Updated: Mar 26, 2019
For many of us, as the ball drops on December 31st, we are READY, we are at the PEAK OF MOTIVATION for the coming year! THIS WILL BE THE YEAR…fill in the blank…! We are consistent for a few weeks, then slowly life begins to creep back into the everyday routine. Maybe we miss a few days of healthy eating, or the planned workouts don’t fit into the work or kid activity schedule. Suddenly, it’s mid-March and we realize we are falling back or are deeply embedded into old habits…AGAIN! It’s very easy to beat ourselves up mentally and quickly allow guilt, shame, and frustration to depress our lives. Here’s the thing: YOU ARE NORMAL!!! Changing habits is a daily decision, it is DIFFICULT. Losing motivation is normal, how you react is the key to making THIS TIME a permanent change.
1. STOP NEGATIVE LOOPING!
To the players I coach in basketball, this is a huge point of emphasis (they probably hate hearing my broken record). YOU WILL NOT reach any goal in your life if you continue to let your negative thoughts run on a loop in your head. Your mind will beat you EVERY TIME! It will be a challenge, but if you are serious about making a lifestyle change you must learn how to believe in yourself (even when you may have slipped up). Believing in yourself doesn’t mean you are happy with your current place. Sabotaging your efforts and allowing yourself to dive into your frustrations will likely add to increased guilt and depression.
2. Start Again EVERYDAY!
I heard an awesome analogy last week, which I feel is imperative to this point: Your goals are like a campfire, not a chair! Think about a chair: it’s built once, occupies a space, and you don’t need to think about it because it’s always there for you when you need it. In contrast, a campfire is temporary and will need to be restarted each morning. When we think about our goals, we need to start again every morning. We need to remind ourselves daily what is truly important to us. I urge you to try an exercise for 1-2 weeks: every morning write down your goals! This shouldn’t take long and will probably be the same goals every time; however, the simple act of writing them down will help you focus to remember what you felt was important when you were clear, peaceful, and motivated to claim this goal. Starting your day focused will help when life starts to creep in and lower our defenses.
3. Waiting is part of the journey!
We live in an instant gratification culture. Almost every aspect of our lives can be achieved quickly, giving us incredible impatience if choices don’t have an instant result! It takes time to create the habits and lifestyle you’re striving to achieve. Just because your motivation is there, doesn’t mean that your body or habits will just flip a switch overnight. Working toward our goals daily, forces us to be consistent, learn discipline, and truly value the process. YOU CAN DO THIS…but it will take time, patience, and personal compassion. You can be ticked at yourself for getting to this point but give yourself grace and pride in the little victories that you accomplish everyday to battle for a better future self.
4. Here’s a little tough love!
Everyone wants to change something, NOT ONE PERSON has a perfect life (I don’t care how hard they try to appear perfect on Instagram)! Stop complaining and START prioritizing. People are at their best with the correct balance of sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and just take another step forward every morning. MOVE EVERYDAY: when you feel like skipping your workout, go for a walk. Maybe it wasn’t the hard gym workout or class you had planned, but you didn’t fall into the habit of throwing on sweats and watching Netflix. DRINK MORE WATER: bad nutrition habits will not change overnight and forcing ‘cold turkey’ can often be a recipe for falling hard off the wagon later. When you feel a sugar or salt craving hit or start creeping in, make a point to drink 16oz of water. Typically, this will be the shift needed to cut that craving. Bonus of course is the increase in hydration will allow your body to function better and rid itself of unnecessary toxins. SET LITTLE GOALS and REWARDS: it can be easy to get discouraged when we only focus on the ‘end game’. You might have large goals…that is awesome…just make sure you reward yourself along the journey. For example, when you have an 80% perfect week with nutrition and exercise you agree to a coffee date with a friend. Maybe when you lose 10lbs, you reward yourself with something larger like a pedicure. When you hit your goal halfway, you buy yourself a new pair of pants or something special. You can catch my drift here…set small rewards along the way to help stoke your motivation as you inch toward your ultimate goal.
5. BE SELF AWARE!
Honestly evaluate your triggers or the points when you typically slip away from your goals. Be mindful and plan early! How are you going to be prepared when life hits? You wouldn’t go into battle blindfolded and expect to win. This will be a battle with yourself, so prepare and be ready for the challenge! The first step is acknowledging your humanness but EXPECTING that this time you will conquer your goals…YOU WILL GET THERE!!!