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If living a healthy lifestyle was easy, we’d all be at our dream weight, easily jogging around the neighborhood, and rising above the stress in our lives. We’d never be sick, and we’d live long healthy high-quality lives. Maybe there’d even be flying puppy dogs and money trees, too in this perfect world.
But living healthy isn’t easy. And that’s putting it mildly.
In fact, around 69% of adults in the US are considered overweight or obese. This is quite alarming, since it raises the risk for many diseases and health complications. Of course none of this is new to you, as talk of the “obesity” epidemic is everywhere. But don’t stop reading! I promise that’s all I’m going to say about it.
So, the big question is, how do those others pull off their successes in living healthy? I’ll tell you. It isn’t really a secret, though knowing the answer doesn’t make it any easier. It all comes down to motivation.
Motivation is by far the most significant predictor of whether you’ll be successful at living a healthy lifestyle. It’s the key to creating change for the better, and then also maintaining that change over time. It gets tricky, though, when someone wants change, yet their choices don’t actually reflect that. Say for example, you’re watching your calories, but at a party still go back to the buffet table 2 or even 3 more times. That shows a disconnect between motivation and your actions.
How do I get my motivation and my actions in sync?
According to my favorite Sports Psychologist Dr. Jim Taylor, you’ve pretty much got two choices here. You can either lower your change goals to match your efforts or you can raise your efforts to match your goals. There is no right choice. But to be successful with achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you need to keep your motivation and goals aligned. THAT’S the key here.
How do I tap into my motivation to create change?
“If you don’t make changes, you won’t change.” Being creatures of habit, change is incredibly hard. Your habits are deeply ingrained, but with work it’s possible to break them. If you’ve determined you’re ready to make some healthy lifestyle changes, start by identifying your goals, what you want to accomplish, and how you plan to do it. Then, do work every day to help maintain your motivation. For example, read articles related to your healthy goals, have discussions with others who share your goals, follow motivating people on your social media, and keep a journal about your progress towards your goals. Doing work each day will help keep your goals at the forefront of your mind, and will keep your motivation up. We’ve already established motivation is everything. If you don’t work to maintain motivation, you’ll quickly fall off the healthy living wagon.
And finally, I’ll leave you with this motivating thought. We all have within us a level of untapped potential. Its only limitation? Ourselves. But if you can just find the motivation, we can unleash that potential and become a better version of ourselves. At least, that’s what I’m always working on myself. I know she’s in there. She/He’s in you, too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What keeps you motivated? What are your tricks to healthy living success?
Great article Stefany. I too agree with you, Dan and the folks with their dogs. Working out isn’t easy, and I’ve read it takes 30+ days to make something you want to change a habit. Once you reach that stage of being fit, your body isn’t happy when you skip your routine and your day is not the same. Our Wire Fox Terrier demands his 3 miles in the AM and 2 at night. I Jazzercise 5 days a week. Have built wonderful friendships with those in the group and it’s nice to know when I’m not there I’m missed. It’s all about healthy eating for us as well. We eliminated meat and high fat dairy and the pounds melted away. We missed it at first, now we don’t even think about it. Keep up the great articles.
Those friendships you mentioned are also a part of living healthy, so good for you. Research shows people with strong social connections have less health concerns and live longer. It’s an often neglected part of living healthy, so your Jazzercise class is a double bonus!!! Thanks for commenting and keep on your healthy journey, Karen!
Thanks for this article, I’ve been watching your YouTube videos for a while now. I take “fitness” articles with a grain of salt, no disrespect. I find there are a lot of people who claim to understand fitness, as well as, fitness is a little different to each of us. For example, I was “physically” fit when in my teens. I ran track, played soccer and then went to college. I was lucky enough to have the “teenage” active body for a while, but then I got into my 30’s where things changed. I ended up at 205 pounds and ate horribly. I tried the “low fat” stuff, but it never seemed to work. Finally I moved to Colorado and found CrossFit. No, I won’t preach anything here, except find something that you love and that motivates you! My wife does Jazzercise. It’s nothing I would do, but she loves it. There are many ways to get exercise and to be fit. Bike, hike, swim, climb, run, dance, lift weight, etc.
Great point, Dan. Motivation grows when you perceive the activity as enjoyable. So, experiment, try new things, and find physical activity that works for you!
Just the blog I needed to kick off my cycling training program.
Thanks for the good vibes…
Yep, it’s about that time for cyclists to start prepping for spring races! Best of luck, happy I could help with your motivation. Hope it’s a great season and you ride stronger than ever. 🙂
Great article Stef! 🙂 You nailed it again.
Even though we always get out for our runs and get our workouts done, there are days when the wind or rain would have us prefer to hunker down by the fireplace. However, our pup(s) have always motivated us to take them for their extra walk or run. People think we are nuts when they see us out, but we just throw on the gore-tex gear and get’er done… Once we are out we have often commented that the ‘ugly day outings’ are often the most memorable…
You know what’s great, you two have made it your lifestyle and that’s just what I wish for everyone. It’s a habit, it’s non-negotiable, and even though sometimes it’s the last thing you want to do, you still will. Plus, you’re in it together. Having a partner share your healthy habits is one of the best ways to ensure it stays a habit. And I totally agree with you that those ugly days can be some of the best!
My motivation is to be fit and healthy so I can enjoy my life as I get older. I am 71 feel much younger.
I totally get it. I want to be just like that when I’m 71, too, John!
My “fitness instructor” comes with “four paw drive” and uses her MPD (“Motivational Poking Device” aka Wet Nose) to prod me into long excursions twice daily regardless of how cold or wet it is for exercise and other doggy business. She gets an evil gleam in her eye if she doesn’t burn off enough “puppy exuberance”. So my motivation is to save the couch and the rest of the house from destruction. So far it’s worked better than my gym membership because I can’t make excuses to skip anymore.
LOL, Ted! Pets can be the best motivators ever!I just took on a new client today. In her 80’s, but fit like she’s decades younger. She walks her dog for 45 minutes every morning no matter what. I’m pretty sure that plays a huge role in how well she’s maintained her fitness in her retirement years. So, yeah, I’m all for dogs as fitness motivators!!!