Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what will keep you going. Those are the words you need to remember when figuring out how you’re going to reach your goals on your fitness journey. There are going to be days when you have absolutely no motivation to go to the gym and workout. By making your workout routine a habit, you won’t need motivation to stick to it.
Of course, it takes about 21 days for something to become a habit. That means that, for the next few weeks, you need to remember your motivation and why you are starting this routine. Everyone has their own unique reason why they are getting fit. Drilling down to the bottom of that reason will help you find a personalized way to get and stay motivated until you build fitness as a habit.
When finding out your “why”, you just need to sit back and think for a few moments. Obviously, you probably like the idea of looking better and being more attractive. But what else is driving you? You can’t be motivated solely by outward appearances.
Do you want to get healthier? Drill deeper down into that idea. Maybe health issues run in your family or maybe you have experienced some in the past. Getting fitter can help you overcome and prevent illness. Think about how getting fit and eating better is going to benefit your health, and what that means to you. Are you a mom or dad? Do you want to be? These are the things you should be thinking about.
Do you want to feel more confident? Many people say that their current looks are holding them back. But it’s not just looks when you begin to think about it. You might lack the energy to get out and do the things you want to do. You might not be athletic enough to go and try new things. Your current physical fitness is holding you back in more ways than one.
These are just a couple of the main reasons people cite when they’re asked why they are starting on their fitness journey. Don’t hesitate to dig deeper into your why and figure out exactly what’s motivating you to get going with this journey. Maybe you want to prove to yourself that you can do it. Maybe you want to improve your willpower. Maybe you want to find your inner strength. Figure out your reasoning, because that’s the first step.
After you have determined why you want to go after your fitness goals, you need to determine exactly what those goals are. You’re not going to get ripped overnight. You can’t even do it in a week. Just like you can’t lose 50 pounds in month. Most people, with enough effort, can consistently lose 1 pound/week, which puts you at around a year to reach such a big goal.
Be realistic when you set your weight loss goals. Look at the long-term results of your actions and think about what changes you can make to reach certain goals on a certain timeline. Reverse engineering your goals is a good way to (1) see if they are realistic and achievable and (2) adjust them accordingly so you know what you can reach by when.
For example, if you need to lose 100 pounds and you vow to do that in the New Year, you must do the math to see what implications that has. You’d have to lose about 2 pounds per week consistently in order to reach that goal. That is the maximum amount that most health professionals suggest, and the calorie restriction and exercise required to keep that up is tremendous. You’d be better off giving yourself more time.
Now, as you start to think about weight loss and fitness goals, there is a very important subject worth touching on: the evil of the scale. Far too many individuals who were otherwise doing very well with their fitness and nutrition have gotten discouraged or given up hope all together because they were focusing on the scale.
It didn’t matter that they had more energy. It didn’t matter that their jeans were a tad bit looser. It didn’t matter that they could run after their kids without a stopping to catch their breath. They got so caught up by that number on the face of the scale that they ignored all other signs and victories that were proving that their efforts were paying off. Ultimately, the scale took away all the gratitude and success they should have been experiencing.
More and more health professionals are advising people to stay away from the scale. People say weigh once a week or once a month, so you don’t obsess over it. I say don’t weight at all. The issue with only occasionally weighing is that you are still paying attention to those numbers, and you expect to either see them trend up or down depending on your goal.
Our body weight fluctuates constantly. If you got up this morning and weighed yourself, laid back down to do nothing, and then got up to weigh yourself again a few hours later, your weight would be different. It might be ounces different, but it would still change. In general, our weight fluctuates by up to 10 pounds because of water weight alone.
If you jump onto the scale once a week, who’s to say that you won’t get on the scale at a time or day when your weight happens to be a bit higher? You think, “Oh no, I’m up 3 pounds!” when you would have weighed in yesterday with weight loss to show. The scale simply isn’t reliable. It will show trends over time, but most people get far too caught up with the numbers and the little changes that occur to keep themselves motivated.
Throw your scale out. You don’t need it. Instead, what you need to be doing is paying attention to those NSVs, or Non-Scale Victories that are occurring every day. Pat yourself on the back for making smart decisions and realize that weight loss is not linear. When you make changes for the better and plan to stick to them long-term, you will see so many benefits that the scale cannot calculate.
However, having a way to track your progress is important for both motivation and so you know that you’re making the right decisions for your body. Measurements are a fantastic way to do this as they are more honest and telling than the scale is. Measuring once a week is a good idea but realize that bloat and some other factors can still throw things off by some centimeters.
Take measurements at multiple points and, even more so, take progress photos. When you look at yourself in the mirror every day, it can be difficult to see the little changes taking place. People who haven’t seen you in a while will surely notice, but it’s even better to take photos and compare them side-by-side every few weeks so you can spot the changes that are happening.
Take one now and then take one once a month. Always compare your monthly photo to the photo you first took and look at all the progress you have made. Realize that there aren’t going to be drastic changes from one month to the next, but with time, you are going to compare A to B, and you are going to be astounded by how different you look.
As a final tip to get yourself motivated and hold yourself accountable as you work to turn fitness into a habit, don’t be afraid to talk to others about your weight loss or fitness goals. In fact, finding people who share the same goals or have similar goals can do wonders for your progress.
Whether online or in person, speaking to people about the journey you are starting and the goals you have put out there for yourself will help hold you accountable. If you feel like giving up, think about how you won’t just be letting yourself down, you’ll also be letting down all the people around you who are believing in you and rallying for your success.
This is a topic that few fitness gurus touch on, but it is worth explaining. It is no secret that what you think affects how you feel. In turn, how you feel affects how you act. When you feel down, you are sluggish. You’re slower. You don’t put as much energy or effort in. That affects your performance.
However, the mind-body connection isn’t just about your being happy or being sad. To truly benefit from the mind-body connection, you must embody the feelings of success and empowerment. You must start every workout in your head, hyping yourself up. Remind yourself of why you’re doing this and what you’re going after.
Get yourself excited to work out. When you take a few minutes before you start lifting or before you begin your cardio session to talk to yourself and get yourself revved for the workout ahead, you will put in so much more energy during your workout. If this strategy didn’t work, athletes around the world would just sit in silence before a game.
There is a strong connection between your mental health and your physical health. This is a connection that has been pondered for hundreds of years, and it is now being studied by science as we start to learn all the ways that your brain affects your body.
When you think good thoughts and you make yourself feel good, that releases endorphins and other hormones that fuel your body and boost your mood. That helps your performance tremendously. On the other hand, if you walk into the gym feeling down, those endorphins aren’t going to be flowing and it is going to take a lot more willpower to get moving.
Of course, the mind-body connection also goes the other way. It’s a two-way feed. Exercise causes more endorphins to be released in your body, which in turn makes you feel better. So, if you did walk into the gym and you really weren’t feeling it, bringing yourself to start working out would boost your mood and make you happier.
The point is, you can’t separate your physical fitness from your mental state. Your mind and body are connected. Keeping that in mind and helping them work together will make your fitness journey so much easier.
Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. My Life Fitness products and programs are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for individual medical advice.
© My Life Fitness LLC 2019