Traditionally, by the time Super Bowl Sunday rolls around, most people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions, stopped going to the gym, and fallen back into the usual rut of unhealthy food choices and sedentary life. It’s not really a surprise as the drastic changes in lifestyle are usually such a harsh awakening that it’s almost impossible to believe that anybody would be able to keep it up. Here are some motivational tips to help keep the right frame of mind in order to stick to those resolutions and get through the dark days of winter.
- start early
- find a positive experience
- make it social
- think of the consequences of your choices
- manage your expectations
- get discouraged by how hard it is sometimes
- overhaul everything in your life
- go it alone
- beat yourself up
- give up
Sometimes getting up early is enough of a chore on it’s own. But if you can commit to getting up early to start a new exercise program, the additional effect can lead to other good choices throughout the day. It also eliminates the excuse of being too tired because you had a long day at work. Being active early has been proven to help people stay focused and alert throughout the day, so not only will you feel better, but you’ll accomplish more!
Being active can be different than what you perceive working out to be. Many of my friends in CA and HI are surfers. They get up and ride the waves for an hour before work and are energized and ready to take on the day. If you were to ask if they “work out” they’d say “no”. The point is that they are doing something very active but they don’t consider it working out because it’s fun. It’s “Experiential Exercise”. Surfing may not be an option for you, but there are many fun, active groups springing up around the country that are breaking the mold where exercise is concerned and there are lots of training programs for “Tough Mudders” and “Color Runs” and other types of extreme activities that are really fun to participate in.
There is strength in numbers! It’s amazing how much easier it is to get through a workout when joining a friend or group of friends to be accountable to. In addition to the offbeat running and extreme workout groups (mentioned above), there are more traditional, beginner friendly classes like Zumba and Spinning that are jazzing up the studios with lighting effects and music themes. This can make it so much more fun and exciting for friends to enjoy together than a boring run on a treadmill.
Many people like to put pictures of fitness models on their refrigerators as a way to discourage themselves from eating something they shouldn’t. However, that can be self defeating and discouraging. Even the most fit amongst us may never be called to model in a fitness magazine, so why aspire to something that simply isn’t realistic? For the people who like visual aides, keep two pictures of yourself handy, one looking as good as you ever have and another in which you look embarrassingly terrible. It’s much more personal to see your potential, good and bad, and the contrast between the two will have a much more profound effect on whether you eat that ice cream or blow off the gym.
Some of the most popular programs on TV show drastic weight loss in people in much worse condition than most of us are. Very few of those people keep that weight off, which is understandable. Not many can afford to spend their daily lives at a resort where nutritionists create menus and personal trainers put them through 3 workouts a day. It’s just not realistic. Most who make resolutions are so focused on the desired result that they forget that it takes modifications to our everyday life which may be tough to adhere to, until they simply become habit. It takes a lot of discipline and most importantly commitment. Once you commit to certain actions, you can focus on steady improvements rather than get frustrated on why you haven’t lost 50lbs in two weeks!
We’ve all heard it a thousand times, “Nothing worthwhile is ever easy”, and it’s true. In order to make changes in your life, you must break out of your comfort zone. One of the main reasons for the obesity epidemic in our country is how easy and convenient everything has become. We drive to work, spend the day looking at a computer screen, order in lunch, usually pizza or other fast food, drive home and order in more fast food. Most people have even eliminated the activities of grocery shopping and cooking from their lives! Being healthy is not easy at first, especially if you’re used to convenience. It takes time to adjust but have faith, you can do it. Especially if you can find the fun in eating healthy too. There are countless healthy cooking shows, websites and magazines to gather inspiration from.
Overhauling everything in your life is too drastic a change that can rarely be sustained. Start small. For example, plan on waking up a half hour earlier and either making a healthier breakfast, or walking to work, or doing a set of push-ups and jumping jacks before showering for work. Once you realize that you can do something as simple as these tasks, you can build on that success. The key to really changing your life is to start with small digestible bits.
Just like with exercise, eating healthy can be easier when doing it with friends. Start a healthy eating club at work or pick a couple of nights during the week to get together with friends and try new recipes found on the countless healthy cooking shows, online sites or magazines. Social media makes it easy to do it with friends who may not even live in your town or may not even be friends previously.
Losing composure when you fall off track makes it that much easier to give up completely. After making a mistake, relax and think about how you can make tomorrow a better day. Feeling a little guilty about making the wrong choice shows you care about your commitment to healthier lifestyle, but stressing out about it can be destructive and cause you to quit and fall into a place where you feel bad about yourself. Stay positive and look forward to better decision making in the days to come!
Most people do. They stop their new activities just before they become a habit. Establishing a healthier lifestyle as a series of habits is critical because you become addicted to all of the endorphins and good stuff that happens in your body. Giving up leads to feeling bad which often leads to eating comfort food or drinking alcohol both of which may feel good as a quick fix, but end up making you feel worse afterwards. Change takes commitment and time.
One very important thing to remember is that there’s a difference between motivation and commitment. It’s easy to workout when feeling energetic but when it’s cold or you’ve had a long day at work is when you need to ask yourself why you want a healthier lifestyle. Hopefully the answer alone will help you find motivation. Asking yourself what it means to be committed to a specific goal should help to embrace the changes in your life. Making it fun and social are two of the best tools to help you stay on track during the cold months. Just think how much better you’ll look and feel when it comes time to take off all of the extra clothing layers!