Health Coach Tip#2: How to Remain Motivated
Starting a new health strategy can be hard, but staying on track can be extremely challenging. For long-term success and adherence to a healthy lifestyle, we need to create new habits and override the pre-existing patterns of behaviour that don’t serve us or sabotage progress. To that point, we must inhabit the new strategy long enough to evoke change and improve ground habits.
The speed at which we adapt to a new way of depending on two Ds:
1. Desire for change
2. Discipline around forming new habits
I want to throw up some suggestions for staying on track or how to remain motivated.
1. Use technology
It’s not often we are told to use technology more, but using our phones, watches and apps can help us keep accountable to ourselves. The iPhone has a native health app that tracks steps performed each day and your history. It’s a simple tool to help with motivation.
Also, use technology to search for new, varied and delicious recipes to try.
2. Make yourself accountable
There are a variety of ways to become accountable, finding the one that works best, is the right one for you. Equally not telling anyone, might work best for you as the accountability can bite you in the bum by applying pressure to succeed, which in turn can facilitate self-sabotage. Accountability and the type of accountability hinges on your particular personality type and sensibilities.
Below are a few ideas for accountability:
a. Tell your colleague(s) that you starting a new health strategy
b. Work with a health coach to set a goal and a timeline to those goals
c. Enrol your partner/flatmate onto the same strategy and sprinkle a little light-hearted competition in there (just a dusting)
3. Do something you love
For many of us working out equates to training at the gym, this is a paradigm that exists as a result of decades of misinformation about what constitutes exercise. Unless you’re bodybuilding there is little need to visit the gym IF that’s a place of intimidation for you…it is for me also!
The key is to find a modality of training that works for you – at this point, you are enjoying it and much more likely to stick to it – this is the most effective and beneficial exercise.
If you are currently training in a noisy, crowded gym surrounded by pumped-up fella’s, then it could be a matter of time before the wheels fall off because you’re not enjoying it. The risk with this is you create a negative attachment to exercise which is another hurdle or obstacle to overcome.
Similarly, when you’re cooking food for you and the family ensure you’re using foods that you love and not just eating healthy for healthy-sake …this approach has a short shelf life. Eat kale if you love kale, but if you don’t …then don’t. Use a nutrition framework rather than a highly prescriptive meal plan.
Having someone to strategise and plan with means you are each accountable to each other – helping each other stay on track and motivated. This also feeds into the last point… if you’re doing it with a friend you’ll be enjoying it more and much more likely to come back for more. For example, your exercise session could easily ‘double’ as a social thing – a catch-up or gossip session with a side of training thrown in.
You could even have different buddies throughout the week to serve different needs. Your weekday lunchtime sessions could be a work colleague whereas the weekend sessions are with a close friend – there are no rules.
Adopt a framework that promotes sustainability and works for YOU.
5. Training or Exercising?
Don’t they mean the same thing? No – not at all!
Not to get embroiled in semantics, but training is done for a specific event or goal and requires periodised programming allowing for progress in performance. Exercising on the other hand is less strict and doesn’t orbit a specific goal or event. The latter is usually simply a way to stay healthy. There is no right or wrong way just lean into a sustainable way.
Exercising can be social, keep you healthy and great for mental health, whereas training has great value in giving you a strong focus. I’ve personally done both and switched between the time over the years. As I’ve gotten older and workout with less and less ego, I’ve whole-heartedly embraced exercising – working-out simply to support my health and as a mood enhancer.
It may sound insignificant but defining where you sit and what you’re working-out for will help to deflect any pressure from society or peers.
6. Shake Things Up
Changing your regime once in a while does wonder for morale and motivation. If you’ve been training in the same way for quite some time then you could be wrestling with staleness which is dangerous territory. There is a myriad of ways to shake things up, and none of them is exclusive to each other.
a. Get a training buddy/get a new training buddy
b. Enrol for an event
c. Train outdoors more
d. Learn a new skill
e. Modify/change the mode of exercise
f. Join a class
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