Start slow and accept the fact that this is going to take TIME!
The quote “Old habits die hard” is a very accurate statement… Making habitual changes to your lifestyle is going to take time. It is important that you accept this fact and prepare for the long haul. This means we have to start slow and gradually build off of small changes. This is why we often have new clients start with small goals like trying to consume 64oz of water per day or taking a multivitamin daily.
Find your “Why”!
Staying motivated during the ups and downs of trying to create lifestyle changes can be very challenging. That is why it is important to focus on your primary motivation for making these changes. This is what we like to call your “WHY”. Your “WHY” is your deepest and truest motivation for making change. For some, this may be to live long enough to see their kids and grand children grow up, to be a better role model for their kids, or even to be a more confident, happier person. Staying focused on your “WHY” can be very important to help get you through the inevitable set backs and tough times that you’re GOING to go through while trying to make lifestyle changes. Read Kemper’s blog from last week called “What’s Your Why?”!
Make REALISTIC priorities!
It is important to be very honest with yourself about what exactly you want to achieve and what is realistic for you. To do this I find that it is important to sit down and ask yourself a couple of questions. First, you should ask yourself what are your main priorities at this point in your life? Physically make a list of your priorities and figure out exactly where making this lifestyle change is on that list. Second, you should take a hard look at your schedule to help determine exactly how much time you have to work on making these changes (e.g., exercising, meal prepping, etc.). Based on where the lifestyle change is on your list of priorities, and what your schedule looks like, you can determine how much time and effort you can put in to making these changes and what is REALISTIC for you. Your practitioner can help you determine exactly what it will take to reach your goals – and the two of you can determine whether the requirements to reach your goals match up with your priorities and schedule.
Set outcome and process goals!
Of course you will have your long term, or “outcome goals” but it is also important to set short term, or “process goals”. These short-term goals will help keep you motivated in between your long-term goals and will help keep you accountable and on track. These goals should be small: weekly or even daily goals. Weekly goals could be something like going to WLS on Tuesday and Thursday, or setting aside a day to preparing chicken and vegetables for the week. Examples of daily goals are getting 3-4 servings of veggies per day, or drinking at least 64oz of water per day. Having small goals like these will help keep you focused and engaged with the PROCESS of doing what it takes to reach your outcome goals.
Plan your week!
Going into each week with a specific plan of how you will reach your weekly goals is very important. Plan to do certain things, like workouts and meal prep, on specific days – every week. “Winging it” gives you a much better chance of putting things off and choosing the more desirable route at that point in time. (i.e. heading straight home from work instead of working out because you are tired.) Dedicating specific days to doing certain things will help you hold yourself accountable and stay consistent.
Prepare for times of low willpower!
Preparing for times when you have low willpower/motivation will really help set you up for success. The KEY to staying consistent is this: make better choices easy. An example of this is to do meal prep on your days off. This way you have healthy food ready and available at times when you are tired and/or feeling unmotivated to put in the work to cook. Another very simple example of this is to have your gym bag packed and ready to go the night before you plan on doing an early morning workout.
Everyone experiences setbacks and rough patches while trying to make significant changes in their lives. What is extremely important is to not let this ruin your motivation and to focus on MOVING FORWARD. When you have a “bad” day or week give yourself some slack, forgive yourself, and focus on moving forward and not dwelling in the past. One thing I frequently talk to my clients about is avoiding the “F-It” point, where setbacks or imperfections cause you to lose motivation and fall off the wagon all together. To avoid this it is important to, yes, set realistic goals – but it is also important to be able to move on and not beat yourself up over imperfection. Remember change is a long process, no one is perfect, and everyone has set backs. You CAN do it! =)
“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” -Arnold Bennett
USE YOUR PRACTITIONER!
In my opinion, the most valuable thing that we offer at AFS is accountability and support. There is no secret to what it takes to lose weight, gain muscle/strength, or be healthier…You need to exercise more and eat better. The hard part is DOING these things. Using your practitioner to help keep you accountable and for support during tough times is extremely important. This is why I think it is very important to make a plan for checking in with your practitioner weekly. (i.e. filling out your “Lifestyle Log”, sending a weekly email, etc.) Knowing that you have someone to check in with at the end of the week, or who is going to be looking at your logs, can be very helpful in keeping you motivated, accountable, and on track. And don’t forget that we truly want the best for all of our clients! We want to help you all in anyway we can so please NEVER feel like you are going to let us down, and never be afraid to be completely honest with us.
Want to make changes?
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Thanks for reading!
Bailey Paull-Baird, Agent of Change, AFS-Plymouth