You've got your mind right and the motivation to get started on a new healthy journey. During the first few weeks, you'll probably feel good (if also a little sore), and you'll know you're making progress, even if you slip up a little bit here and there. But after that first month, you may start to feel a plateau settling in, or the desire to work harder fading out. Results show smaller progress - or maybe even none at all - and your motivation starts to dwindle. Fast. This is usually around the time when people say abandon their new healthier lifestyle and say, "why bother?" But that's exactly when your mental game should kick-in full-force, and you should switch things up to reinvigorate yourself! Here are 6 ways you can keep your New Year's motivation going strong and switch up your routine.
1. First, decide what you want and how to achieve it. Before you can make the gains you want from your workout and diet, you first have to know what your goals are. This isn't just a decision of what kind(s) of workout to do and how often, but also about what time of day to do your workouts, what to eat or not eat before and after, and where you want to see yourself. It's also important to do your research to find effective, safe and healthy ways to achieve your health and fitness goals. A general mindset for weight loss, for example, is to think about is as 80% diet and 20% exercise; this may help get you started, but a more structured diet built upon calculated macros may be necessary to keep you nourished and on-track. Either way, setting your goals - both short-term and long-term - will help direct your efforts and make adjustments along the way to maximize your results.
2. Set short-term goals. Everyone starts out envisioning their ultimate goal. But most of us never reach it, usually because, after a short while of dedicated work, that ultimate goal still feels far away. As a result, our motivation wanes and we give up. Enter the short-term goal! Just like a huge, multi-faceted project, it's usually much easy (and a lot more satisfying) to break it down into smaller, more manageable parts. Create short-term goals that you can achieve every month or 2, and don't forget to reward yourself when you reach them. You'll feel more accomplished, more motivated, and much more likely to keep making strides towards your ultimate goal.
3. Find a good balance of strength training and cardio. To get the most out of your healthy new lifestyle, find a good balance of strength training and cardio. Both types of exercise provide different benefits that are excellent for your health and wellness: cardio exercise helps build aerobic capacity, muscular endurance and strengthens your heart; strength training build lean muscle mass which helps you lose and control weight, strengthens bones, and builds muscular strength. And all types of exercise are great for elevating your mood and helping you sleep better. Doesn't all of this sound fantastic!? :)
4. Mix it up every few weeks. Let's face it: as much as doing squats, pull-ups, and deadlifts every day may help you get the gains you want, it's going to get boring. Try targeting a couple different parts of your body each day when doing strength training, and mix in some different kinds of cardio every few weeks to keep things interesting - like running, cycling, boxing, Zumba™. And don't be afraid to try out some full-body workouts that hit all kinds of training, like yoga, F45®, and Les Mills® Bodypump®. Choose just a few things to mix into your routine, and change it up every few weeks to keep challenging yourself.
5. Something is better than nothing. Many of us have fallen victim to the "short-on-time" or "too tired" excuses when it's just easier to say, "I'll get back to it tomorrow." But that one skip can quickly snowball into 2 days...or a week...or 2 weeks...and before you know it you've fallen off the wagon altogether. We all have those day, but remember your goals and at least do something for 20-30 minutes to bridge those off-day. Very often, getting started in the hardest part and once you have, you'll do more than you planned. We guarantee you'll be glad you did!
6. Reward yourself and recover. Like anything else into which you put your effort, it's important to reward yourself for your hard work and progress. This doesn't mean, of course, to go overboard with a smorgasbord of sugary sweets or deep-fried deliciousness. But rather a favorite meal or a small treat (it doesn't have to be food, by the way) for yourself. It's also important to give yourself time to rest and recover. Generally, a rest day or 2 each week is a good approach. But don't be fooled - you can still enjoy some low-key activity on rest days (like stretching, yoga or walking), and you should still focus on healthy eating...a rest day isn't necessarily a cheat day after all.
So, keep your goals in mind and hang on tight to your motivation! But if you feel it starting to slip, refer to these strategies to help build it back up again.