We’ve all been there, right? When you start seeing your New Year’s Resolutions slip through your fingers, or your summer fitness goals begin to look more like your winter hibernation routine, it’s time to take a step back and re-think your goals.
Motivation is a tricky thing. As much as we want to believe that it’s the most important part of making a lifestyle change, I would beg to differ. Why? Because motivation has its peaks and valleys just like everything else in life. So, why do we rely on it so heavily when it comes time to make real, hard, habit-busting changes? When motivation begins to drop when you are in the midst of making healthy lifestyle changes, perhaps it’s time to go back to the drawing board with these tips:
Remember Your ‘WHY’: We all start with a reason to change – to feel confident, to improve blood work, to have more energy for family and friends, to excel at work….the list goes on. Really and truly evaluating WHY you are making the changes you’re making is a great way to hit the RESET button and get back into the groove. A wise person once told me to challenge people to dig deep within them to determine the reason they want to change. “To look good” may be a valid reason, but why do you want to look good? What does looking good mean to you? What will it mean to you when you reach that goal? Begin to ask yourself the tough questions, and you may surprise yourself….your WHY may actually change and that new reason may be the kick in the butt you needed all along.
Put Pen to Paper: I say this all the time, and my patients are probably sick of hearing it – WRITE. THINGS. DOWN. What things, you might ask? Any, and everything. Your mind and body are constantly communicating with you – through the million and one thoughts you have throughout the day, the grumbling of your stomach when you skipped your last meal, the breakouts you get when your monthly ‘gift’ decides to rear her head once again. Keeping track of your thoughts through journaling, tracking your energy, documenting what you eat, when you workout, and how you feel before and after are all ways to begin getting back on track. Even if you’re documenting the giant pizza slice you just ate, or the chocolate bar you grabbed from the vending machine – write it all down. Doing this helps create a map of your body. You’ll begin to noticed trends – lower energy after sugar-filled snacks, difficulty recovering from your workout as your menstrual cycle approaches…whatever it is, that map you’re drawing could help you make one extra healthy choice each day, and build from there.
Ask For Help: As the summer comes to an end, we’re all trying to enjoy the last few weeks of beautiful weather, but also get prepared for the mad rush to the end of the year that happens after Labor Day. All of a sudden, the goals we set at the beginning of the summer that we felt we had so much time to achieve are fading away. Instead of waiting until September for a “Back to School Detox”, why not start right now? Having support and accountability have proven to help people reach their goals (Hence the success of programs like Weight Watchers). Ask a friend to be your walking partner for the remainder of the summer, or have a water challenge at work to help you stay hydrated. There are so many people out there doing their best, just like you, but just need a little friendly push along the way. There’s nothing better than some friendly competition to get your motivation mojo back!
There’s still plenty of time this summer to get back to healthy habits, so have no fear! One healthy choice a day is all you need to begin crushing your health goals, one at a time.