Made a great start with your exercise or nutrition plan but fell off the bandwagon and struggling to get back on track? You’re not alone. They say for the majority of people it takes six weeks to make or break a habit, but habit-formation aside, if you’ve adopted a fitness or diet regime that doesn’t fit in with your ‘normal’ life, you may struggle to keep it up in the long term.
Here are some of our top tips to help get back your motivation mojo.
Make small changes for long-term results
It may not be the fast-fix answer you were hoping for, but breaking down your overall goal into smaller goals and implementing them one at a time can be the best thing to keep you on track for long-term results.
Write them down (this makes them real!) and pick just one or two smaller goals to work on that will have the biggest effect on your results right now. It may take a few weeks or a month, but once you have mastered these goals, look over your list again and repeat the process.
Tip: Start off with a super simple goal to start with. When you achieve it, you’ll feel great for sorting it out and this will motivate you to move onto your next goals.
Plan, plan, plan
The best nutrition and exercise programmes will fail at some point if you don’t take the time to plan ahead. Whether it’s baking on a Sunday afternoon for the week’s lunches, including healthy foods in your weekly shopping, packing your food the night before work, booking a personal training session or planning to attend a group fitness class, all of these tasks run smoother if you take the time to plan ahead.
Diaries, phone planners and lists are your friend. If you have trouble planning like this, consider booking a session with a health, nutrition or fitness professional who offers life coaching assistance to help you figure out a system that works for you.
Get your routine sorted
Routine can help you get on track and stay there when it comes to exercise. Look at your schedule and note your must-do’s – work, school, family activities, social commitments…
Think about how many exercise sessions you want to include each week and try to regulate the day and time they are on. For example, Monday evenings a gym cardio class, Tuesday mornings a hilly walk, Wednesday evenings a personal training session or weights class. These should be regular, planned exercise sessions that are in your diary and happen no matter what.
These sessions should have some flexibility. If you aren’t feeling well and an intense session is planned, swap it out for light stretching or a walk so that you keep up your habit. If a friend wants to train with you instead of your usual planned workout, train with them instead to add variety to your schedule. If you have an event that means you have to cancel a session, see if you can swap it with your rest day instead.
When you’ve finished your plan, take a look over your routine and ensure you’ve left at least one rest day (this is important for your body to recover), some time to put your feet up and relax, some time to socialise with friends, and some time to spend with family. If your routine sacrifices these things, you will likely find it difficult to maintain in the long-term.
Find your true motivation
Have you put plenty of thought into why you are doing this? If you don’t have a really good reason behind your changes, you will struggle to work towards achieving it.
Your true reason for making lifestyle changes must be compelling enough to keep you motivated. For example, people rarely exercise just for the sake of losing weight; it’s usually something emotion-related – the way an old dress fits, wanting to feel confident on a wedding day, or being able to keep up with the grandchildren running around a park.
Make a list of all the good things you will get out of making your planned changes, and circle which one of these is your key motivator. Revisit this list if you start losing motivation so you will be reminded of the real reason why you’re going to all the trouble of altering your lifestyle.
Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – marcolm