There are plenty of reasons to get on the path to better health: swimsuit season, class reunions, sports performance, a big birthday, medical necessity, or undesirable body measurements. As inspiring as our desires may be, we often lack the motivation to achieve the end result.
Motivation Helps, but is Not Enough to Achieve Your Goals
I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed and a 15-day Challenge came up. I had been wanting to get back into a regular workout routine for months and thought this might be a good time to start. It was risk free, no expense and you gained access to an encouraging support group, before and after pics and general information. Nothing short of inspiring!
The trainer designated my start day and a subsequent 2.5 months went by without any initiation on my part. Between sleepless nights, hitting the snooze button, holidays and vacations and not being able to give it the full commitment, you name it, I had an excuse for why I couldn’t get started. Until now.
Turn Your Excuses into Reasons for Change
A few months ago, Dr. Sears and I attended an Expo where I was surprised to find that a $25,000 piece of equipment gave me the same exact body fat measurements as those on our website. Quite impressive!
I recently re-tested my body fat measurements using our website and was quite baffled. While my weight and eating habits have been fairly consistent to when I previously tested, my body fat percentage had increased. I always teach the importance of checking measurements, not just numbers on the scale, and this was a great exercise to reiterate that point for me.
Seeing my body fat percentage go in the wrong direction was my turning point. Now I know I need to work even harder than before, because hormonally, things are probably starting to work against me. I decided that it was time to use those excuses as my reasons for change instead of reasons to hold me back.
I began to re-evaluate my goals to make them more realistic based on my lifestyle. And it worked.
After a week of work-outs and a few simple tweaks to my diet, I felt like a new person with my heightened energy level and overall level of productivity. Granted, it’s just the beginning and there are always hiccups, but the first step can be the hardest part.
Bridge the Gap between Motivation and Action
If you want to accomplish significant things, you must determine your “Why.” What is something important you are willing to fight for when it comes to your health, and why?
Losing weight to be skinny is not specific enough. However, losing ten pounds to improve blood pressure, prevent going on a medication, lessen the load on your knees or to have the energy to keep up with your kids and grandkids, is. Find the real reason you want to make a change and you’ll get motivated quickly.
Here are a few things to consider that may help to get you started:
- What is your most pressing concern right now pertaining to your health?
- What do you enjoy doing regularly that your current health state gets in the way of?
- How do you anticipate your health and life turning out if you continue down your current path?
Now comes the harder part. How are you going to make these goals a reality? Following these SMART principles will help:
- Specific – Use your WHY to define your goals on how you’ll get to that change, being as specific as possible.
- Measurable – Determine specific success metric required to achieve your goal (e.g walking 3 days per week, having fruits and vegetables at every meal, hoping on the scale once a week etc.)
- Attainable – Set realistic goals you can actually achieve. Dreaming too grand will only lead to sleepless nights.
- Relevant – Keep your goals focused on the reason for change.
- Timely – Make a deadline for when you want to accomplish your goal, and stick to it.
Change doesn’t take place over night. To create new habits, set small goals and build on them each day. Just remember a healthier you is not out of reach!