Of course we all want to be healthy, but putting in the effort can be a bit of a drag sometimes. It takes habit forming and dedication to really stay on a healthy path these days with so much service at our convenience – fast food, delivery service, online shopping, cars, television, social media. Most people don’t perform jobs that require much physical activity anymore, and by the time we get home from working 8+ hour shifts and running any errands the couch can look very tempting with a quick bite to eat and some tv or social media scrolling until it becomes time to think about dinner and sleep, and the day is gone. All these things easily contribute to poor eating choices and a significant lack of physical activity. Here are some tips to help avoid those behaviors, stay on track, and stay motivated!
Put it on Paper
First, we need to map out exactly what our goals are. Be realistic, and don’t set outrageous unobtainable goals. Get specific, and break up your long term goals into shorter goals that are measurable in accomplishment along the way. If your goal is to lose weight, get the details straight; write out that you want to set a sensible goal of losing 1 lb of fat per week and that by a certain date you want to have lost x number of lbs. Check these things off your calendar as you go. Writing these things out will help instill a driving factor, and make your goals seem more real rather than just a nice sounding idea.
Plan The Attack
Now that you have your goals determined, create a schedule allotting time for the tasks that will help you achieve your goals. Know how long it will take you to accomplish your day to day tasks and errands. The key here is to plan in time for your health and fitness goals as if they are just as important as anything else that you are doing.
- Plan the days that you’re going to go grocery shopping
- Plan when you’re going to take time to prepare meals and snacks to have on hand
- Plan in time to do your workouts.
Planning and having healthy meals prepared and on hand helps us avoid those quick unhealthy snacks and meals. Plan what meals sound good to eat then go buy what you need. Set aside one or two days a week that you can prepare meals/snacks in advance, or have the food ready to easily throw together in the evenings. If you realize you’re on the go from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed with work and errands, then plan to wake up 45 minutes earlier in the mornings and get in a quick workout. Also plan in a little relaxation and downtime so that you don’t get burnt out with being on-the-go all the time. Having structure and a regimen to stick to helps ensure that we have enough time within our day for our health related goals. Also having a plan and feeling organized helps increase motivation.
Set Visual Reminders
So you’ve done the planning, but it’s still a struggle at times. Setting visual reminders that cue the thoughts about why you want to make healthy choices are a very good trigger to keep you moving in the right direction. Have pictures, quotes on sticky notes in random places, and save your phone/computer screen to images that will remind you what your goals are. Especially having the cues set up around places that you are more likely to perform a bad habit will help you break them and reform good habits, so take time to really evaluate what your goals are and what habits you do that hinder you from reaching them.
Get a Buddy
Having someone or even something that you check in with regularly will help keep you accountable in your actions. Get a fitness buddy that you workout with or that you call/text about how your fitness is going. Start a group such as a Facebook group or group chat where you motivate each other. Download an app like MyPlate that records your food/water intake as well as your activity for the day. Heck, even tell your dog every night how your workouts and meals went for the day. Anything that makes you have to check in with an outside source helps keep you accountable day to day.
Savor the Rewards
When you accomplish a goal, whether it be a long term goal, short term goal, or daily goal, sit back and acknowledge the feelings you get from accomplishing a task. This helps associate good feelings towards the journey it took to get there even if it wasn’t easy. After a workout we get a rush of endorphins through our bodies. Take a minute during your cool down or post workout stretching to really feel them and acknowledge them. This helps us rewire our brains into associating exercise as a good fun thing rather than something that is a chore. When you accomplish a long term goal treat yourself; whether that be a cupcake after a week of not skipping workouts, a new pair of jeans for dropping a size, or a spa day to relax, make sure you reward yourself with something that will make you feel good for your accomplishment and motivate you for accomplishing the next goal.
For more tips and help improving your health go to Elevate Fitness for access to workout programs and nutritional information.