I know how hard it can be to stay on track with a health and fitness journey, and I have fallen off the wagon many times myself. It is HARD. If it were easy, everyone would be doing. It isn’t impossible though, and you just have to decide that you’re going to do this so that you can create a better life for yourself and those around you. You DESERVE to be healthy, happy, and confident! I found this photo online, and I thought that it was a great little tip for anyone trying to keep themselves on track with a health and fitness journey. It is also a great place to start if you’re thinking about making these positive life changes, because it allows you to prepare in advance to engage in positive self-motivating behaviours.
The first point says to take it one day at a time, which is great advice with respect to your nutrition and workouts. Tracking is crucial. Each day, you should track what you did. For your nutrition, you should track everything that you put into your mouth. I personally like to create a template of what I’m going to eat the next day a night in advance. It is MUCH easier to rearrange things to hit your macro ratios when you do this in advance, because once you’ve already eaten something, you can’t take it off your journal. Tracking is made SUPER simple with myfitnesspal, which even has handy apps for smartphones and tablets. Click here to learn more about tracking and macro ratios. In addition to tracking food, it is important to track what you do with your workouts. Once you complete a workout and have the number of reps you did on each exercise and what weight you used, you will then know what to do the next time you do that workout. It also helps to show you when you should move up in weight, and allows you to track your progress over time. Click here to learn about my tracking challenge.
Surrounding yourself with positivity is a big one. It is important that you spend time with people who lift you up instead of bring you down. Try to surround yourself with positive people who support your positive life choices. If you hang out with people that constantly bring you down, it is going to hamper your progress. Sometimes people close to you can even be unsupportive of your new shift to a healthier lifestyle and try to bring you down to their level. In many cases, they aren’t doing this to hurt you, but they see themselves reflected in your positive choices and don’t like what they see. They’ll realize that they should be making these changes too, but they don’t want to, so their subconscious tries to sabotage you and get things back to normal. This can be especially hard if it happens to be a spouse, living partner, or loved one. Click here to read more on this topic and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.
One thing that you can do to help keep you focused is create a vision board. I actually put out a challenge to my health and fitness group a while back where I asked them to do this, so I won’t get into too much detail on this subject here. Essentially what this means is that you think in depth about where you are currently, and where you would like to end up. Then you create a board of all of the things you want to do when you achieve your goals, what you will look like when you achieve your goals, what is important to you and your family, things like that. If you’d like to take on this challenge, click here to read about it.
SMART with respect to goal setting is actually an acronym. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. I won’t get into too much detail here, because I actually have a blog post dedicated to this topic already. Click here if you would like to learn more about SMART and how it applies to your health and fitness goals.
One thing that helps many people stay on track is to reward themselves for achieving their goals. Some people find it helpful to reward themselves with a cheat meal at the end of each successful month. A healthier way to do this is to treat yourself to a new outfit. You could even just keep a jar in your workout area where you deposit a dollar for each workout that you do, and then when you hit your goal you can spend that money on something important to you. Maybe a spa day, who knows, that’s totally up to you! Be proud of all the small steps toward your larger goal, and allow yourself to be excited over those smaller successes.
Having belief in yourself is HUGE. It is really important that you believe that you can do it, because if you allow yourself to start thinking that you can’t do it, your thoughts will become a self-fulfilling prophecy and you will quit before you achieve your goals. If you’re struggling with something, tell yourself in your head that you can do it, even if you aren’t sure. Positive mental talk repeated over time will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals. Even if you can’t do something right away, there are all kinds of ways to modify moves. You just have to do what you can until you gain strength to do more.
Continuing from the last point, it is also super important that you don’t focus in on what you can’t do or the things you don’t like about yourself. Instead, focus on everything that you can do, the progress you’ve made, and the things that you do like about yourself. If you focus on the negative, you’ll never get anywhere. In order to be successful on your health and fitness journey, you have got to make an effort to shift into a more positive mental mindset. If you’re working out regularly and you’ve seeing results, this should happen naturally if you follow the advice in this article.
With this next point, the tracking I discussed above will really come in handy when it comes time to recognize your progress. It really helps to have a record of where you started versus where you are now, and seeing that progress firsthand can be really motivating. This can be in the form of a food journal, exercise charts showing progress over time with reps and weight increases, progress pictures, weight, measurements, etc. Any and all of these things will help you to recognize the progress that you’ve made along your health and fitness journey, and you should focus on that success. It doesn’t matter if you are still a long way off from your larger goal, and you shouldn’t let that discourage you from continuing. As I said before, focus on the positive!
One thing that helps a lot of people when it comes to staying motivated is to visualize themselves achieving their goals. So in this instance, you would sit down and relax while thinking about what you’ll look like when you achieve your goal. Think about what you will do when you achieve your goal and how it will impact your life and the lives of those closest to you. It may help for you to refer back to your vision board for ideas before you do this, and you can even update your vision board over time as you think of new ideas.
Another really important factor to staying motivated is to be kind to yourself. This may sound silly, but it really is crucial. If you are always down on yourself, pointing out all of your flaws, mentally criticizing yourself, et cetera you should focus on shifting to a more positive mental mindset. If you’re unable to do that on your own, you should find someone that you trust to talk to, or consider seeking professional help. If you are suffering from depression, you may find that cardio helps. I have never personally been diagnosed as clinically depressed, but I was going through a really tough time in the years leading up to making the shift to a healthier lifestyle. I was engaging in a lot of self-bashing, and I criticized my every flaw in the mirror. This behaviour wasn’t healthy. When I started doing Turbo Fire, a high intensity interval training program that focuses on cardio, I found a significant improvement in my mental mindset. I’m by no means a doctor or an expert, so I cannot say that this will work for everyone. However, based on my own experience, I think it is a great place to start.
Lastly, DO NOT compare yourself to others. Especially those who have been exercising and eating clean for a long period of time. I struggle with this a bit myself sometimes because I have a lot of friends that do fitness competitions. You have to remember that those people worked hard for a long time to get to where they are, while you may be somewhere in the beginning stages of your journey. Everyone is different, and we all go through different things. The weight loss process is not the same from everybody, and comparing yourself to someone else is only going to hurt you in the long run.
I hope you found this article on how to stay motivated to be helpful, but if you have any questions, feel free to send them my way! If you have been considering making some positive changes with respect to health and fitness and you just aren’t sure where to start, you are invited to join my FREE Health and Fitness group.