I bet many of you struggle to maintain motivation to eat healthy, be consistently physically active, and many other healthy lifestyle struggles.
As a Peer Fitness Trainer, I have recently started trying out a few challenges with some of my coworkers that I can tell want to make some changes in their lives. These challenges are still fairly recent and new, but so far they are appearing to be quite successful and a lot of fun for both myself and the person achieving them (way to go to those people who’ve successfully completed one of my challenges!).
But, it’s got me wondering…why do people need some sort of challenge from an external source (i.e. me) to hold them accountable for their actions? Why isn’t the internal motivation of “I want to be healthier” or “I want to feel better” or “I want my pants to fit better” enough?
I definitely don’t know the answer, but I do know that external motivation is the key factor in a lot of people achieving their health and wellness goals (myself included). Think about it…people sign up for a fitness class with a friend. Why? Because they know they will keep each other accountable and actually attend the classes. People sign up for group sports for the same reason…accountability. Money can also be a motivating factor….if I’m spending all this $$$ on these classes I better actually attend the classes. Weight loss groups work in a similar way…being held accountable to the group, or the weigh ins, or the inches lost, etc, etc, etc.
I don’t care what motivates you, but you HAVE to find that person or reason to get yourself going!! Here are some suggestions for keeping yourself motivated and accountable:
- Find a buddy! This would be my #1 recommendation! Find a friend who has the same interests as you (whether it’s fitness or nutrition) and hold each other accountable at all times. Start a FB group, or text message group and talk as often as you need to in order to stay on track.
- Ensure your goals are SMART:
S: Specific. “I’m going to walk 30min a day 3x a week” vs. “I’m going to walk more”
M: Measurable. “Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables a day” vs. “Eat more veggies”
A: Achievable. If you hate running, do NOT make a goal that you are going to run!
R: Realistic. “I’m going to do yoga 5x a week and run 3x a week and play soccer 4x a week…as well as work full time, spend time with your family, etc”. That is definitely not a realistic goal in my world!
T: Time. There has to be a deadline. For example…my first SMART goals I made with my coworkers had a deadline. Once that deadline hits I made contact with them to see how they did (and also contacted them through their challenge to see how it was going, and made them aware that they could contact me at any time). And, it allowed us to make new SMART goals with a new deadline.
- You have to want to make a change. Be honest with yourself. If you have no ambition or desire to make the change (no matter what it is or how big or small it is) it won’t be successful. Everyone wants to be healthier or fitter or look better in a bathing suit, but if you aren’t serious about it it’s not going to work. You just have to think a little harder about a more achievable or SMART goal that you actually want to accomplish and can be successful at.
- This one fits in with the “T” of SMART goals….but make sure your goal has a deadline. Training towards something will also help you be successful. Some examples…a run (there’s tons of races around Saskatchewan and area in the summer!), a physical test (our PFT test, a hiring physical, etc), your wedding, someone else’s wedding, a certain birthday/anniversary, etc, etc, etc. Having that end goal is often huge for people!
I can blabber on all I want about how to get motivated, but unless you find that thing that gets you started all this talk is just talk! I just hope one of my suggestions will sink in and help one of you!
Please comment and share with me what motivates you! I’d love to hear it!