6 Steps to Staying Motivated

Many of us are motivated to eat right, exercise, live healthy, etc., but staying motivated is more challenging.

Here are a few ways that I have learned to keep my mojo flowing over the years.

Know Your Why:   If your reason for making healthy change isn’t strong, you can quickly become unmotivated. For instance, wanting to look good in a bathing suit this summer vs. desiring to live a long healthy life are two completely different sentiments. The first why feels temporary. The second why feels like a long-term commitment to self.

Gamify It:  Making diet and exercise a game has changed my thinking around the process. For example, I sometimes use a calorie app to manage my food intake. As I enter my food into the app, I try to see how close I can get to my allotted calories without exceeding them. Instead of being rigid and stressed out with the app as I was in the beginning it now has become a game I can have fun with.

Tracking: Tracking is a process where you use a visual aid to keep the motivation going. Like me, you can use an app or stars on a wall calendar. I go into detail in this prior post on how to do this. Like the above tip, tracking also works to gamify your exercise. When I see stars filling up my calendar each day, I feel like I am winning the game.

Mentor/Coach:  Connect with people already where you want to be to help guide and support you on your journey. Not only will they help you stay accountable to yourself and teach you methods for success, but they can also be your greatest cheerleader.

The Buddy System:  Surround yourself with positive people. Find a friend, family member, or a support group to keep your mojo flowing. Making lifestyle changes with a buddy can make doing the work fun. For example, my husband and I have the same long-term lifestyle goals. So having him by my side makes what can often be hard work enjoyable.

Reward Yourself:  When my husband and I started being mindful of our diet, we realized that we needed to have one treat a week to relieve the pressure of being vigilant for the rest of the time. The first time we permitted ourselves to do this, we went a little crazy. It took a few weeks, but we are now down to sugar-free chocolate pudding with light whipped cream on a Saturday night. We needed to be excessive in the beginning to learn that we didn’t want to be excessive.

Note:  A reward does not have to be food! It can be bringing yourself on a date, having that glass of wine, or buying a new pair of shoes.

Bonus Tip

Be Gentle With Yourself:  You will not do “it” perfectly all of the time. However, that does not mean you have failed. The key is to start again and then again if you need to. That is part of the fun of playing any game. You keep playing until you’ve won the game.

Della offers weekly yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here.

Using Tracking to Create A Healthy Habit

Tracking is a process where you use a system to motivate yourself to create a healthy habit. For example, I use foil stars on a calendar to encourage getting my steps in for the day. The more stars I accumulate, the more motivated I am to exercise. 

Before I had the cooties, I was committed to 10,000 steps a day. I perceived anything under 10,000 steps as a failure. Once I began to recover, I realized that I needed to change the rigidity around my practice. I was no longer willing to beat myself up over what I hadn’t done. Instead, I decided to reward myself for my accomplishments.

As my health came back online, I realized that 10,000 steps a day was no longer a realistic goal for me. So instead, I created a tier system. 

Della’s Step Reward System

Silver Star = 7,000 

Gold Star = 8,000+ 

Super Star (Gold Star with a black dot) = 10,000+ 

Unicorn = 11,000+

If I don’t get at least 7,000 steps, there is no star on the calendar. But, as a competitive person by nature, I don’t want to see a gap on the calendar. So the holes there are because my body needed a rest day.

One night, I had slept only a few hours. I taught a yoga class the following day and had a chiropractor adjustment right after. I knew that I was unlikely to get my steps in due to a lack of sleep the night before. I napped when I got home and found myself towards the end of the day with 5,000 steps already accumulated. Knowing that I do not like gaps on my calendar, I felt motivated to get 2,000 more steps, then I did 1,000 more, and as I like being a superstar, I got 10,000 steps in by the end of the day. As I had honored my body’s need for rest, I could then honor my competitive nature by winning the day.

Here is the tracking device I use.

Tracking is not a new process for me, but I forgot what an effective tool it can be to keep me motivated. Listening to Stephen Guise, the author of Elastic Habits on The One You Feed podcast, brought this tool to my awareness. It inspired me so much that I bought his book!

What tools do you use to motivate you to practice healthy habits?

Note:  As I live in the boonies of Northern Minnesota, and it is frickin cold during the winter, I use this rebounder to get the majority of my steps on most days.

Della offers weekly yoga classes, workshops, and intuitive readings. You can find out more about her services here.