Hey, Fit Friends!
One of the things that on everyone’s mind right now is motivation. Summer is coming, and everyone is thinking that it’s time to get serious about getting in shape and taking care of myself. A lot of times, because we wear clothing that shows more of our body in the summer, it tends to get people’s attention in a little bit of a different way. Here’s my question for you today: How do you find long term motivation? It’s a whole lot easier to tell yourself that you’re only going to commit to something for 30 days, because you’re going on a trip or something, and then those 30 days are up and you think you don’t have to do anymore. The motivation is gone. What I want to talk to you about today is how to continue to make progress. How you can continue to stay motivated after that 30 days.
I haven’t always been as dedicated and habitual with my workouts and my healthy eating. There were definitely times in my life where I was doing absolutely nothing. Nothing. But here’s the thing that has helped me: I formed a habit. When I intentionally formed a habit and scheduled it into my day, and I mean literally- every day I schedule time to work out, and I also schedule in time for meal planning and prep. I do my very best to set myself up for success. Does this happen overnight? NO! It takes time. It takes time to learn what works for you and learn how to fit it all into your world. It’s not easy. However, when we think of summer coming (which is in about 2 months, by the way), it’s easy to feel the pressure of that and want to use it as a motivator to make some positive changes. For those of you that really get serious, buckle down and take the bull by the horns, you can make a lot of progress between now and then. Wouldn’t it be nice to wear the bikini or the shorts, or whatever it is you’ve been dying to wear… what if you could wear that item of clothing and feel totally confident? Or, what if you could just feel good from the inside out? Maybe it has nothing to do with what you’re wearing, maybe it’s just about how you feel. Do you have more energy when you workout and fuel your body correctly? Do you sleep better? Do you have less cravings? I could go on and on about the benefits of taking steps to be active.
But what happens when the program ends after 30 days? What happens when you’ve made it through the summer and fall starts to come? Are you going to keep it up and stay motivated? One of the things I really want you to stop and think about is- when you start the process, what happens in your body? How do you feel both physically and mentally? I want you to stop and really take note of those things. Really analyze. When you really start to hone in on how much better you feel and you know it’s because of these positive changes you’ve made, it makes you want to continue to do it, right? It’s fairly easy to do something for 30 days, but it takes consistent effort to turn it into something that you’re going to continue to do day after day, month after month and year after year.
With long term motivation in mind, I wanted to share with you a few tips. These are things that have helped me stay motivated and accountable. They’ve helped me stay on track for the long term.
- Be patient and give yourself grace. What do I mean by that? Well, when you first start working out and eating right and trying to live a healthier lifestyle, you’re going to stumble. You can get crabby, your muscles get sore, you’re not used to this new routine, so it’s a whole lot different that your normal. We all want instant gratification, but that’s not always realistic. You know a lot of times when people first start working out and eating right, they actually gain weight? Not kidding! I can tell you when I first started doing workouts at home, I kid you not, the scale never changed after my first 60 day program. For 7 weeks! I did not see any movement for 7 weeks on that scale. What I didn’t realize until I compared before and after pictures, was how my body was changing. There were lots of positive changes taking place, they just weren’t happening on the scale. So please be patient with yourself and give yourself grace! Do not expect it to be perfect, do not expect it to be easy. You’ve got to continue to show up, for yourself, every single day- no matter what.
- Don’t measure progress by the number on the scale. How many of you weigh yourselves every day, or every other day? I see so many people that allow the scale to be their end all be all and it determines whether they’re happy that day, or they’re upset that day. It determines whether they feel good about themselves or not. I weigh myself once a week, that’s my personal preference. Here’s what I want to say- there are so many other ways to measure your progress. SO many other ways that have NOTHING to do with what that scale says. Do not let the scale be the last word in your success. Measure your inches. Watch and see how they change in your waist, your hips, your arms, your thighs, really pay attention to that. Ask yourself how your clothes are fitting. The way your clothes fit can tell you so much about your progress and it has absolutely nothing to do with the scale. And certainly check in with yourself and pay attention to how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling better, than it really doesn’t matter because you know that you’re making progress in your quality of life every single day. Another thing you can do to measure non-scale progress, is take pictures. Take progress pictures and look at them to remind yourself of how far you’ve come. These photos can truly amaze you. We see our bodies every day, so we don’t always notice the changes. But if you take pictures and you compare day 1 with day 30 and then day 60, you will be shocked at what you see if you can stay committed.
- Pay attention to how much better you feel. If you have kids, you know how super busy they are- you’ve got constant activities all over the place, sometimes it can feel like you’re running around in circles. If you see a change in your energy level that allows you to keep up with your kids and not constantly feel tired at three o’clock in the afternoon, then celebrate that. Allow it to be a motivator for the long term.
- Make it a habit. Just like brushing your teeth every day. Working out and eating right needs to be habitual. It doesn’t mean that it has to take hours upon hours, it means you plan it into your day. You figure out where you can fit it in and how you can set yourself up for success. Just move your body for 30 minutes. That could mean taking a walk, it could mean working out at home, it could mean going to the gym, or going for a run. It can mean whatever you want it to mean, but move your body for 30 minutes. Also, make sure that you’re planning your meals each week so it becomes a habit, and you’re always thinking ahead about what you’re going to eat and how you’re going to fuel yourself.
It’s a journey and it takes time. Please do your best not to have the “quick fix” mindset. Do your best not to think of this as just a 30 day change. Why put all that effort in for 30 days and then just watch it scatter to the wind? You will feel so much better and the quality of your life will be improved if you can just make time for yourself. There is time in every day. I promise you if you are able to make this commitment to yourself, you won’t regret it. You will eventually find that you’re thinking in the long-term. Remember- every step you take matters. It’s progress and progress matters.
Y’all have a blessed day!