Do you know more about diet and exercise than your body would indicate at the present moment? Hmmm. Why is that? If you know what you should be doing, why aren’t you doing it?
My guess is you are strongly motivated by immediate pleasure – more so, than wanting to look or feel a certain way months or years down the road. In other words, even though you desire to be in better shape or lose weight or have more energy….right now, at this moment, you’d rather eat what you want, sit instead of move, and play your electronics instead of getting much needed sleep. I get it – many of us aren’t always doing what we know whe should be doing. We all want to have fun!
So, how can you achieve your health goals, while still enjoying the day-to-day pleasures – and not feel deprived? I get that question all the time. People often suggest that I just have more willpower than them. But, that’s not it. The key to motivating yourself to stay healthy is NOT to focus on just that end result, but to link the appropriate healthy behaviors to things that are very important to you.
Let me explain how to get more motivation to do the things you should be doing – using the acronym WHY.
W (Who or What)
Think back to all the times you did the right things for you and your body. Did you lose weight for an event such as a wedding, reunion, or vacation? Did you get in shape after registering to run a 10K or join a sports team? Do you remember a time that you were able to turn off the TV or shut down the electronics and get to bed at a reasonable time? Why were you able to it then, but not now? It wasn’t willpower. I’m guessing that having a goal kept you focused on maintaining those healthy habits. Unfortunately, for many, once the vacation is over or the race is run, one tends to go right back to the previous (bad) habits.
Instead of focusing on solely short-term goals like those mentioned, go long! Identify what it is that you live for. This includes identifying WHO you love as well as WHAT makes you happy. These are the people and things that make life worth living. When going through this exercise with my audiences, I’ve found that people’s work or their career is rarely mentioned. Most people easily list the important people in their lives including partners, children, and other family and close friends. Some share how they want to be able to have the energy to keep up with their kids or grandkids. Others want to live longer than their parents – and in better health so they can travel the world with loved ones. Some people share their hobby or passion that they want to continue to practice throughout their life. Identifying these life-long goals – and keeping them top-of-mind – is the first step in making healthier choices.
Next, figure out HOW you’re going to keep doing what it is that makes life worth living. If you want to keep up with the kids or grandkids, what will help? Getting enough sleep/rest and staying in shape? If you want to live longer than your parents and in better health, will that require a different way of eating and exercise? Write down specifically what healthy behaviors are needed…in order to continue to do the things you love to do.
The last step requires YOU to connect these healthy habits (HOW) with your life-long goals (WHO/WHAT). Once you make this connection, it completely changes how you look at a healthy lifestyle. Healthy choices become as strong as a magnet – so strong that you’ll want to make those healthy choices. Instead of feeling like you should do something, it will become more of a “I must do this” so that I can continue to _______.
Let me share how this works for me. My daily affirmation is about living a long and healthy life. I want to continue to tap dance and ballroom dance into my 80’s and beyond. I want to be able to move with ease and energy when I travel with my kids and grandkids. Therefore, I don’t eat healthy and move my body on a regular basis just because I’m supposed to…I practice those behaviors because my life-long goals are so strong that I literally HAVE to do it.
I’d love to hear your stories about what keeps you motivated to be healthy. Email me at [email protected]