5 Tips On Maintaining Your Motivation Long After New Year’s Eve
If you, like thousands of others, set yourself a lengthy list of New Year’s Resolutions and now, just a few months into 2017, you’re finding it difficult to stick to any of them – you’re not alone!
In fact, research shows that only 8% of people who make a New Year’s resolution are able to meet their goal.
The problem is, it’s all too easy to get carried away and set ourselves ambitious challenges on January 1st when we’re full of hope and positivity (and champagne!), but when the daily pressures of life kick back in, it all goes down the swanny.
So here’s my list of the Top 5 ways to maintain your motivation, long after New Year’s Eve.
1. Break It Down
Real changes happen in small steps over an extended period of time, so the best way to achieve a BIG goal is to break it down into lots of little goals and do them one at a time.
For example, if your goal is to “lose three stone”, break that down into small steps like this:
- Week 1: Start a food diary
- Week 2: Eat slowly and mindfully
- Week 3: Sign up for a free trial at a gym
- Week 4: Stop eating when you’re 80% full
- Week 5: Drink ﬁve pints of water a day
- Week 6: Go to bed half an hour earlier
- Week 7: Make a healthy packed lunch
- Week 8: Attend three gym classes a week
Each individual step is easy to achieve and taking a week to embed it into your routine helps you to make it a habit which, in turn, makes the changes sustainable.
2. Just Do Something
Take a moment to Google some motivational ﬁtness quotes, you’ll be swamped with hardcore catchphrases such as, “GO HARD OR GO HOME” and “BE ALL IN OR ALL OUT – THERE IS NO HALFWAY”.
The problem with this all-or-nothing way of thinking is that it usually results in, well, nothing!
Try reframing the “all-or-nothing” mentality into “just-do-something”.
For example: it’s Monday morning, you planned to go for a heavy weights session in the gym that evening, but you end up oversleeping and in your rush to get to work, you forget your gym kit.
Instead of beating yourself up and feeling like a failure, set an alarm to go off once an hour and take a quick break to do 20 press ups.
By the end of the day, you’ll have knocked out 140 press ups. That’s “chest day” covered!
3. Plan For Real Life
Most of us go through momentary spurts of motivation followed by a big lull in energy followed by another boost, and so on in a continuous loop.
One minute you’re lying on the sofa feeling like a beached whale after several weeks of inactivity and over-indulgence, when suddenly you’re overcome with motivation.
“Right, that’s it!” you cry, showering crisps from your mouth, “From tomorrow, I’ll go to the gym every morning, run to work, do yoga to balance my chi, swim at the weekend, salsa on a Thursday and sign up for a marathon in June.”
You power into your new routine like an unstoppable badass.
Then just one week in, the kids get ill / your mother-in-law comes to stay / the dog needs an operation / your best mate has a crisis / the car breaks down / a massive project is dumped on your desk / you hurt your knee…
You miss a few days of training to deal with the situation, a few days become a week, a few weeks become a month, and before you know it you’re back on the sofa feeling like Shamu.
If you leave out the wiggle-room for real life to get in the way, then, when it inevitably does, you end up throwing in the towel altogether.
The key is to allow these obstacles to happen without allowing them to become an ongoing excuse. Deal with it, get it sorted, then get back on track.
4. Make It Fun!
Trying to stick to anything you don’t enjoy is hopeless.
If you’ve committed to a diet that involves three daily portions of dishwater soup, you’ll inevitably spend your days dreaming of cream cakes until eventually, you cave in and eat a whole box.
If your workout regime involves 40 minutes pounding on a treadmill staring at the telly, you’ll ﬁnd every excuse to give it a miss until eventually, your treadmill becomes a clothes horse.
If it isn’t fun, it won’t last, and if it doesn’t last, it’s not going to get you results.
Try taking up something you enjoy such as a salsa class or rock climbing. Reach out and make some friends in a gym class so you look forward to seeing each other and they miss you if you’re not there. Even better – join a sports team or club such as a boxing club, powerlifting or roller derby team.
The new skill you’re developing will give your exercise regime a real sense of purpose, and the knowledge that you’ll be letting someone else down if you don’t show up will hold you accountable.
5. Be Consistent
I’m sorry to tell you this, but despite all the celebrity workout DVDs and online fads, you will never get “Rock Hard Abs in 30 Minutes”, “Shredded in 6 Days” or “Blast Your Booty in 30”.
These kind of programmes are impossible to stick to long-term, and even if you do get results, more often than not you’ll lose them again once you drop the regime.
Being healthy isn’t a goal, it’s a way of living. Eating well isn’t a “diet”, it’s your nutrition. Fitness isn’t about “smashing it” for 30 days, it’s about gradual, continuous improvement.
Aim for “a little better” every day and just keep showing up. Be consistent and you will achieve your goals.