Arguably, one of the toughest aspects of getting healthy is staying motivated to see the tiny results we hope to see over long periods of time. We quickly forget it took months, even years, to get to our current unhealthy states yet we want instant results…
Any expert will tell you consistency is the key. Its been stated that it takes 30 days to form a habit…so goes it with working out. We have to develop habits over time that will yield the results we seek. That all begins with our minds. We have to accept the fact we want to change for the good and begin making plans to achieve what we want. Then put it all into action and stick with it. Easy peasy right? Not so much.
I venture to say all of us at one time or another have committed in our minds to a work out plan, diet, or “New Year’s Resolution”. The caveat came when we failed to execute those thoughts. I struggled for many years to get a plan together that “worked” for me. I had many reason why I couldn’t work out, eat right, whatever. The problem was never my plans, those usually were pretty solid. It was me, my attitude and my actions that kept me from succeeding. I failed each time before I even began.
Nutrition is the biggest key for me and I believe for many. If I asked you, “Would you knowingly put diesel fuel in your gasoline engine?” You will tell me no. Why? Because it will wreck your car and be costly to repair. So I asked myself, “Should I knowingly put junk fuel into my body?” You get the picture. Bad fuel will result in bad results, poor health physically, and mentally. Without proper nutrition you cant concentrate and focus. The beauty of this is it is simple to eat healthy. You have to change you habits (see comment above) but by eliminating the junk, chips, soda, cookies, large portions (yes…large portions! Overeating even healthy food does you no good. Your body can only process so much at one time. Give your body what it needs and no more and it will respond back in kind.) Healthy eating will give you an energy that will help to keep you motivated to continue building these habits. Nutrition was the biggest hurdle for me. When I am eating right, I always feel ready for a workout.
Keep it simple. We have all heard that. If you are new to working out don’t sign up for the Kona Ironman next month! Take it in steps. Find something that is convenient and works into your schedule. (You will be surprised at how much time you find to work out) minutes to an hour a day amounts to 4% of your day. If you cant give 4%…well.
Try and find a partner or a group to work out with. Accountability goes a long way to helping you stay motivated and on track. I run or bike almost every day with my buddy Dan. We have both had days we did not want to work out. But both of us know how important it is to the other one and barring a few days with injury or illness we both make strong efforts to be there to help the other stay accountable.
Set goals. I cant emphasize this enough. Without goals you can easily become overwhelmed with everything. Write them down, check them off, treat yourself when you accomplish them. One of my biggest helps is that after a race of any kind, I allow myself to eat…no limits. I take that one afternoon to treat myself to my comfort foods and then I go back to my clean eating. Am I perfect? No, I do sneak treats no and then. But I have built up strong healthy habits that allow me the occasional cheat without getting me off track.
So there you have it…keep it simple, have some accountability, set your goals. There is a bunch of hard work in-between all of that but that really is the foundation to making progress.