As someone who has done plenty of yo-yoing as far as food and exercise goes, I’ve given myself just about every “out” you can there is over the years. Typically I’d decide I was going to make some changes, and then I’d dive head first into those changes for about a month before I burned out and quit. I think this is probably common for a lot of people; starting something new is always exciting! What happens when all the newness wears off though? How do you keep after it when it actually gets tough?
I’ve been on this fitness/ weight loss journey for about 8 months now, and there a few small things that have kept me on the right track to achieving my goals.
Sharing is Caring
After so many failed attempts at changing my lifestyle, I started to keep it to myself when I’d embark on another weight loss journey. Sometimes I’d tell a few close friends, but even then there were attempts made that I never shared with anyone. This time around I kind of went to the opposite extreme and started sharing with everyone! I mean, I’m not stopping strangers on the street and telling them all about what I’m doing, but I started sharing with friends, and eventually started posting about my journey on social media. At first I started this as an accountability measure. but eventually it opened me up to community with people on similar journeys, people who’ve been through what I’ve been through, and even people who just think what I’m doing is cool! I love hearing other people’s stories and I’ve also gotten some great encouragement from people (both friends and strangers).
Tracking what you are doing, what your goals are, and where you are making progress goes a long way in keeping yourself motivated and consistent. I started out playing around with a few different fitness apps, and after a while I decided that MyFitness Pal was the one I liked the most because you can tie it to other apps to automatically track your workouts. I’m not on any particular diet plan, my goal is to eat mostly clean, but tracking what I’m eating helps me to be aware of what I’m putting into my body. It’s also really nice to see all of my time spent working out in one place because then I can can keep track of progress I make in my activity level. I also keep a motivation board on my bedroom door, to have a visible reminder of what my goals are, and if I’m meeting those goals.
While I do keep track of my weight in MyFitness Pal, I don’t put that number on the board because I want to use it to specifically encourage and celebrate non-scale victories. My weight fluctuates all the time, and while I do have a specific weight loss goal in mind, I don’t feel like making that my primary motivation is healthy for me. It’s much easier to stay motivated when I can say something like, “dang girl, you definitely handled that strength training this week!” or “look at how far you’ve made it into 10K training!” Those are goals to strive for no matter what the number on the scale says!
No matter what your schedule looks like, it’s always good to be prepared for a workout. I usually go to the gym in the morning, so as soon as I get home, I pack a bag for the next day and lay out my gym clothes. I’d actually just sleep in my gym clothes if it wasn’t for wanting to keep them from being covered in cat hair haha! Having this stuff ready ahead of time makes it easier for me to talk myself into going to the gym versus out on those mornings when it’s tough to get up. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been laying in my bed thinking about going back to sleep and then remembered it would actually be more of a pain in the butt to unpack my bag and get ready at home than it would be to just get up and go. If you don’t have a set schedule, keep a bag with gym clothes and shoes in your car so if you find you have some time to squeeze in a workout, you’ll have everything you need.
Don’t Be Afraid to Switch Things Up
For the first 6 months of my journey, all I did was go for walks outside. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but even switching up the scenery sometimes wasn’t enough to keep it from feeling a little stale after a few months. I started switching up my cardio routine and also implementing strength training which made workouts a lot more exciting for me. I change my strength routine every month now, and I’ve also started incorporating some group fitness classes too for variety. Even if you have a specific training goal in mind (a 10K in my case), don’t be afraid to step outside of the box a little and shake things up from time to time!
What do you do to stay motivated/consistent?