Many of our guests tell us that staying motivated is their biggest health challenge. They are definitely not alone! If you’re feeling discouraged about your health, fitness level, or weight loss goals, know that you can give yourself a reset at any time. Relax, be kind to yourself, and consider these new approaches to motivation.
Focus on Your Intentions and Behavior – Not On Other People
It’s so common to choose a goal based on an extrinsic motivator – that is, input from an outside source. Let’s say someone remarks that you’ve gained weight. After your initial feelings of shock or shame subside, you immediately make your mind up to get leaner. A short time later, you lose steam. You feel like you should lose weight, but you haven’t given much thought as to why. Is one rude comment enough to change your whole lifestyle?
When you’re setting a goal, ask yourself why. What do YOU want from your health journey? Less pain, more energy, injury recovery, less reliance on medication, to get back into a healthy weight range? Zero in on what makes the goal meaningful to you. If you can’t come up with anything, your willpower and motivation won’t be able to see you through. You may need to adjust your goals accordingly.
From there, think about the behaviors that derail your goals, and once again look at why you’re doing them. If you come home exhausted after a long day at work, your go-to relaxation behavior might be to drink a few glasses of wine. Sure, you get the relaxation and mind-clearing effects you’re after, but it detracts from the other things you want. Find a healthy behavior to swap it with – like a short yoga practice or taking a few minutes to meditate in a relaxing spot.
You can’t control all of the stressful or exhausting cues in your life, but you CAN make better decisions about how you react to them.
Nix the Weight Fixation
Sometimes, it feels like you’re doing everything right, yet the number on the scale isn’t dropping. It’s frustrating enough to quit.
How can you avoid the stubborn-scale blues? Don’t use your weight as the only marker of your success. For one, you don’t need to weigh a certain amount in order to start feeling better or becoming more physically capable. And even if weight loss is a priority for you, fluctuations are natural, and the scale gives an incomplete picture of your changing body’s overall health.
Body composition – that is, the amount of fat and muscle on your body – is a more important indicator of overall success. If you have access to this kind of body composition testing, go for it! You’ll see interesting, trackable data about your body that can help you stay successful over the long term. We perform these types of screenings at Skyterra and we can help you define appropriate goals.
Move Away from the “All or Nothing” Mindset
OK, so let’s say you’ve defined a goal and even made a plan on how to get there. For the first few days or even weeks, you’re inspired, motivated, and you hit it hard. Your workouts are well-planned and challenging, you overhaul the way you eat, and for a short time, your daily routine dramatically changes … then, it all falls apart. After missing workouts or overeating a few too many times, you start to think “Why bother?”
It's important to tone down your approach and take pride in small victories, especially as you get started. It’s good to be ambitious, but a too-fast too-soon routine can be downright unsustainable. Little steps that last a long time help you reach your goals more effectively than a “perfect” routine that you only sustain for a few days.
Find Your Supportive Community
When you try to pursue a lifestyle change, not everyone may be supportive. The people in your life might be indifferent or discouraging – sometimes, even your loved ones.
Tune out those disapproving or judgmental voices. As we’ve mentioned, one thing that can help is to choose a goal that is truly meaningful to you – that way, you can focus on your own internal voice telling you what matters.
Another approach is to find a new supportive community. Attending a wellness retreat is one way to meet people on a similar path. If that’s not an option, your support network could include a trainer, the group or gym that you workout with, or even online friends and communities. When you don’t have anyone in your offline life that has been through your journey, online forums are full of people facing the same challenges that you are.
We encourage you to open up about your own experience. Sharing your challenges and life lessons can help align you with people who are on a similar path, and inspire others who are not as far along. It also helps you stay accountable. Community is an essential aspect of balanced lifelong wellness.
Visualize Your Success
Do you feel like you’re “just not the type of person” who does the kind of work it needs to take to meet your health goals? You want to lose weight, but you can’t imagine lifting weights twice a week or changing your eating habits. You know you need to, but it just doesn’t feel like “you.”
Good news – there’s a free and effective practice that can help you change your self-perception. Through visualization, you can see yourself as the type of person who lifts weights, eats mindfully, runs a 5K, or anything else.
When you’re feeling sluggish or unmotivated, take a few minutes to close your eyes and breathe. In your mind’s eye, picture yourself doing the activity as accurately as you can. Imagine yourself getting out of bed in the morning without hitting snooze, bundling up in your favorite workout clothes, and heading out into the fresh air for a brisk morning walk. Picture your neighborhood in the early morning light. Imagine your lungs taking in air and your heart rate gently elevated, making you feel alive and well.
Feels good, right? Picturing yourself doing the things you want to do makes them more doable.
Manage Stress With Mindfulness Practices
Ahh, stress. Left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on your body and throw your good intentions out the window. After a stressful day, the last thing you want to do is lace up your sneakers. You’d rather dig into your favorite comfort foods or grab a beer.
Instead, try a short mindfulness practice like breathwork, meditation, or yoga. Through gentle focus and deep breathing, you can tone down your body’s stress response and tap into the more logical part of your brain. This makes it easier to make healthier decisions. Suddenly, taking the time for a quick workout doesn’t seem so hard anymore.
No matter where you are on your wellness journey, you deserve to take care of yourself just like you take care of your loved ones. Just because you don’t have the body or the level of health that you want, doesn’t mean that you are “less than.”
When your goals seem far off, give yourself credit for any and every step in the right direction. Positive self-talk goes a long way in maintaining a good self-image. Remind yourself that you deserve the things that you want – and it’s worth putting in the effort to achieve them.
Seek Expert Advice
Lastly, we sometimes lose motivation out of sheer frustration. Injured? In pain? Putting in the gym time, but not seeing results? Does your diet leave you feeling hungry? These are all some indications that you might benefit from some expert advice.
Instead of quitting, use any resources that are available. Everyone is different, and with so much free advice out there, it’s hard to know which advice is best for you. At Skyterra, we can meet you where you are on your personal journey and identify the adjustments you need in order to make progress. Book now to get started.