So, I get asked this question a lot, and the person asking usually makes it seem like I have to practice crazy self-control every day, as if I were on a super strict diet and exercise regimen. The truth is, I have been living a healthy lifestyle for almost 8 months now, but I don’t consider it a diet by any means; I consider it a way of life. I feel that this is the way that everyone should be living! The person might as well ask, “How do you stay motivated to get up and go to work?” It’s a way of life, plus I do it because I want to get paid, just as living a healthy lifestyle is a way of life, and I do it because I want to look and feel good!
With that said, that doesn’t mean that every day it’s a piece of cake to get up and work out, or to turn down, well, that piece of cake! But just like anything in life, the more you do it, the easier it gets. So the hardest part of this journey for most people is starting out! And that tends to be when a lot of people get discouraged and give up, and sadly, never realize the full benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. They never get to learn what it feels like to make these things part of their everyday routine–habits.
At this point in my journey, eating clean and working out daily are habits. They do not feel like chores. I don’t feel like I am depriving myself. I don’t feel like I need to keep looking for a light at the end of the tunnel. But all of that is for a different post. The point is, I no longer have to rely on outside motivation like I did in the beginning, because now I am my own motivation.
Below are some tips that really helped me stay motivated in the beginning of my venture into a healthy lifestyle, and ones I believe will help you too!
1) First of all, you absolutely HAVE to write down realistic and attainable goals, and then create a pathway that will help you reach those goals. If you don’t have a clear purpose, it will be hard to stay motivated to work towards what you want. For instance, here were my goals:
-Tone up in all areas of my body (arms, legs, tummy) and be able to confidently wear a bikini (i.e. no sucking in!)
-Be featured on @kayla_itsines Instagram page (yes, this was an actual goal of mine)
And then my plan to reach my goals:
-Research clean-eating, find recipes on Pinterest, browse people’s Instagrams for meal ideas and read/study the HELP guide
-Slowly incorporate healthy, whole foods in my diet, and each week, buy foods to replace the unhealthy, processed junk that would not help me get closer to my goals (i.e. almond flour or make my own oat flour instead of white flour, brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, etc.)
-Create a workout routine that will work with my schedule and stick to it
-Don’t lose sight of my goals. Every day, remind myself why I am doing this. Remind myself it’s a journey, a process, and that it will get easier!
2) Ok, so once you’ve created your goals and a plan, it’s time to get started! People are usually super motivated at first and then quickly lose that momentum. That’s why it’s not good to go cold turkey with this lifestyle. It’s so much better to start slowly and take it a day at a time. One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give someone who is new to eating clean is to not deprive yourself. Allow yourself a treat here and there. Look forward to a weekly cheat meal, and even a cheat meal twice a week won’t kill you in the beginning. You have to ease into this clean-eating thing, or it will intimidate the heck out of you and be too overwhelming to continue.
3) I like to give myself incentives sometimes. For me, finishing a BBG workout was a big deal in the beginning, so I would reward myself with little things like a chocolate smoothie or a favorite show, for instance. I would just tell myself, “After you complete this workout to the best of your ability, you can enjoy that shake.” You can also give yourself weekly rewards. “If I eat clean for one week, I will buy myself a new workout outfit.” Rewarding yourself for small accomplishments is fun and a great way to stay motivated in the beginning.
4) Probably the BIGGEST motivator for me in the beginning was Instagram. Every morning before I got out of bed, I would quickly scroll through some of the feeds of girls I was following to see their progress pictures. I even screen-shotted a couple amazing transformations on Kayla’s page to remind myself that if she could do it–an average girl like me–then so could I! There’s nothing like seeing other girls’ amazing bodies to motivate you to get up and get moving!
5) This next one is SO important. Find a way to keep yourself accountable. Starting a fitness IG account was my way to stay accountable. I would post progress pictures, pictures of what I was eating, and posts about the workouts. This was also an awesome way for me to connect with other amazing ladies on the same journey. And I’ll tell you–there is something about the IG #fitfam that is sooooooo incredibly motivating and supportive! You can also get a friend to agree to embark on this journey with you, or even just check in daily in a progress journal.
6) I can’t stress the importance of good music when you work out. There’s nothing worse than trying to stay motivated to complete a workout when you don’t have some of your favorite, upbeat tunes blaring in the background. Find a playlist that will pump you up and make your workout fun.
7) On a day you are feeling extra discouraged, look back at your goals. Remind yourself of why you are doing this, and don’t lose sight of that. Also remind yourself that the time will pass anyway. You could just give up and go back to sitting on the couch watching Kardashians, but where will that get you? Or you could spend that time squeezing in a quick workout which will definitely get you closer to your dream body. (And you can always watch Kardashians later! We have more time than we think we do!) The time’s gonna pass anyway, so it’s how we choose to spend our time that matters. Six months from now you will look back and thank yourself!
8) If you have a sweet tooth like me, find ways to replace your favorite treats with healthier alternatives. I promise that you will still be able to satisfy your sweet tooth without refined sugar. Start learning to bake with honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc. I have made some of the BEST “clean” treats these past 8 months, and in our day and age, there are a MILLION clean-eating recipes at your fingertips. Just go google some!
9) Lastly, HAVE FUN. Make sure that your workout plan and the food you are eating is enjoyable to you. You will NOT stick with something for the long haul if you are not enjoying it. For LISS (low intensity steady state), I love to walk outside with my dog and daughter. If I had to run five miles every day, I would have quit. As for eating, I love a variety of foods, and I love to experiment and try new things all the time. If I was limited to salads only, I wouldn’t have lasted more than a day. Decide what is fun for you and stick to it!
So, there you have it: my tips for staying motivated. Remember that you must ease into this kind of lifestyle and continue to remind yourself that it will get SO much easier! And even though these are habits for me now, it doesn’t mean that I still don’t have “off” days, or days where I am feeling unmotivated. Even the most FIT people have days like this. We are only human after all. But it’s how we deal with these feelings that make us different from everyone else. We might tell ourselves to shut up and “just do it.” We might just decide to take a rest day. We might let ourselves have a second cheat meal. But you won’t see us giving up completely. Staying motivated is something you have to work at sometimes, but it will be worth it once you understand that the benefits of living this way far outweigh the temporary pleasure that comes from eating junk or taking a nap instead of working out.
Keep on keepin’ on, friends! YOU CAN DO IT!