While it’s all easier said than done, I do have some specific tips when it comes to motivating yourself to exercise and dial in your nutrition.
First things first. Motivation is most effective when it’s intrinsic. Scrolling on Instagram or Pinterest for hours, obsessing over bodies that aren’t yours, will only leave you feeling discouraged. It’s healthy to have a goal in mind, but it’s self-torture to idolize bodies that aren’t yours. At the end of the day, the action you take or neglect to take, is up to you. Accept that your body is all that you will ever have and that it will progress and change in its own way at its own pace. It’s so common for people to get discouraged because their body is taking “too long” to “look a certain way.” Accept that this is referred to as a journey for a reason, that change takes time and consistency. Learning to draw motivation from within will change your outlook from the victim to the go-getter.
Moving on. Set yourself up for success. When the idea to make a change creeps into your mind – run with it. Meal prep, set out your workout gear the night before and schedule time to workout. If you have a planner, write it in. If you have a spouse or roommate, announce it to (or invite) them. At all costs, avoid the f*ck it mentality. You know what I’m talking about. When you wake up and have a donut and think “well there goes my diet, might as well eat whatever I want today” or miss a workout one day and let it turn into a week. Y’all. As a perfectionist, I struggle with this. If my workouts & nutrition aren’t on point, I feel like a failure. I’m working on not being so dramatic by acknowledging that slip ups here and there will not hurt my progress, but that repeated self sabotage will.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The longest I’ve ever run is eleven miles and I don’t make a habit of that, but a lifestyle change is comparable – except there is no finish line. Consider the finish line a speed that you could cruise at indefinitely. You can come out of the gate hard, but you eventually need to pace yourself if you want to go the distance. If you’re somebody who loves to give fad diets a go – you need to police yourself when it comes to making drastic changes. If you find yourself at a plateau after months of slow and steady approach, then research implementing re-feeds instead of turning to excessive cardio.
Celebrate little wins. Before my eleven miler the longest I had run was six miles, so I celebrated each mile following the six marker. Instead of thinking, “Wow I have so far to go, I can’t do this,” I reframed it as, “Wow, this is uncharted territory and look at me, my legs are still moving!” Find little things to get excited about; like jeans that aren’t as snug or discovering you don’t hate every vegetable. Celebrate cooking more at home or quitting at 8 reps instead of 7. Do not let weight loss in large increments be your only measure of success.
And on Sundays, I rest. Sometimes, when I’m feeling extra burnt out and lazy… I take a day off (GASP!). Sometimes it’s out of physical necessity and others I deem a mental requirement. The key is to not let it spiral out of control. Remember that putting the brakes on the wagon is not falling off of it.
It’s a lot easier to convince a dog to go on a walk than go to the vet. My point is that you’re more likely to do an activity you enjoy than one you dread. If you despise jogging, then why the heck are you doing it!? I much prefer to walk on an incline or do sprints, so that’s what I do. There are an incredible number of options for you to try. Try everything until you find yourself smitten and do that. Disregard what so & so says “you have to try” and ignore what the magazine has deemed “the next best thing” and do what you love.
But don’t be afraid to switch things up. I love my routine, but I also love a good challenge. When life gets hectic, I look forward to the hour I devote to sweating. When my routine seems monotonous, I try something new. This requires my body to step it up, as well as my mental game. When the two work together – you are unstoppable.
Little tips to pick it back up:
- Spend time journaling about the future and what you want from life
- Look back at old progress photos and marvel at how far you’ve come
- List out the benefits of eating healthy and exercising regularly
- Create a new music playlist that makes you feel like a badass
- Buy a new workout outfit/shoes/water bottle (whatever gets you excited)
- Try a new recipe or go to a new grocery store and try new foods/brands
What do you do to get motivated? Comment below and share what you do because let’s be real – sometimes we need all the help we can get!