“Procrastination is the Thief of Time” author unknown
When starting anything new, motivation is the driving force behind us. Think about when you were turning 16, and you could get that elusive driver’s license that you had been waiting FOREVER for. You wanted it so badly, to have the freedom, the rite of passage, the accomplishment. It drove you, you wanted to practise driving, parking etc. Every chance you could get. You studied the handbook, you dreamt of that first car, picking up your friends and going out. It was so exciting. We were motivated by that excitement, the “prestige” of having that piece of paper that opened up a whole new world for us, and independence.
When we start a Lifestyle change, such as the 120 Day Lifestyle Exchange. We need to have motivation. Your motivation may be the last test results you got from the doctor that weren’t so good, or your wardrobe just doesn’t fit anymore, or maybe you had to take the stairs today and you realized how out of shape you really are? Maybe your motivation is coming from fear? Possibly you just plain and simply don’t want to be unhealthy anymore. Here are some tips for helping you stay motivated while getting healthier.
1. What is your “WHY”. There is a reason you want to get healthy. What is it? What do you want? A smaller clothing size? Lower blood pressure? Lower blood sugar levels? More strength? Muscle tone? To run a marathon? To feel good? Get off of certain medications?Whatever your “WHY” is, it’s yours! Own it, embrace it! Write it down where you can and will see it each and every day.
2. Chart your progress as you go. If you want to lose weight start your chart at the weight you are now. Take measurements too, these are very important because some weeks you might not lose anything on the scale, but you will on the tape measure! If you aren’t doing the 120 Day Exchange to lose weight, but maybe you want to run a marathon, use that. How many blocks, minutes etc. can you run today. That is your starting measurement. Keep a journal, record your thought, feelings, success, what you could have done better, your food if you want.
3. Break your goal(s) into smaller mini goals than are easily attainable. The Big goal might be to run 26 miles, that is your end goal. Your mini goals could be: a) run 1 block b) run 5 blocks c) run 12 blocks d) run 3 miles e) run 7 miles etc. etc. You get the picture. If your goals are weight loss related, your end goal might be to lose 50 lbs. That can be broken down to week 1: only eat 2 slices of bread this week and every week after week 2: no sodas, only water for the week 3: make a meal plan, week 4: walk around the block 3x. and add to your weeks as you go. As you reach those smaller goals, you are one step closer to your end goal, and you have success along the way!
4. Celebrate those successes that you’ve worked for! Make them appropriate rewards. If you’ve just succeeded in running 5 blocks it likely doesn’t justify a cruise to the Bahamas, but maybe a nice pair of comfy running socks. (I like the idea of the Cruise though, that just may make me a runner!) If your goal is to lose weight, don’t reward a weight loss with a dessert binge, that’s just self-defeating.
5. Find inspiration. It is everywhere! Blogs (like ours), online success stories, friends, books, quotes. I find music very inspiring. Something upbeat that I can sing with motivates me to move move move! And most of all, it makes me smile and lifts my mood. Books and audiobooks are a great source of inspiration too. Most local libraries are free, just sign up and get a card. Audiobooks are also available through libraries now and again, are free. I listen to books while driving, or when I’m quilting. I love them.
6. Find or create a support network. Spouses, friends, family, co-workers, your pastor, Facebook Groups, a workout/walking/running buddy, take a class and find someone with likeminded goals. We are competitive by nature, find someone to compete with. Who can log more miles, who can lose 2% of their weigh first. Be accountable to your support network and yourself, tell them (someone) your goal, post your goal on sticky notes on your mirrors in your house, on your dashboard of your car, on the wallpaper on your phone!
7. Set yourself up some rules and be accountable to them. E.g.: I’m not allowed to miss 2 days in a row. If you work out Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and something happens that you miss Wednesday (it happens) you cannot miss Friday. Remember your WHY, remember what you want out of this! “I already know what happens when I give up, I want to know what happens if I don’t”
8. Give yourself time, don’t rush. I know, easier said than done, especially if it’s weight loss. We all want quick results and if it’s not happening as fast as we think it should be, we give up. Think of the long term, end goal! We don’t gain 50 or 100 lbs overnight! For most of us it’s very easy to gain weight, and it can happen quite quickly, it’s not usually the normal when losing weight. Slow and steady is much better for you, and you are more likely to keep the weight off if you do it slower. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you might see 5+ lbs disappear the first week, maybe even the second, but then the third week rolls around and you lose nothing, or maybe you gain ½ lb. Don’t get discouraged! It happens, you are still succeeding. I also struggle with this, I want instant gratification, I’ve ate salad all week and I deserve a -2 lbs on that scale, and when it didn’t move, I get discouraged, and think “I should have just had that ice cream! But Mark puts on his sensibility support hat and tells me I’m still succeeding. And he’s right! (notice that support from #6, even if it is annoying at the time)
9. Take a class! It doesn’t have to be an exercise class, maybe it’s a photography class, or a knitting class, join a book club (be careful of the snacks and wine there) If you can’t afford a class, go find your local library or community events page for your city. There are always lots of things to do. Get out, meet new people, find a new interest that makes you happy! I recently went and took a couple classes, a few months apart from each other, neither class had anything to do with nutrition or losing weight or exercising in any way. I made 2 wonderful new friends. One I meet up with to walk our dogs a few times a week, or we go on excursions (we both have a photography passion) and we walk and hike to get that perfect shot!
10. Just get started. Start somewhere, and keep moving towards your goals, every step you take, no matter how small, is moving you towards your goals. Your WHY. Your reason. If you think it’s going to be rough at times, you’re right! Change causes crisis, but crisis causes change! We are human, we have good days, and we have bad. We stumble, but we think of our WHY and we get back up, dust ourselves off and start moving forward again. Stay positive, think positive. Tomorrow is always another beautiful day. Most of all, be kind to yourself, you deserve it!!
If you’ve made it to the this point of my writing, I Thank You! I started this post with the intent of it being much shorter. I’ve put a lot of myself out there with this one. My motivation honestly comes from helping others, making people smile and seeing the good in themselves. I hope you feel your WHY. I hope you are smiling, I know I am.
Tell us how you motivate yourself? What did you take away from this post? Tell us your WHY? We would love to hear from you! Send us an email, comment on this page or on our Facebook page.
Mark & Shelly
(P.S.- Mark tells me I’m NOT getting a cruise to the Bahamas if I run 5 blocks! LOL)
As of August 1st we have started a new FaceBook group for likeminded people to join. If you need motivation or would just like to support others on their Healthier Living Journey then please join our group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/971130139764831/
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