As you know, a fitness journey is not just about working out. Sometimes I wish it were that simple. Alas, fitness is about a lot more than how many crunches you do in a day or how far you can run. Staying motivated while working out can be difficult, but is just one part of your overall journey.
Fitness is about your mindset, your lifestyle, your eating habits, and your workout routine. The combination of all of these factors leads to a healthy, fit lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic gives some great advice about how to keep your mind in the game, but read on to find out how to stay motivated on your fitness journey!
1. Surround yourself with light and love
Who you surround yourself with makes a big difference in your ability to stick to a healthy, fit lifestyle. If you are trying to make changes to live healthier, but everyone you surround yourself with has poor eating habits or over indulges in other vices, you are creating a recipe for disaster. Instead, focus on surrounding yourself with light and love. By no means do you need to change your social circle, but be sure to explain your lifestyle changes and choices to your friends and family so they understand where you are coming from and affirm your choices in the moment when you order the impossible burger instead of the double bacon cheeseburger, for example. You can also try expanding your social circle to include new people whose lives are aligned to your new goals so you also have validation in those spaces.
2. Think about your role models
Here’s the thing, while society has come a long way in terms of body positivity and inclusivity, we certainly have not erased the myth of the gorgeous person being one who is small/thin. Some of my role models are Mindy Kaling and Gal Gadot. Both are strong women who embrace their appearance in different ways and advocate for healthy living. Mindy Kaling advocates for embracing who you are and your body as a powerful vessel. As a former member of the Israeli army, Gal Gadot embraces a lifestyle of health and fitness by sharing her workout routines and how she came to feel comfortable in her body again after giving birth. Looking at people who affirm your healthy, fit lifestyle will motivate you to keep going.
3. Dig deep into your root causes
Knowing why you developed unhealthy habits to start with is really helpful in reversing those trends and keeping steadying on your healthy, fit lifestyle journey. Unfortunately, no amount of healthy eating or exercise will erase emotional wounds that may be leading to some of the choices you may be making. A healthy life means taking care of yourself: mind, body, and soul. Additionally, treating your root causes will help make sticking to your plan easier. For example, if stress from your job is the root cause of some of your unhealthy life choices, making decisions at work to redistribute workload or take some things off your plate might help you not only at work but also in your life outside of work.
4. Think simply
One small change you can make daily will have a longer lasting impact than a short list of more complicated ideas in your healthy, fit lifestyle journey. Small changes are easy to remember and correct if you fall back into old habits. Dramatic change can produce immediate change which feels validating but is also short lived because it’s difficult to stick to such vast changes. When you make your list of lifestyle changes you want to make, think about how to implement those slowly over time and you’ll find lasting, positive change.
5. Find your fan section; be someone else’s
There’s a reason that sporting events have large sections for fans. Working hard (physically, mentally, emotionally) deserves respect and applause! Find those friends or family members who are going to cheer you on when you meet your milestones and remind you of how awesome you are when you are feeling down. I recently had a friend who is CRUSHING it in the healthy, fit lifestyle choices text me about how disappointed she was in herself for needing to take a month off working out to heal from an injury. I was shocked she would be so down on herself over making a healthy, positive choice she made for herself. My immediate reaction was not only to affirm her choice to heal, but also to make sure she remembered what a rockstar she is. We all need someone to do that for us once in a while. A healthy, fit lifestyle journey is a marathon, not a sprint. As someone who has completed 3 marathons, I can affirm encouragement is always welcomed and appreciated.
6. Be kind to yourself
Listen, we all make missteps in our journey to a healthy, fit lifestyle. It happens. We’re human. What’s important to remember in these moments is not the misstep we made but what we’re going to do moving forward. Be kind to yourself. One “mistake” does not mean you’re a failure or that you will never reach your goals. It simply means you made a choice in the moment that didn’t align to your goals. That’s it. You have the opportunity to make so many more choices that align to your goals moving forward.
7. Don’t skip meals
I can admit to being tempted to skip meals. It seems simple, right? If I skip breakfast because I am always running late in the morning and don’t have much time to eat when I arrive at work, I am saving calories and that means I have more calories to “spend” during lunch and dinner. This destructive line of thinking is not only bad for my mental and emotional health, but also for my physical health. I’m confusing my body by sending mixed signals and telling my body to store fat reserves for when I need energy later instead of using those same reserves now. In other words, I am actually retaining weight when I am trying to regulate my weight. Even small meals are helpful when you are low on time.
8. Change takes time
This should become your new mantra. I once read that it takes 4 weeks for people who don’t see you frequently to notice a change in your body, 8 weeks for people who see you frequently to notice, and 12 weeks for you to see the change in the mirror. Assuming this is true, that means you’re talking about a minimum of 3 months before you can see changes based on the work you are doing. And those are just the beginning changes. It will take even more time for you to see the type of changes you were hoping to see when you set your healthy, fit lifestyle goals. Repeat after me: change takes time.
9. Sit less
If you have a smart watch, your watch is probably already nagging you to stand up at least once per hour. Since so many of us work in sedentary professions, these reminders are often helpful pings to keep us on our path to a healthy, fit lifestyle. Getting your body moving periodically throughout the day has many benefits such as: decrease in risk for diabetes, decrease in risk for heart disease, and an increase in lifespan. So these reminders to stand once an hour genuinely help remind us to get up, move a bit, and not limit physical activity to a half hour or so a day when we are exercising.
You. Deserve. To. Be. Celebrated. Being on a healthy, fit lifestyle journey is hard and requires patience and dedication, so when you hit one of those goals, celebrate. Celebration can take a lot of different forms, but be sure to treat yourself in a way that makes you feel confident, validated, and loved.