t stop eating them cold turkey.
Exercise the way you like: Your exercise routine also needs to include things you like to do. It could be taking long walks, learning karate, taking yoga classes or simply enlisting in a gym with a routine you would enjoy doing. The logic is simple; if you like it, you will keep doing it.
Give yourself a reward: One way of motivating yourself to exercise more and eat healthier is by breaking down your routine into weekly or monthly goals, and rewarding yourself for achieving each new goal. Don’t make the reward something to eat. Rather, it could be a promise to buy yourself new jogging shoes, give yourself a spa treatment, go see a movie or any other thing that will register in your mind as a motivator to go for it the next week. On the other hand, you can also inflict a mild punishment on yourself if you miss your workout routine or your salad plate. For example, you can spend the money saved up for the reward on another expense instead e.g give it to a foster home.
Double up: The best way to go far in any endeavor is not to go it alone. You can find a fellow fitness partner who is also following a diet and workout routine even if it is not the same as yours. You could both monitor each other and also engage in competitions among yourselves. This not only keeps you motivated but also interduces an element of fun and play into your routine.
Be accountable: Keeping fit and eating healthier gets easier when you make yourself accountable to people who can give you the support required to spur you on to reach your goal and even exceed it. Let your family and friends know about your diet and exercise plan. They will provide adequate support and monitor your progress. You can also find fellow go-getters like you who will be more than willing to help you as you will be willing to help them. You will help motivate more than just you this way.
Keep a fitness/food journal: One more way to keep motivated is to keep track of your daily or weekly progress. There are devices which can enable you to do that. However, one original way to do that is to write about your daily achievement. Have your own fitness journal. Write about what you achieved and all about how you felt at every entry. This is something you can always go back to and keep reminding yourself to keep going for it.