We’re a few weeks into the New Year, holiday memories are fading, it’s cooooold across most of the country and spring is still months away. If you’re starting to feel your motivation fade, you’re not alone. Historically, mid-January is about the time when resolvers begin to question their goals. If you’re there, here are three tips that may help:
Recall a previous personal success story. Even if it’s not health related, think about something you’ve accomplished that was challenging but worthwhile. What helped you stay on track? Was it support from a mentor, group or online community, rewards you gave yourself, or did you celebrate each accomplishment as you made your way toward the finish line? I had a friend who went back to college to embark on a second career. She treated the end of each semester like a mini graduation and it really helped her stay the three year course. You can do the same with your healthy eating or weight loss goals. In some meaningful way, celebrate every inch or each week (or even day) of meeting your goals.
Think through the “steps to success.” I used to teach at a university and I’d have students who would say, “I have to get an A in this class” but they wouldn’t come to class, read the book or study. Accomplishing any goal requires a process. With healthy eating or weight loss, the key “steps” are typically 1) planning ahead by deciding what and how much you’re going to eat 2) getting the ingredients you need or keeping them on hand and 3) following through. If the first or second steps don’t happen, the third is unlikely. What can help you strengthen your process? Can you make a few days worth of “menus” at a time or set aside every Sunday night for grocery shopping?
Focus on what you’re getting rather than what you’re giving up. As a nutritionist who “practices what I preach” I know it’s not easy, but I do think it’s worth it. The other day I went to lunch with my hubby at a Mexican restaurant. I ordered a healthy black bean taco salad (made with romaine, pico de gallo, black beans, corn and avocado, without the edible shell) while Jack ordered enchiladas smothered in sauce and mindlessly munched on the basket of chips. I definitely have moments when I wish I could just go bananas and eat whatever I want or as much as I want without thinking about it, but the cons would far outweigh the pros. My salad was yummy and when I was done I felt full, satisfied and energized (not bloated or sluggish) and my favorite pair of jeans fit great! Eating in a way that best supports your ideal weight and health isn’t restricting (restricting would be giving your body less than it needs to be healthy, like too few calories or no carbs or fat) - it’s actually balance and compromise. Just as I can’t but every dress or pair of boots I fall in love with and stay on track financially, I can’t eat everything I’d like and stay on track weight and health wise. But in my book, the rewards far outweigh the concessions.
So how are you doing with your resolutions? What helps you stay motivated? Please share!