We are on a roll! This is part III of the 3 part series on motivation and I am motivated to get this one in the books. Getting motivated to live a healthy lifestyle is clearly no easy task so let’s work on making it easy for us.
Set yourself up for success. Make it a no-brainer for you to make good choices. When you can’t find your gym shoes, the moment of self-motivation may pass you by. When faced with the 3 boxes of cookies that your friend’s daughter sold you, that container of yogurt in the back of the fridge doesn’t look so great. Strive to make it easier, not harder for yourself and your loved ones to do the right things.
- Watch what you bring into your kitchen. Be sure that the majority of your food is “real food’. Treats are fine, but try to limit the quantity. Do not buy the family size bag/box of ANY treat. The chances of making a good choice goes from slim to none if you have one bruised apple going up against 4 rows of chocolate sandwich cookies. Make your good food convenient and keep it fresh. Keep your treats out of sight. Most of the time “out of sight out of mind” will be a helpful strategy. Good food can be a treat in itself. A bowl full of fresh berries topped with vanilla yogurt is a delicious option. Air popped popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese can hold its own against a bag of chips or a sleeve of buttery crackers.
- Start off on the right foot. Keep your gym shoes by the front door. If your are trying to get a walk in before work, keep your gym shoes at your bedroom door so you can slip them on and hit the door right away. Make sure your mp3 player is charged and loaded with your favorite tunes. If going to the gym involves a gym bag, keep it packed and throw it into your car on the front seat. Remember “out of sight, out of mind” can work against you as well. If the bag is in the trunk of your car you won’t hear it calling your name. Know what kind of person you are. I’m a people person. I’m much more likely to make an effort to get somewhere if someone is expecting me. If you can swing it, a few sessions with a personal trainer can get you in the habit of working out regularly. An exercise class is more fun if you can get to know someone in the class. They are there for the same reason you are. They will notice if you skip a class. Getting a friend to be your walking or running partner will get you off your duff. Even if you can’t work out together, checking in with each other via email or phone can help keep you accountable. You can encourage each other and take turns talking one another off the ledge. This is the technique of choice for me in order to get running for the Turkey Trot and beyond. I have 3 other friends that are getting on track with running and exercise and we’ve been slinging emails to and fro. The emails are training updates and they have been doing wonders for me. We encourage each other and share our frustrations. I reckon this is way cheaper than seeing a therapist when I’m boo- hooing over a training session gone wrong. Misery does indeed love company, but it really loves a good laugh and an encouraging pat on the back as well.If going it alone is more your style, then make the commitment to yourself. Set your personal goals in terms of time/distance/ frequency of your workout. Schedule it in and stick to it!
- Get your head right. I find it helpful to keep health and wellness related books or magazines on my nightstand. It keeps health and wellness a part of my daily thinking. Life is so busy and I have lots of things on my mind every day. I’m sure this is the case for you as well. Making the small effort to have these reading materials at my finger tips is totally worth it and was a change worth making.
When you do make a good choice that supports your healthy lifestyle, pat yourself on the back and remember why it’s a good choice. Recall the children with the all- hearing ears and all-seeing eyes? They are highly affected by the things you say and do. During and after a family bike ride, be sure to notice and comment on all the things you enjoyed about it. The air smelled good. The bunnies and birds were everywhere. You all feel more relaxed. They’ll surely come up with things if you lead off the discussion. Do this kind of recapping as often as you can. When you eat right, return from being active, or choose to handle a stressful situation properly, it’s your opportunity to feel good. Even if your children’s eyes are glazed over when you are talking about it, it’s seeping in, bit by bit. They are little parrots. Think hard about what you want to hear flying out of those mouths.
Over time, the way you feel after consistently making healthy choices will be reward enough for you. True, those days will come along when you won’t feel like making those choices. Do what you can to get yourself moving in the right direction. Allow yourself to experience some setbacks, but do what you can to side step them as well. Try some of the things that worked for us. Tweak the strategies so that they can apply to the way you live. You can make it through a day healthfully, even when you don’t feeeel like it. What’s going to work for you and your family? What’s going to give you that little nudge?
Until next time…. Live Well! -Toni Kuhel