How many times have you started a new diet and achieved results only to hit a setback and end up discouraged and feeling worse than ever? This is all too familiar for those who diet or try fad exercise programs designed to generate quick results. Many people find that living a healthy lifestyle of eating well and staying active is a more effective approach to maintaining sustained results. And yet, motivation can ebb and flow, and the temptation to fall into old, bad habits can be great. Here are 7 ways to stay motivated when times are tough.
1. Celebrate small victories
When you make it through a day without resorting to old habits and sticking to your new, healthier routine, give yourself a reward. Take a hot bubble bath. Enjoy a cup of tea and a good book. Whatever nurtures you without compromising your health is a good way to celebrate.
2. Remind yourself why you’re doing this
Remember how you used to feel before you made these changes? What, exactly, prompted the changes in the first place? Remembering the initial motivators might not always be pleasant, but it might be a necessary reality check to keep you on track.
3. Practice patience
While motivation can come and go, momentum is a force that’s not easy to stop. But momentum takes time to build. Stay in the day and put one foot in front of the other. Set small goals that are achievable. Slowly and surely, you will build a momentum that will carry you far.
4. Don’t be afraid of success
Fear of success might be more common than fear of failure. What does it mean if you succeed at living a healthy lifestyle? Does it mean you’ll never get to enjoy a candy bar or a piece of cake again? A feeling of being out of control can sometimes accompany success, and your instinct is to regain it by indulging or falling back. Don’t give in. Look in the mirror at your success and be grateful for it.
5. Find things you love
If everything you’re doing in your healthy lifestyle feels like a chore, it will be much harder to stay motivated. Find activities you love, whether it’s swimming in the ocean, walking with a friend or riding your bike in new areas. Find healthy foods you love—rediscover the joys of fruit. Find new ways to prepare vegetables that you’ve never tried before. Experiment with new spices and new ideas.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Everyone makes mistakes. If you do revert to old habits, learn from the experience and move on. Use the knowledge you gained to remind yourself the next time where that road will lead. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up and risk setting off a downward spiral.
7. Strengthen yourself with numbers
One of the surest ways to stick to an agreement is to have other people to be accountable to. Find a community of healthy people with similar goals and lean on them for support. Find people who are living the life you want to live and ask for their advice. Then follow it. Shake, stir, repeat.
If you’re feeling in need of a fresh dose of motivation, print this list and hang it on your wall where you can see it every day. Let it remind you of the steps you can take to keep up the good work and reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Get out of town, literally. Those who take at least two vacations a year have a lower risk of divorce and are less likely to be tired, anxious or depressed.
Munch on carrots! Carrots are a valuable source of vitamin A. Not only are these veggies delicious, they can help improve vision and maintain healthy eyes.
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