I have been working out consistently for 3+ years now and I get asked a lot about how I stay motivated on my health & fitness journey. Below are my top 3 effective ways I stay motivated and as a result of practicing them, I am in the best shape of my life!
Consistency has been the key! Not giving up has helped me mentally transition from living by the scale, to not really caring what it says anymore. Hopefully, these 3 tips will help keep you pushing forward on your journey.
3 Effective Ways To Keep You Motivated On Your Health Journey
1. Set a short term goal
This might sound like a no brainer but when you have been working out for awhile, you need a short term goal to help you keep going! Usually, when you start a fitness or healthy eating routine, you have some bigger goal in mind. Over time though, that bigger goal can seem too daunting which can lead to just giving up. Breaking it down to a smaller goal will help you with ongoing success.
The short term goal does not have to be anything special! For me, it is anything from completing another Whole30, taking a 4 week progress photo, or simply a lake we are going to that I want to shoot some bikini photos at!
Anything that is something you care about will work! I say something you care about because if it’s for a friends birthday party that you don’t really care about, you will likely not give it your all.
Do not make the goal crazy and unattainable. Losing 20 pounds in 30 days likely will not happen. You might be able to lose 5 pounds. But even better, you might end those 30 days feeling so proud of what you accomplished that you make another goal for the next 30 days to workout 5 times a week, and so on.
Having a short term, attainable goal to work towards every few weeks is really important and has helped me stay on track over the last 3 years. Even the workout program I do is 12 weeks, broken into 3 sections of 4 weeks. Getting to the 4th week and taking that photo is what keeps me motivated. Then the 8 week mark and finally the 12th.
2. Taking Progress Photos – Screw The Scale!
When I started out back in 2015, I was 158 pounds. Today, I am 156 pounds… I think. The last time I checked was a while ago.
BUT my body composition has completely changed! It’s still a trip to see my weight listed right on a photo where I look completely different, but only 2 pounds lighter. Living by the scale for almost 20 years, my mind doesn’t think this is what me at 156 lbs should look like.
I really love that the workout program I started 3 years ago was all based on progress photos. At first, I was terrified I would see no progress, and at first I didn’t! (Check out more on that here) But once I got fully into my goal of being healthy, I was able to see progress every 4 weeks through photos! That has continued to keep me motivated.
I know it’s annoying and honestly, when you are starting the thought of photographing your body does not sound fun at all. It really is a must though. There have been times where I just feel like I KNOW there will not be any progress to show. I take the photo anyways and I am shocked when I throw them side by side. There is progress happening, even when your eye can’t see everyday.
If I was going by what the scale told me, I would feel like a complete failure. I mean 3 years later and I’ve only lost 2 pounds, what is there to be happy about there!? But through taking photos and comparing myself to myself, there is so much progress, I am so proud of myself!
You don’t have to show anyone, and you don’t have to post them, but you do need to take photos. Besides, these photos can serve as your short-term goal to keep you motivated as well!
3. Give Yourself Grace
If you go into this with an all-or-nothing mentality, you are very likely to slip up one day and just throw in the towel all together. I speak from experience. I spent most of my teens and all of my 20s really going from one fad diet to the next quick fix workout. And guess what? I failed in the long run.
I thought I had to be perfect all the time or it wasn’t going to work. (Which honestly with fad diets this is always the case since the diet is often unmaintainable). I would be so good for 2-3 months or hit a short term goal and then I would celebrate by eating junk or skipping workouts or drinking excessively for months because “Screw It! I already messed up!”
The cycle of feeling like a failure and shameful of my body would restart. It would take me months or years to restart a workout or diet. Once I stopped this, once I accepted that it’s ok to mess up for a weekend, a week, or even a month, I was able to continue on and feel better about myself.
This is what makes it a lifestyle after all! If your long-term goal is to achieve a lifestyle of being your healthiest, you have to give yourself grace. No one is perfect ALL the time so stop putting that pressure on yourself. Do your best, everyday. Enjoy everything in life from a killer workout to a delicious donut. Stop beating yourself up over the small things. If you feel like you were unhealthy a lot last month, that’s ok! Just make a short term goal to do better and keep moving forward!