Finding motivation to get you into the mindset of leading a healthier, more positive lifestyle is one thing, but actually sticking to this and maintaining a happy balance is another. You can start off with the best intentions as you turn over a new leaf but after a while, it can be easy to forget about moving your body or eating with an intuitive, well rounded approach. Studies have shown it usually takes around 12-15 days to lose motivation! That’s a minuscule amount of time compared to a whole year!
I’m all for listening to your body and not putting too much pressure on yourself, but sometimes, you just need a gentle nudge to encourage yourself to make the right choice. Sometimes you might not feel like waking up and getting a workout done (I think this is me every morning when my alarm first goes off to be honest), yet you know that when you go through with it, you’ll feel awesome! You might not feel like preparing your meals in advance, yet you know that when you do this, it saves time, money and helps you to make good choices that in turn, help you to feel great!
It’s really easy to lack motivation when the initial excitement of making changes has passed however, I have some tips to help you stay on track so you can continue a balanced, healthy lifestyle throughout the year and for life.
1. Stay fuelled
I reckon one of the main reasons it’s easy to go off track and lose motivation is because the boundaries that we’ve set are far too restricting. A lot of the time people set out to increase their level of exercise, whilst simultaneously decreasing their food intake, in order to get the results they’re after. The reality is that although this might work initially, it’s extremely difficult to stick to long term. You are far more likely to succeed if you make little changes – like trying to eat more nutrient dense foods for example, than cutting back.
Food is fuel and should be enjoyed so, choose things you love and dive into the good stuff as much as possible. That way you’ll be killing your workouts, nourishing your body, feeling amazing and sustaining this throughout the year.
2. Take a break
I’ve touched on this before in my post ‘How to create a training plan that you’ll stick to’ but if your motivation is starting to dwindle, consider how your body is feeling and how much you’ve been pushing yourself lately. One of the best ways to re-motivate yourself if you’re feeling like giving is up is to actually allow yourself some time to rest and completely relax. You can then reflect on where you’re at and re-kindle old motivations to help you moving forward. As always, be kind to yourself and listen to your body.
3. Recognise your progress and achievements
Remember it’s important to acknowledge how far you’ve come. If you wanted to start incorporating more veg into your diet and 3 months down the line your diet looks a lot more varied than it did previously, make sure to mentally acknowledge this positive change. Making lifestyle changes is a challenge and one way to keep yourself motivated is to recognise the positives. Don’t get bogged down with anything you feel you didn’t quite achieve; just move on with your new goals in mind.
4. Get involved in group/paired workouts
I used to predominantly work out alone and didn’t always fully enjoy myself. I was bored, isolated and tied to a training regime that was self-punishing and made me constantly want to give up on everything. In the last 2 years however, I’ve started working out with work colleagues and friends which has made exercise so much more enjoyable and inspiring. When you start to enjoy your workouts, you’re far more likely to want to continue moving your body. If you’ve booked yourself into a class or committed to doing something with a friend, then this can also be motivating. Don’t be shy and don’t be held back by the fear of judgement. Remember, everyone had to start from somewhere!
5. Make an action plan
Having a flexible plan will always help to motivate you and keep you on track. I would suggest keeping some form of diary so you can tick off your workouts as you move through the week and look back on what you have achieved. Remember to always take an intuitive approach and take a step back when your body needs it. My post on rest days is worth a read, if you want to understand why they are so important for you and your body. Creating a plan can also extend to your nutrition if you choose to prepare your meals in advance. Bear these three things in mind when setting yourself goals:
- Make sure the target is realistic
- Set out how you intend to achieve the goal
- Acknowledge that you’ll face challenges along the way, so you may have to adjust your goals as you go
- Effort creates excellence so be prepared to put in the work!
6. Focus on the big picture
My final point is in my opinion, the most important point of all. The key to really motivating yourself to lead a healthy lifestyle for life, is to focus on the impact it will have not just on your body but on your mind too. There’s so much evidence out there to show that staying active and eating a well-rounded diet can help improve your overall wellbeing. Incorporating both elements into your life, can help to improve many things, including your sleeping pattern, stress and energy levels, heart and brain function and mental health too. Keep in mind how good you feel when you’re nourishing and moving your body with a relaxed and intuitive approach. Remind yourself of this big picture when you’re feeling like throwing in the towel.
Making changes to your lifestyle isn’t easy, and if you’re finding it too hard, chances are you’re being too tough on yourself. Learn to love the body you have and work on small positive adjustments. Happiness cannot be found in the ‘perfect’ body but what you can do is incorporate healthier habits which make you feel much better 😊
Hopefully my tips will help to inspire you to keep on a positive path towards a happier, healthier life.