One of the biggest problems people tend to have with getting back in shape is finding the motivation not only to start their fitness journey, but to also continue it once things begin to get difficult. Why is it that you can see a single mother of four post amazing fitness selfies, even though she works two jobs, but then you will see a married mother of one complaining that she can’t find the “time” to workout or cook healthy meals? It all comes down to three things. Determination, willpower, and smart planning.
There are no motivational video’s, exercise plans, or fad diets that will spark the inner fire to really set out to accomplish what you want. All of these things may help, but it’s up to you to put forth the effort. I can’t tell you how to find more time in the day. Nor can I tell you how to find the motivation to exercise when you come home from work completely exhausted. The only thing I am going to be able to do for you is to give you some tips on how to get started, and ways to see things through to the end.
1, Set a big goal.
The first thing you need to do is set a big goal. Whether it’s gain ten pounds of muscle by years end or drop 20 pounds of fat in six months, you need to have something to work towards. Set a goal and a date in which you want to achieve it by. Don’t make the goal near impossible to achieve but make it something you can be optimistic about. Something that you know you can do. A lot of times it’s the idea of reaching that goal that will drive you to actually work towards it. One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to envision where you want to be, then make a plan on getting there. Once you have a big goal and a plan in place, you should feel much better about what you need to do.
2. Set small goals along the way.
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The best way to accomplish something major is to do it in smaller increments. Say your goal is to shed 30 pounds in a year’s time. Rather than focusing on completing that one goal, work on daily, weekly, and monthly goals that will ultimately lead you to reaching that goal. Here’s a quick list for this example.
Daily goals: Make sure to drink enough water. Have a set time to do your workouts so you do not skip. Eat the right amount of food by days end.
Weekly goals: Take time to meal prep for the whole week. Have a planned number of workouts you wish to reach every week.
Monthly goals: Have a monthly weight loss goal. Have a set fitness goal you wish to achieve by month’s end.
This was just a quick example but it really is the small things that matter. Break your daily activities down so it’s easy to accomplish them. It’s hard to just go out and drop 30 pounds, but it’s much easier when you focus more on the task that brings you to that end. To really simplify
things, 30 pounds might seem like a lot of weight to lose, but what about three pounds a month? That seems much easier to accomplish yet it actually puts you ahead of your 30 pounds in a year goal.
3. Get the hard things out of the way first.
For instance, if you hate cardio but you know you have planned to run for 20 minutes on the treadmill sometime during the day, try making it one of the first things you do in your day so you don’t end up putting it off. I know for me personally, whenever I have a workout planned I make sure to do the exercises I dislike the most, first. That way I’m unable to just simply skip them by “running out of time.” If you do the hard things as soon as your are able to, you won’t have time to make up excuses to not do them. For many people, going to the gym first thing in the morning is the only way they can make sure they get it done. Humans by nature are lazy as long as they are comfortable. It’s a survival instinct made to keep us from burning too many calories and exhausting ourselves, putting us at risk of being eaten by predators. But that instinct no longer fits within our modern times. This is why most people hate working out at first. You just have to work through that and not give up. That’s why you need to get the tough things out of the way first until you are disciplined enough to no longer find reasons to avoid difficult things.
4. Fall into a healthy routine.
One of the best ways to succeed in achieving your goals is to follow a good routine. Starting out at the gym is tough for many people. You go one day, skip another, go two more days in a row, then take four days off. It’s too sporadic to be very beneficial and most likely you will be destined to fail. Try to set a specific weekly plan that you can follow. If you know every monday at 6 am is chest day you will be a lot less likely to skip it versus just planning to do the workout at some random point during the week.
Healthy habits start by following a healthy routine. Once you become accustomed to doing your weekly food prep, say, every sunday night, it will eventually stop being such a chore and more like just another part of your day. Same goes with your workouts. Make a easy to follow routine and you will find reaching your ultimate goal will be much easier than you originally thought.
5. Always think ahead.
Another problem people have is that they are very short sighted when it comes to their goals. It’s easy become so obsessed with accomplishing something that you never think about what happens after you finally succeed. Going back to the example of losing 30 pounds in a year. If you really work hard, eat right, and do all the right things to lose the weight, what do you do after it’s gone? What are your goals after losing the weight? It may sound dumb because most people think, “just keep losing weight or maintain your current weight.” Well it’s not that simple. Look at all the folks from the show The Biggest Loser. A majority of them gain the weight back after the show is over. They focus on losing as much weight as possible but never think about
what they should do to keep the weight off afterwards. Always have a plan, and always have goals.
This might be aimed at people who are just starting out on becoming healthier, but these principles should be followed by anyone who is goal oriented and wants to improve their life. These don’t just apply to fitness and health either. Career success, marriage success, a happy family, it all comes down to effort. Being happy doesn’t just happen. You truly have to put forth the effort and do the right things to bring out positive change in your life. And remember, being healthy is a lifestyle. Whether you are a bodybuilder, sports specific athlete, or just a mother who wants to look and feel better, living the life you want doesn’t happen overnight. Put in the work and things will improve. Life is a beautiful thing. Don’t waste it by being unhappy with yourself or your situation. You can always improve things. Never stop trying.