Making a decision to start eating a healthier diet or getting more exercise is the first step but also the easiest one. In the days after you make your decision, you will be full of excitement and eager to implement your plans, but as time goes on, you may find your levels of motivation sinking.
Thankfully, there are a few small changes you can make in your life which will make it far easier for you to stick with the plan and dramatically boost your chances of success, whatever your goal may be.
Set the right goals
Learn a few lessons from the world of sales and management – the field in which many of the masters of motivation spend most of their time working. Tips include choosing a goal using the Goldilocks Rules. If you choose a goal that is too hard, you’ll struggle to reach it and be more likely to give up. If you set your goal too low, you won’t have the incentive to work hard enough to reach it as you will probably get there regardless. If you set your goal just right, you’ll have the motivation you need to succeed.
Find a friend
Working out alongside a friend or work colleague can help keep you motivated as you will be accountable to one another. You can also introduce an element of competition, either in terms of the weight you lose or in the intensity setting you use on the treadmill or elliptical machine. For this technique to be most effective, it’s best to choose someone who has similar goals and abilities to yourself. If you choose someone who is far more dedicated, you are likely to be left behind and end up feeling disheartened. If you choose someone who lacks motivation and rarely turns up, you are likely to feel far more able to start skipping sessions yourself.
Make good habits easy
The twenty second rule is about making it as easy as possible to do the things that support your good habits and as difficult as possible to do the things that do not. This means if you want to make sure you go to the gym as often as possible, keep your workout clothes with you at all times so you are already ready to go. This rule is especially useful if you want to head to the gym after work: get changed before you leave the office and head straight to the gym. Then, there will be no temptation to go home and then stay there.
If you find yourself making excuses about going to the gym because you don’t have anyone who can look after your children, ditch your current membership, find a gym location with child care and sign up there instead. The easier you make the act of getting to the gym and starting your workout, the more likely you will be to stick with your new regime.
Make bad habits hard
If you want to stop eating unhealthy snacks, make sure there are no such snacks in the house, so you have to leave and go out to the store in order to get them. If you want to cut down on your television viewing, take the batteries out of the remote and move them into a different room. This means you will no longer be able to simply flop on the couch and start flicking through channels.