Many of us like to think we live healthy lifestyles, but the vast majority of us aren’t actually making the effort that it takes to ensure our health needs are met. All it takes is a moment of comparing oneself today to the ideal state in which we’d like to be and the prospect of getting healthy seems unattainable. However, it’s not actually that difficult to become healthy. With the proper motivation and dropping some bad habits, you might even find becoming a healthier person to be enjoyable. So consider the following ten tips for motivating yourself into a healthy lifestyle.
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Focus on the Payoff
It goes without saying that being healthy is beneficial. When you live a healthy lifestyle, you have more energy, you feel better, you have more motivation and drive, and you’re generally happier. As you begin getting healthy, it can be difficult not to focus on the long journey ahead, focusing on how unhealthy you may be now and how much work it’ll take to get to where you want to be. However, you should try not to focus on how long the road ahead might be. Instead, focus on the destination.
Recruit some Cheerleaders for a Healthy Lifestyle
As you’re probably aware, deciding to get healthy and actually getting healthy are two different things. No matter how determined you may be, making the decision to lead a healthy lifestyle is only a small step in the right direction; you’ll have to eventually put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, and it can be extremely helpful to have some cheerleaders. Oftentimes, they have perspectives that differ from yours and can point out benefits or find inspiration that you might have missed. Plus, when you know that others are able to track your progress, you might be less inclined to give up. There’s also the fact that most competitive sports have cheerleaders, so obviously there’s something to it.
Remember the Guilt
Living an unhealthy lifestyle doesn’t feel good. Whether you’re knowingly getting very little exercise or you’re eating very poorly, there’s often guilt involved in being so negligent with your health. But that guilt can very easily become motivation for your evolution. Anytime you’re tempted to skip a workout to trade a healthy meal for that drive-thru quarter-pound cheeseburger with ‘the works,’ remember how bad you felt the last time you indulged with such wanton abandon.
Healthy Lifestyle – Use Multimedia for Motivation
There are tons of movies that recount the perils of being negligent about your health, but you might focus on documentaries and true stories. The obvious example would be to watch the movie Supersize Me, which documents what an entire month of eating McDonald’s will do to your body. Alternately, find some pictures that correspond to health problems that result from being unhealthy, and post a couple of them on your refrigerator or leave them on your desk so that you’re reminded of the repercussions of being unhealthy.
Learn More About Healthy Lifestyle and Fitness
One of the reasons why it’s so easy for many people to ignore their health needs is because they don’t usually know very much about the implications and consequences of being unhealthy. Obviously, eating high-in-fat meals is going to result in weight gain, but what are some of the other health risks associated with a poor diet? What happens when your body gets very little physical activity? Oftentimes it’s because they’re ignorant of many of these consequences that people feel very little guilt about being so unconcerned about their health needs.
Set Specific Goals
It’s not as simple as deciding to get healthy. Of course, that’s a great first step, but you should also take note of what you’ve been doing well and what needs improvement. This is how you’ll decide what actions to take as you move forward. For instance, if your diet has been good but you’ve gotten little exercise, you might decide to exercise at least three times each week. To be more specific, you might choose to do at least two days of cardio and two days of strength training each week. It’s really important to have specific goals because this gives you a plan for achieving your goals.
Celebrate the Victories
Getting healthy isn’t something that you achieve overnight or even over a month. You can change your diet or start going to the gym, but the results from those types of healthy lifestyle changes are cumulative. In other words, you must continue eating healthily and exercise before you begin to see the changes that result from living a healthy lifestyle.
Invite Others to Join Your Healthy Lifestyle
Similar to having cheerleaders, you might consider inviting friends or family members to join you in your mission. This is beneficial for a number of reasons, the first of which is for accountability. When others are on this journey with you, you’ll find it much harder to give up or only put in half the effort that’s required of a major lifestyle overhaul. Others are able to verify for themselves whether you’re putting in the time and effort, which incentivizes you to sustain your effort when you might otherwise be tempted to bail. Also, having people join you makes the experience of getting healthy a more social and fun experience. Instead of having to keep yourself interested in your health goals, making it into an experience that’s shared with others means you’ll continue to have more interest.
Make it Fun
This one goes with including friends and family members in your health goals, but it goes a bit further, too. Especially when it comes to eating healthy and exercising, these health-related goals aren’t the most exciting or fun goals to have. After an extended period of exercising very little and eating anything or everything you want, such a major turnaround takes a lot of discipline and self-control. But if you can find ways to make it more fun and enjoyable, you’ll have better luck with sustaining these changes long-term. You might consider choosing activities like kickboxing or swimming rather than resigning to a treadmill or stationary bike for hours every week.
As you’re making your health plan and choosing the activities in which you want to participate, keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. Just as an infant must learn to crawl before it walks and walk before it runs, it’s crucial to start small and take baby steps or else you run the risk of burning yourself out and potentially turning yourself off the idea of getting healthy. Instead of immediately committing to a seven-day-per-week workout schedule, try starting out with just a few days each week for a half hour per day. Let your endurance and stamina build up over the course of a month or two before increasing the time or number of days. Taking an incremental approach such as this may make the journey take longer, but it also makes it far more achievable, less intimidating, and less off-putting.
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