There is no shortage of people who start getting into dieting, exercise, and healthy living with the best of intentions. However, pay enough attention and you will see that not the majority of them are going to turn it into a meaningful, life-long change. You need something other than motivation to turn your health “kick” into a habit that you carry with you for years. Here are a few ways to do just that.
Have a holistic approach
There is a problem with being too “all-or-nothing” and having unrealistic expectations about the changes you’re going to make from the get-go. Trying to switch from a diet that’s pretty heavy in junk food to only organic foods is a pretty drastic change. However, you should be trying to change more than one area of your life at a time. It shouldn’t just be diet or exercise or sleeping schedule. There is evidence to suggest that people who try to change their diet as well as starting to exercise more actually have a better chance of sticking to it in the long-term.
Set meaningful and varied goals
When you start a journey, it’s a lot easier to stick to the path if you know where you’re going. Your initial desire to get healthy might not be motivated by anything more than being dissatisfied with how you feel, but it’s important to set goals that are more meaningful than simply “getting healthy.”
You want to balance your long-term goals as well as your short-term goals, making it so that you can always identify the next step you’re taking towards the eventual end-point. If you simply give yourself a long-term goal, it can feel like your progress is incredibly slow, which can make it more tempting to simply say the project was too big, and to give up on it.
Make time for it
There is effort and time that goes into making healthy decisions. When it comes to exercise, you need to make sure that you set aside time to get ready for your workout, do it, then cool down and clean up after. Even with eating healthy, the best way to do so is to prepare your own meals with whole ingredients, which can take a lot of prep time.
As such, it’s important to get disciplined and to keep a schedule that ensures you designate a time that is specifically geared for helping you reach those health goals. If you’re not strict about setting a time to do what you need to, then you’re going to continuously procrastinate at some point, which can lead to simply losing sight of your goals in the first place.
Keep that self-esteem up
As mentioned, it will take more than motivation alone to help you turn healthy changes into long-lasting habits, but there’s no denying that your mental and emotional state can both play a key role in how easy it is to stick to those changes. Self-esteem issues can greatly affect your motivation.
If you start the day feeling bad about yourself, then it’s all too easy to not have the energy to make the correct first step of the day, which can then go on to influence the course of the rest of the day. Learning a few life-hacks to give your self-esteem a boost when you feel like you’re getting stuck on feeling bad can help you course-correct and get back into things.
Track your progress and your habits
One of the best reasons to create measurable goals for the short-term and the long-term is that it becomes a lot easier to track whether or not your current efforts are enough to help you on the way. You should be sure to track not only things like your waistline, weight, or how much you can bench, but what you eat and what exercises you do each week.
That way, not only can you see what is helping you towards your goals, but you can track little bad habits like unhealthy treats you sneak in or days where you didn’t do the exercises you had planned. The better you understand your habits, the easier it is to break them.
Rely on a little help
All of the tips above can help you manage your own motivation levels, schedule, and other ways to better dedicate yourself to the cause of your own health. However, you don’t have to go it alone and, in fact, you have a better chance of sticking to your health changes, such as dieting and weight loss, if you have someone to help you on the way.
Personal trainers can play a vital role, in helping you get educated about healthier choices and the routines that work best towards your goal, about recipes, about motivational tactics, and more. Having someone support you and keep you accountable can be a huge boost to your efforts, helping you stick to them for longer.
Reward but don’t punish
There are plenty of healthy rewards you can indulge in after you have met a very short-term goal, such as sticking to an exercise plan for a week or having not indulged in a bad eating habit of yours. Take the time to treat yourself for a job well done.
But don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall off the wagon. It might be an indication you should pull back the scope of your goals and take baby steps rather than trying to run right off the bat. Beating yourself up about it isn’t the same as keeping yourself accountable and it’s important to make that distinction when you fail a fitness or diet goal.
Motivation levels increase and decrease, life can get in the way of your efforts, and sometimes you can drop the ball. What’s important is that you’re able to pick it back up again and keep playing. Hopefully, the tips above will help you transform your approach to health, not just adopt one for a while.
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