You started your healthy eating or exercise plan full of excitement and motivation. Then you had a hard week, found all the work onerous, weren't seeing the results you wanted, and before you know it, you're back to binging on Netflix and nachos.
You may be asking yourself 'Why does it have to be so hard?' The truth is, it doesn't! But you need to learn some tricks of the trade to ensure that your new habits feel easy, simple and fun or you will never stick with them in the long run.
See, it's really easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and if your new habits feel challenging to implement and don't fit in with your lifestyle, your best intentions will fall by the wayside and you find yourself at the bottom of your priority list, once again.
To help make sure this doesn't happen to you, yet again, I have compiled some of the best tips and tricks that I have learned from coaching clients over the past five years, that will help put you and your goals back on the radar.
Know Your Why
To keep your motivations strong, you need to know why you are on this path in the first place. I know you may want to lose weight or look good in a bikini, but why do you want those things? If you're not sure, a trick you can use is to ask yourself why five times to get to your real purpose. As Nietzsche said, 'He who has a why... can endure almost any how'.
Put Yourself On The Schedule
Scheduling an appointment with yourself, whether it is time for meal preparation or a workout, ensures that everyone else's needs don't always trump yours. Treat the appointment like you would any other appointment - don't be late, don't reschedule and don't cancel. Remember, what gets scheduled, gets done!
Don't Rely On Willpower Alone
One of the biggest mistakes people make is relying solely on their willpower to reach their goals. Our willpower is finite and gets depleted throughout the day, which is why we find ourselves with low motivation by the time evening rolls around. Instead, set up your environment so it's easy for you to stick to your plan. Don't keep junk food in the house, have workouts ready to go on your phone, or find a workout partner to help motivate you.
Set SMART Goals
Set Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Time-Sensitive (SMART) goals and track your progress. Sometimes we are blind to how far we have come in our journey. Tracking your goals and seeing your progress will boost your motivation and keep you going. It will also help you recognize when adjustments are needed.
Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to reach your (outcome) goal, is to set daily behaviour goals to go along with it. These are goals that you will be putting into action and repeating on a daily basis. Repeating these goals will bring you closer to your outcome goal and will help ingrain these positive habits into your life, so that they are there to stay.
Success Breeds Success
Ask yourself how confident you are that you can put your daily behaviour goal into action. Measure this on a scale from 1 (no way) to 10 (no problem). If you pick 9 or 10, then go ahead and implement that action. See, the easier the behaviour is, the more likely you are to succeed, which will boost your self-confidence and motivate you to keep going.
Using positive words, repeating affirmations, having a positive outlook, and expecting success are incredibly powerful motivators. Instead of beating yourself up all the time for your setbacks try to identify the positives in the situation, such as what was learned from it. Remember, you attract what you are and being positive will attract positive things to you.
Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
Being around like-minded individuals can have a huge impact on your ability to maintain your new lifestyle, especially if your social support is lacking at home. Sports teams, fitness classes, private Facebook groups and meet-ups are all great places to get the support and motivation you need.
Commit To Something
Signing up for a race or competition is one of the best ways to ensure you will follow through on your commitment. The act of putting down cash is a great motivator for people and it can help bring out your competitive side. If competing is not your thing, then signing up for some personal training sessions or registering for a class can work as well.
Don't Expect Perfection
Life is messy and unpredictable and is guaranteed to knock us off our feet now and again. Expect this going in and make contingency plans ahead of time. Put the guilt aside, brush yourself off, and keep moving forward towards your destination. Remember, it's not about perfection, it's about consistency.
Celebrate Your Success
When you reach one of your goals, celebrate! Rewarding ourselves with things we enjoy makes us feel good, which motivates us to repeat the desired behaviour. In my experience, the best rewards are based on experiences, as we tend to remember those better than the items we purchase.
Change It Up
If you find your motivation waning, you might just be bored. Finding new activities or foods that you enjoy can make the difference between quitting and succeeding. Whenever you find yourself in a rut, try a new activity, take a cooking class, or recruit a workout partner. If it's been a few months, it may even be time to set a new goal!
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Ebner noted that many exercisers use improper hand placement when performing push-ups. “Positioning your elbows wider than your hands can cause elbow and wrist pain and overuse of your triceps,” he said. Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Click Here to See Exercises People Do Wrong Most Often
For proper push-up form, place your hands directly under your shoulders and be sure to keep a neutral spine in order to prevent your hips from pushing up towards the ceiling or sagging towards the floor. Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
When performing a plank, it’s important to make sure that your spine remains neutral. Many people make the mistake of pushing their hips up towards the ceiling or letting them sink towards the floor. Both reduce the effectiveness of the exercise and the latter causes the lower back to sag. “A sagging lower back can cause back pain and excessive strain at the shoulders,” Ebner pointed out. Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Click Here to See Exercises People Do Wrong Most Often
The main purpose of the plank is to strengthen the core, which is why it’s important to focus on engaging your abdominal muscles. “Keep your core tight and don’t lock out your elbows,” Ebner explained. Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Ebner said two of the most common lunge mistakes include lifting your front heel off the floor and bending your front knee too far forward to the point where it extends over your foot. Click Here to See Exercises People Do Wrong Most Often Photo Credit: Courtesy of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
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