How to Stay Motivated When Making Health Changes
Often the problem isn’t wanting to change, or even taking the first step. The hardest part is finding a way to stay motivated once our initial enthusiasm wears off or we encounter setbacks. This is one reason so many of us struggle with keeping New Years Resolution
So, how to stop waiting for the perfect time or the perfect plan and get going?
In my mind, there’s only one way to get started: Take action, even if it’s small. This is the best and only way to create more energy and motivation. Excitement grows and catches on when we see progress.
Action breeds motivation, not the other way around.
If you are looking to make some lifestyle changes to improve your health and want to get (and stay) motivated, you’ve chosen a worthy cause! No matter which habit you’ve chosen to take on, I’ve found these seven steps can help keep motivation strong:
#1 Have a Clear Vision of Your Goal and Your “Why”
#2 Set Action Steps Toward Your Goal
It almost never works to jump into a new diet, fitness plan, and natural living lifestyle all at once. Figure out some smaller goals and put them on paper. Once you reach one goal, start on another.
Goals must be measurable and specific to be accomplished. Once you figure out the clear goal, you need a specific and measurable action plan to get there.
- If you want to improve your diet for health reasons… start meal planning.
- If you are trying to improve health and weight… measure yourself and take before pictures.
Tip: No matter what your goal, consider meal planning. There are many amazing tools to make it easier. Meal planning will save time, money, and mental energy in the long run and help stick to the goal.
#3 Create Checkpoints
Basically, instead of having weekly weigh-ins or daily tracking, try periodic “checkpoints” every few weeks or even months instead. This encourages a sense of internal competitiveness without getting focused on small details. It also gives you a long enough time to see measurable results (rather than getting discouraged that you aren’t running triathlons or fitting into size 4 jeans after your first week of training).
Tip: Set multiple checkpoints in increments of 8 weeks on your calendar or phone (otherwise, you’ll forget!). This is long enough for a new habit to actually sink in, not to mention stick. Compare each checkpoint to the last and try to beat it.
#4 Buddy Up for Accountability
If possible, have your spouse or a friend make these changes with you. Not only will you have the benefit of some company along the way, but this has been shown to improve long-term compliance to a plan.
Tip: Make sure you and your partner are on the same page on what the goal is and how to get there so you don’t derail each other by debating the small details along the way!
#5 Keep Learning
To keep your motivation high and focused on a goal, it is often helpful to remember why you formed the goal in the first place. Taking in new information — be it health, nutrition, or fitness-related — feeds the desire and keeps the flame burning!
Tip: Multitask and listen to an audiobook or podcast while showering, driving, or cleaning up.
Remember, there’s no wrong place to start… action in one area more often than not will lead to motivation in another!
Bottom Line: Baby Steps Make It Happen!