At this point, the novelty of the New Year has worn off. Hopefully you’re still going strong with your healthy living goals. However, if motivation is starting to wane, don’t despair! You aren’t destined to fall back into old habits, or fail at those goals you set just a few months ago. There are simple ways to get back on track and refocus so that this becomes YOUR year of permanent change. Are you ready to get started?
1. Revisit your goals. Did you set goals that were specific, with progress measurements along the way? Are you rewarding yourself for your hard work, instead of always beating yourself up if you fall short? It’s great to say you want to lose 10 pounds by eating better, but if you don’t have a plan for what “eating better” means, you’re not likely to be successful. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to increase your 5K speed? Make sure your goals are also meaningful because that helps keep you motivated when times get tough.
2. Find things you like. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing or what you’re eating, you aren’t going to keep it up forever. Exercise shouldn’t be something you dread, so if you hate to walk, don’t do it. Try swimming, biking, dancing, or any other activity that interests you. The more you like it, the more you’ll stick with it. Same goes for food. If you don’t like spinach, don’t eat it just because you think you have to. There are plenty of healthy foods out there, so experiment with different options (and different ways of cooking) until you find what works. You might find you love spinach if it’s sautéed with garlic and onions, or you might find you never want to eat it again. Either way, don’t force something if it’s not working.
3. Create a support system. When you start making changes, it might feel like you can take on the world all alone. But when things get tough, it’s important to have people you can lean on for support and encouragement. This could be a partner, family member, workout buddy, or online community like SparkPeople! In addition to the support, these people can also help you stay accountable, so that you follow through with what you say you’re going to do. You’re less tempted to splurge on an unplanned dessert if you’ve told those around you it’s something you’re trying to avoid.
4. Learn from your mistakes, don’t fear them. Too often, we expect perfection from ourselves. We worry that if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned, we will fail. The truth is, it’s not always so black-and-white. Your body is very complicated, so even if you anticipate a two pound loss this week, it might not happen. Even if you say nothing is going to get in the way of your daily workout, sometimes things do. As long as you can refocus, learning from experiences when things go wrong, you’re still on the right track.
5. Reward yourself! Don’t wait until you’ve lost 20 pounds to recognize your hard work. There’s no reason not to celebrate the small milestones you reach each week, or even each day! Maybe you were able to walk 5 minutes longer on the treadmill or do two more pushups this week than you did last week. Maybe you resisted that donut offered by a co-worker. Although these single accomplishments might not be the secret to reaching all of your health and fitness goals, they are progress that should not be ignored. Rewards don’t have to be expensive or fancy, but they are certainly effective when it comes to motivation.
If you’ve been going strong since January 1st with no signs of slowing down, WOO HOO for you! If you’ve gotten off track, no matter how far, there’s still time to turn it around. Consider setting two small goals to work toward over the next week to get things going again. You have the power inside of you to make any change from this moment forward. Are you ready?
What small goals are you going to set today to get back on track? What has helped you to stay motivated when times get tough? Share in the comments below!
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