Hello friends and fellow fitness buffs!
Today’s blog post is one that I know firsthand is extremely important! When I started on my journey to health (I lost 80 pounds!!) I needed as much motivation as possible. Almost instinctively, I started to employ techniques that helped me to gain long-term motivation to be able to lose the weight and to keep up with my healthy lifestyle forever. I don’t think that you ever stop doing these things either. I believe that preparing your “motivational” arsenal is a key part to being able to adopt a healthy lifestyle change (forever) which is what most people really desire! 🙂 So important, in fact, that I decided to dedicate an entire blog post to staying motivated! Below, I will detail my tips/tricks and habits that I have created through my own personal journey as well as throughout my years as a Fitness Professional.
So, what is motivation? Out of curiosity for how it was defined, I looked it up. This is what I found:
1) The reason or reasons one has for behaving in a particular way.
2) The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
I want to spend a little bit of extra time on this because I found it interesting. #1 stated the “reason” or “reasons” one has for behaving in a particular way. Have you sat down to really analyze and lay out your REASONS for getting healthy? This is one of the biggest (and most often missed) steps in a persons journey.
I once had someone close to me say “Ashley, you never want to fire, ready, aim” and this really stuck with me. Preparing for success means laying the GROUNDWORK. What is the groundwork? I can’t think of anything more appropriate than securing your reasons and developing well-defined goals. When you know your “reasons” for doing something, it makes sticking to it that much easier!
#2 suggests the general “desire” or “willingness” of someone to do something. If you are willing to put forth the work and effort to achieve your goals you WILL! However, employing some very simple and effective daily motivational habits will help a great deal!
In my own personal journey, I found that it took more than just “desire” to reach my goal! I had to embark on the grueling task of changing my habits, thought patterns, daily routine and overall lifestyle. When “bad” habits are so ingrained, this is no easy feat. It takes really employing some specific visuals to keep you reminded of just what (and WHY!) you are on this journey.
Here are the basics for getting (and staying) motivated:
**SET WELL DEFINED SHORT & LONG TERM GOALS- think of these as your map. Your goals tell you where you are going. One common mistake people make is ONLY setting the long-term goal. This is like prepping for a marathon and only focusing on the very last mile. Short term goals (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) help you to stay focused, driven and motivated towards the LONG term goal!
A good short-term goal may be: “Month one, I will stop drinking cokes and replace with water”… as you accomplish this first short-term goal – have a small reward (NOT FOOD!!) set in place. Is it a new pair of workout shoes? Perhaps a subscription to your favorite fitness mag? Whatever it is, make sure it motivates you and gets you excited to keep going!
**KNOW YOUR REASONS. WOW. I can’t stress this enough! Your reasons are your main source of motivation! Do not just “know” them but write them down and keep them everywhere! Keep a list on your bathroom mirror, a note posted to your fridge. Reasons and GOALS should never be far out of sight. Remember, out of sight-out of mind. You need to have visuals of what you are doing and why. On the tough days, this will keep you pushing towards your goals.
**KEEP A JOURNAL- I know people who love this and others, well… not so much. Either way, in the beginning this is crucial. You are held accountable by what you write down. Be open and honest and track everything. What you eat, how you slept the night before, how your mood is. Not only will this help you in developing “patterns” and recognizing “weak” areas it will keep you very aware of what you are eating. You may start to notice patterns that take place when you do not sleep well (perhaps this results in you missing a workout etc). Basically, you can play detective through your journaling to start to better understand yourself and what does (and does not) work for you.
Understanding your body and your habits are key. When I embarked on my journey, keeping a journal really held me accountable to my food intake. I struggled with portion control and food addiction so this really helped open my eyes and kept me on track!
**MAKE A VISION BOARD- I am such a huge advocate of vision boards! I do one every time I feel I need an extra push and with each new year comes a new vision board! Did you know that MOST people are very “visual” beings?? What we surround ourselves with and what we “see” daily has the ability to motivate, encourage and inspire us straight to our goals! How cool is that?!
Your vision board can be as simple or fancy as you like. It is a collection of words/pictures and visuals made into a collage that reminds you of what your dreams, goals and passions are. They are so simple (and FUN!!) to make. Just get a poster board, scissors, tape/glue and a great big stack of your favorite magazines! I love doing “life” vision boards as well as “health” vision boards! When you are done, you will have a handy piece of art to hang on your wall as a constant reminder of what you are doing and what you are aiming for!!
As a side note, this makes for a FUN family night or girls night out! What better way than to eat healthy snacks and chat with your friends/family sharing goals and dreams?
**ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS– Whether it is your friend, spouse, neighbor or personal trainer…. YOU NEED SOMEONE TO HELP HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE! Tell your partner what your goals are and ask for their help in remaining accountable. This way, if you feel like you are slacking your partner can be there to remind and encourage you! We all need this. Be careful to choose a partner who will take your goals as seriously as you. Whoever is willing to help has to step up and be honest when the time comes that you need it (and you WILL need it!). I am honored to be an accountability partner to many and I LOVE this! I get so much pleasure from seeing my clients succeed at adopting healthy lifestyles.
**DECORATE YOUR REFRIGERATOR Put up pics of you “before” and what your goals are after! Have your reasons and goals (mentioned earlier) posted on the fridge. Food is NOT the culprit. It is our overconsumption of food and food choices that can lead to our demise. If you are eating because you really are hungry and it is time to eat great. However, if you are mindlessly eating having a decorated fridge will force you to do one last gut check before you dive in. 🙂
These are some of the most common tips I used to stay motivated and I use them time and time again with my clients to keep them on track and reaching goals! I encourage you today to seek out your reasons for getting healthy, set your goals, start keeping a food journal, make a vision board, find an accountability partner and decorate your fridge! I promise you that these visuals will help to keep you motivated and encouraged to keep on!
In closing, just remember this… YOU are worth it and your goals are worth it! You deserve to live a healthy, happy and optimal life full of energy! My healthy lifestyle paid me back twenty times over what I had to give up! What I GAINED by getting healthy far outweighed the temporary struggles I had to face. Each day is a fresh day. Keep a positive attitude and a strong WILL…. you will succeed!
Until next time, here is to living a healthy and happy life. Blessings!
About the Author:Alex & Ashley Poptodorov are owners of A+A Wellness in ATL, GA. They have over 30 years combined experience with 14 years of running their own fitness facility in Tampa & ATL. They relocated to ATL in 2013 and now offer Fitness, Nutrition, Lifestyle & Traditional Naturopathy programs including Online Coaching and their online Forum called the A+A Wellness 'Inner Circle'.