It’s hard sticking to your health goals. You may feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book and nothing sticks except the weight you’re trying to get rid of.
There is hope!
After decades of helping people get fit and healthy, I’m familiar with the question, “now what?” What do you do to keep the weight off, keep your energy up, and keep your body healthy? How do you stay motivated enough to make a lifestyle switch and lose weight for good?
Today, I’ll walk with you through the seven steps that have kept me and many of my clients motivated. Keep reading so that you can lock in on your health goals for the long haul.
Your “why” is the desire behind your health goals. Without anchoring to these deeper desires, our health goals go right out the window as soon as our spouse pulls out the chips and beer and offers us some. If you don’t know your “why,” you’ll have nothing that can compete against the desire to munch on chips all night, and you and I both know that a goal to lose weight isn’t going to stand a chance against a cold beer on a summer evening.
Establishing your “why” and grounding yourself in it constantly will make it much easier to stay true to a healthy lifestyle. Your “why” doesn’t have to sound good, it just has to be on point for you. What are your deeper reasons for wanting to get fit? Your “why’s” might sound something like this:
Pick a few deep “why’s” that will beat chips any day of the week. Write them down, and put them somewhere you’ll see every morning. If you keep reminding yourself of your “why’s”, these deep motivations will do most of the battle for you.
After you’ve dialed in on your “why,” list out the health and fitness goals that will lead you there.
What are the habits you need to establish that will get you to where you want to go?
If you really want to feel confident at your daughter’s wedding what health goals are involved? The fitness goals that would get you to your “why” might look something like this:
Don’t get stuck here making sure your health goals are just right. Jot down all the differences you’d like to see in your health and wellness that’ll help you reach your “why.” Then, keep them updated. As time goes on, your goals will adjust, so revisit them on a weekly basis and make sure they’re up to date and applicable for that week.
Once the path is clear and you know what health goals you need to take to get to your “why,” it’s time to break down your health goals into small, achievable, and manageable steps. Health goals (especially weight loss ones) can feel overwhelming. If so, break them down into manageable steps that are set at a pace you can keep up with for life.
For example, if you want to lose a significant amount of weight, break that weight down into 5-pound increments, and give yourself enough time to reach this goal in a healthy and maintainable way. Remember, whatever you do to lose weight is what you need to do to keep it off. Skip the crash diets and stick with steps you can keep up consistently!
Continuing with our wedding analogy, your action steps might look like this:
Write down the action steps that will help you reach your goals and put them somewhere you’ll see every day. Remind yourself of what you need to do today in order to reach your goals and, ultimately, achieve those deeper “why’s.”
Make the journey a lot easier by eliminating obstacles that you think might get in your way or stop your progress. While an all-or-nothing mindset is too heavy for any of us to carry, give yourself your best shot at success by clearing the path so that you’ll easily be able to establish healthy habits.
If you can’t stand upper body workouts but want to feel confident in a sleeveless dress, note this obstacle. Find a solution now that’ll make that shoulder-toning goal easier and more enjoyable for you. Here’s how you could write it out:
Think ahead and set yourself up for success by eliminating potential obstacles that’ll get in the way. Make it as easy as possible for yourself to achieve your goals and reach that “why.”
Ever tried out a diet that has strict rules on the weekdays but gives you an “off” day on Saturday? No one has the self-control to restrict themselves for days and then make healthy decisions that are good for their health on an “off” day. Instead of setting up a system that’ll have you working against yourself, think of little rewards that will simultaneously move you towards your health goals.
Let’s get specific. If you’re trying to lose excess weight for good, you could set up these rewards that’ll keep you motivated and moving forward:
Pick rewards that work for you instead of against you. Brainstorm your favorite self-care ideas, like getting a new haircut, going out with friends for mani-pedis, hiking with your pup on a new trail, taking that hot yoga class with a friend, trying out a float tank, or having a spa day.
Whatever gets you motivated will do the trick, but don’t treat yourself like you would a dog. Skip the scooby snacks and stick with non-food rewards that’ll set you up for success next week.
Reaching our health goals certainly does not require perfection. There are times when our days are just that busy or our focus is needed elsewhere. If you’re a new mom, maybe all the time you can spare towards your health is to prioritize getting enough sleep and water each day. Rather than reaching for perfection, reflect on your goals and make sure they’re realistic enough to keep up with consistently.
If you’re overwhelmed and struggling to get everything done at once, it might be time to take a break. Be realistic about where you are right now so that you don’t crash and burn later. Don’t let off the gas and give up completely. When you start to feel like you’ve taken on too much, step back, reassess your goals, and keep moving forward at a more reasonable pace.
Don’t take on the journey solo. Daily support and accountability with others is one of the most powerful motivators I see people getting out of the LEAN program. Join a LEAN session where you can be with other people who are fighting the same battle with you.
Follow these seven steps. Fill your bathroom mirror with sticky notes about your “why’s,” your goals, your action steps, any obstacles, and healthy rewards. Skip perfection, and watch your motivation grow along your health journey.