Happy 2015 everyone! It has been over a week since the ball dropped. If you are starting to feel less committed towards your health resolutions, I am here to say "don't give up"! 2015 can be your healthiest year yet, you just have to persevere!! Here are seven tips to help you stay motivated in 2015!
1. Aim to "trend positive"
Instead of falling into the all too common trap of making unrealistic health goals, simply aim to "trend positive". Meaning, perfection is not possible, so instead of setting yourself up for failure aim to simply make more healthy choices in 2015 than you did in 2014!
2. Stay in your own lane!
Your health process is exactly that, YOUR health process. Don't get caught up in what trendy diets your friends are trying, or not trying. When you go out to eat with friends or family don't let their choices dictate your choices. Plan in advance what you will drink and eat -- then don't give into peer pressure. Don't be judgmental of your friends when they want to eat and drink certain things, but don't eat cake just to be in "solidarity" with them. Be your own health boss - stay in your own lane.
3. Take the time to "Set yourself up for success."
Preparation, preparation, preparation!!
Most of us make what I call "fitness wishes" instead of fitness goals. Without follow-through, simply saying "I am going to work out" is basically the same thing as wishing you will get fit. Turn your wish into a reality by establishing realistic and specific goals.
Take the time to brainstorm how you can actually accomplish your goals. Write down (or record with an app) your weekly goals. Figure out how you will accomplish each goal. If you know you can't make it to a gym, build a home gym. Need help being accountable? Find a gym buddy. Never make it to the gym after work? Go before work. Make your plan specific. For example say "I am going to meet my friend at the gym three times per week after work. When I have evening work events I will walk at lunch".
Each week reflect on what you did well and areas that need improvement. Then, figure out how you can reproduce your positive health choices. Next, anticipate future roadblocks and find solutions for the problems in advance.
4. Use my "30 and 10" rules.
When you want to eat an unhealthy treat, or have a second helping you don't need, wait 30 minutes. Do something -- wash the dishes, or take a shower -- something to keep you busy for the 30 minutes. Usually after thirty minutes you won't want the treat, you will be absorbed in the other activity. If after thirty minutes you decide you are legitimately hungry -- versus tired or sad -- have a healthy snack.
When you want to skip your workouts use my "10-minute rule". Make yourself do something for at least ten minutes. Usually once you start moving you will just continue, but if you stop after ten minutes at least you have done something.
5. Take the treat "test".
Go ahead, treat yourself, life is worth living, but before you do ask yourself two questions.
"Do I love it"? Your treat should be something you really want, not just whatever is around.
"Is this an appropriate portion"? Have an appropriate portion of something you love. Don't gorge -- you can always have another moderate portion tomorrow.
6. Focus on recovery.
Exercise stresses the body. It is only a positive stress IF you give your body the ingredients it needs to recover.
Prioritize sleep and eating well! Your body recovers while you sleep, and a healthy diet helps your muscles and connective tissue repair and become stronger. Schedule time to stretch and get regular body work like massage or use the foam roller.
Need more incentive to prioritize recovery? Sleeping can help control your weight. The less you sleep the more ghrelin hormone your body produces, which means your appetite will increase. Plus, IF YOU DO NOT SLEEP ENOUGH you will produce less leptin, which is the hormone that helps your body feel satiated.
7. Talk to yourself.
The next time you want to make an unhealthy choice talk yourself through how you will feel depending on the choice you make. The unhealthy choice might feel good in the moment, but consider how you will feel in three hours.
For example, when I want to skip a workout I tell myself, yes, if I skip my workout I can relax, but the quality of my relaxation time will be compromised. I will be metaphorically kicking myself the entire time.
On the flip side, if I am active, even for 20 minutes, I will enjoy relaxing. Plus, I will feel great. My entire day will be better.
The main take-away is that setbacks will happen, so be prepared and don't let them derail your progress. Learn from the experience so you don't make the same decision again. Don't aim for perfection, instead aim to "trend positive". Persevere!