New year – new resolutions

How to motivate yourself wisely and change your lifestyle?

Before you start changing anything, you should answer a very difficult question: “What is it that you really want to accomplish by changing your lifestyle?”
 

Answer the question “why”

Think about the benefits you experience when you exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet. It is important to think about outcomes “here and now”. It will take some time to get the slim figure you want, but your job is to identify tangible benefits for which you do not have to wait long. For example:

  • etter sleep
  • more energy every day
  • improved strength (as measured by the number of repetitions or by the progression of weight/distance)
  • freedom from abdominal pain
  • high self-esteem that comes with the achievement of goals

Imagine what the effects will be if you regularly achieve your objectives:

  • Good shape, which will allow you to make quick decisions with confidence (for example, when friends propose a kayaking trip, you will not need to look for excuses not to go, for fear of being weak)
  • Better figure
  • A fit body will make more activities possible (for example, travelling can be even more interesting when your fitness allows for active sightseeing, inaccessible to people who lead a sedentary lifestyle)

Focus on the benefits you feel when you exercise more and follow a healthier diet. Keep in mind the overarching purpose of your efforts.

Good old self-discipline

As a dietitian, I am often asked: “where do I find the motivation to act?” In fact, you don’t need to look for any motivation. Its source is within you. If you care about changing certain areas of your life, you cannot rebel against the necessity… of making changes.

At the beginning of the road to a healthier lifestyle, there will be many changes. Even with a realistic plan tailored to your abilities, life will become harder after this decision.

Everything that’s new and unknown requires a lot of commitment – it takes time, energy and mental resources. Your thoughts will revolve around food and training schedules, greater effort will go into shopping and many other things that you never needed to think about.

Therefore, if you want to make permanent changes in your lifestyle, you have to focus on building your self-discipline. Routine repetition of the same activities gradually requires less effort and time. Why is it a worthwhile goal? Because if your life goes on outside the kitchen and gym, you will need to make better use of the available resources by tapping into the power of self-discipline in order to continue your plan.

Motivation + self-discipline = recipe for achieving a long-term goal

A certain meme made the rounds of the Internet a while ago: With motivation, you will be able to start, but with habit you will be able to persevere. I agree. Self-observation and my work with patients who come to the diet counselling centre allow me to develop the idea a little further:

With motivation, you will be able to start, with habit you will be able to persevere, and wise motivation will not let you stop.

Do not confuse motivation with “getting inspiration” – looking at flat stomachs will not make you slim. Search for positive incentives within yourself, reward yourself in ways you find attractive at the moment, but do not fool yourself. No matter how many dietitians and coaches you follow on social media, no matter how many motivational videos you watch on YT… nothing will change until you make certain changes in your lifestyle.

If you need inspiration to act – get it. But give yourself a chance to find the power of motivation based on what is truly important for you.

Remember – combining routine and motivation is the most effective strategy. Take advantage of the power of habit to do what improves your health, body shape and well-being regularly. Nevertheless, proven motivators can be very useful when circumstances weaken your resolve to develop a habit.

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