These days most of us are quite aware that a diet or exercise plan is doomed to failure unless it becomes a “lifestyle change.” And we have all learned the hard way that this kind of radical change can be difficult to achieve. Here are ten ideas to help keep you motivated and committed until your inspiration becomes habit and your habit becomes a full-fledged lifestyle change.
Remind yourself why you are choosing a healthier lifestyle. Was it to improve your health? Was it to feel better about yourself and your body? Whatever the reason, remember that only you can make it happen.
Keep in mind the 21-day rule. If you stick with something for 21 days, it will become a habit. Keep a journal for the 21 days or mark it off on a calendar. Before you know it, your healthy habits will be your lifestyle.
Do you like the workout you have chosen for yourself? You are more likely to stay motivated and on track if you enjoy the activity that you have chosen. If you don’t, try something else. Are you more comfortable working out alone, in the privacy of your own home? Or do you prefer the gym? Do you like to take long walks with a buddy? Or would you rather go backpacking with a group?
What’s in it for you?
Are you in a rut? Take a break from what you normally do. Try something else, perhaps a spinning class or vary your route when walking, cycling or running.
Figure out what it is you need to get from your workout, besides the obvious physical benefits. In other words, decide which workout environment you would be the most comfortable in. The same goes for a diet plan. Choose a food plan that you can actually live with. For example, a diet that teaches portion control and how to eat from all the food groups is more likely to become your long term healthy eating style than one that expounds eating only certain foods and eliminating others entirely.
Are you afraid? Afraid that you won’t stick with it, so why start anyway? Think back to the last time you stuck with something and saw it through. Remember how good it felt? Focus on how good you’ll feel when you complete that first workout. Focus on how good you’ll feel about yourself once healthy eating becomes a regular habit. In any case, don’t let fear of failure stop you from even starting.
So what if you skip a day or two? Don’t beat yourself up over it. The important thing is that you get back to it. Get rid of “all-or-nothing” thinking. It is a form of self-sabotage and the surest path to failure. Know that there will be days when you just won’t feel like exercising or you just can’t resist that ice cream. Know it, plan for it, and plan to move past it.
Okay to take a break
Are you in a rut? Take a break from what you normally do. Try something else, perhaps a spinning class or vary your route when walking, cycling or running. Bored with iceberg lettuce in your salad? Try spinach instead. Variety will help keep you excited and moving forward towards your goals.
Work out together
Find a diet or exercise buddy. Or enlist a friend to join you in your healthier lifestyle endeavor. This way you’ll have someone to share your frustrations and triumphs with on your road to better health.
Make yourself a winner
Are you goal-oriented? Reward yourself. Keep a log of your workouts. Simply mark it on your calendar and when you have X number of workouts per week or month on your calendar, treat yourself. It could be an inexpensive bubble bath, a book, a new outfit, or an exercise video. Whatever you choose, it should make you feel good about yourself. You earned it!
Rely on friends & family
Get support from friends and family to help you stay focused on your goal of a healthier lifestyle. Visualize a healthier you every day. Write down healthy lifestyle affirmations and say them out loud. You are in charge of your perception of yourself. Help yourself out by giving your mind as much positive reinforcement as possible. If you begin to see yourself as a healthy individual, the reality will take shape.