It’s easy to get started, exciting actually. It’s Sunday afternoon and you sit down with a cup of coffee and your last cookie, and begin to plan out the next week. Healthy meals. Gym sessions. You have everything all set up and ready to start your new journey on Monday. The week goes really well, but then it begins to fall. You’re sick of the eating the same meals and your schedule is way too crammed to keep up with these workouts. You lose all motivation and eventually fall back into old habits.
This is a very common scenario for someone starting down their healthy journey. The slip ups become more frequent and eventually discouragement and hopeless take over the once so lively enthusiasm. It seems to be that other people live up to their goals but you are just not made to do it.
Maintaining motivation it the hardest part of any fitness journey. But, it is not impossible! Many times, people are just going about it in the wrong ways. Here are some pointers what will help you to stay on track all the way to your goals and beyond.
1. Don’t Rush
The biggest reason for a lack of motivation is that people try to do too many things at once. Think about the years of unhealthy habits you have down your belt. You can’t try and change them all in one day and expect to keep it up. Take small steps. Don’t go from laying on the couch everyday to 6 days a week of intense exercise. Start with 2-3 days per week, even for only 10 or 20 minutes. After about a month, once you feel it’s become a habit and your body is more accustomed, start adding in a bit more and overtime you will be a pro!
2. Plan Ahead
Don’t go into the week blindsided. Go over your schedule for the week and plan your meals and workouts around your schedule. Take one or two days to do some food prep for the week. Schedule your workouts on days where you have more free time and schedule your rests on busy days. If you have any plans to go out to dinner, check on the menu ahead of time and plan out your meal. Having things written out will make the week a lot easier.
3. Make the Time
This goes along with planning ahead. While you don’t want to overwhelm yourself, you also don’t want work and other responsibilities to take over your YOU time. If you really want to be healthy, make the time. 10 minutes of fast-paced exercise is better than nothing.
4. Have a Plan B
There will be many times when uncontrollable situations might ruin your plans. Always have a backup plan. Design a few quick at-home exercise routines in case you can’t make it to the gym. Keep smart food items in the house that will be there in case you have no time to cook. Examples of back-up foods I always keep in my house are canned beans, non-fat Greek yogurt, eggs, cans of tuna, and frozen vegetables. Just because you have to throw something together quick doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy.
5. Modify When Needed
Never be ashamed to modify. If you don’t have the time, modify your workout. If you’re trying a new workout class that is a little too intense, ask the instructor to show you some modifications. It’s great to push yourself, but when you go too far beyond your limits you may discourage yourself and drop out. Stop right at the edge of your comfort zone and work there.
6. Make a List
Write a list of your reasons for beginning a health journey. Don’t be afraid to make it personal, after all, it’s only for you. Whenever you need a little pick-me-up, dig out your list and remind yourself of why you started in the first place. This can be a powerful tool to bringing motivation levels back up.
Most importantly…have fun. There will be times when you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. There will be times when you will have to force yourself to work out when you are dreading it. But always remember to keep it balanced. Push yourself, but not over your limits. Recognize the times when you have to listen to your body and just take a rest. The most important means of staying on track is enjoying the journey.
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