Plan – Action – Motivation
Exercising every day can be hard. You need the motivation to select an activity, choose a location, pick a time and pack your clothes. You then need to remain dedicated to following this process each and every day, motivating yourself to keep going – even if you really don’t feel like it. This may seem long and tedious, but the only way you can achieve anything in life is by starting somewhere. Every activity in life requires a plan, an action and the motivation to work at it, in order to achieve the desired outcome.
But then there’s the relapse. The point at which you just sort of give up and slowly fall back into habit – the comfort zone, your daily routine. Whether having that extra glass of wine, choosing to catch up on a series instead of walking the dogs or eating another take out, because that’s what you are used to. It’s okay, this is actually normal and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. But how do you replace these bad habits with good ones that really stick?
There’s a common saying that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, but I believe that everyone is different and their overall mental strength and desire to change will influence their habits. Sometimes life feels too stressful and overwhelming and therefore it’s easier to be less present when it comes to improving your health – “I’m just too tired. I’ll start next week.”
So here’s my 5-point list to breaking those habits and living a more fulfilling life
1. Don’t be so hard on yourself
We can be really harsh on ourselves when we don’t meet our goals – using negative self-talk and even bulling ourselves. This happens to all of us and it is in fact a serious barrier to getting anywhere, as you slowly start to believe these untrue and negative comments about yourself and become your own worst enemy. You look to others for approval on your own thoughts, assuming that your ideas may be crazy, stupid or too extreme.
It’s amazing how we actually stunt our own growth and I speak from my own experience. It took me a while to learn how to be nicer to myself and slowly gain the confidence to do the things I have always wanted – like starting this blog. Things may not go to plan and you may fall off the path, but remember that there is more than one path to reach any destination, as long as you keep going forward.
2. Write down your goals
What do you actually want to achieve? Do you want to find a new job, or lose some weight? Do you want to start studying, or finally run a 5km? Whatever the reason behind your decision to change your life – make sure you set SMART goals! Keep in mind that it’s important to reevaluate and update your goals often, in case things change, i.e. you don’t have as much time due to exams or you financially cannot meet the goal in the time frame set out.
A SMART goal is a goal that is perfectly defined by what you plan to achieve:
What do you want to achieve? Be as detailed as you can | EG: I would like to run my first 5km trail run
Identify your ultimate goal, so that you have something to measure your progress up against | E.G: I would like complete a 5KM trail run within the month of December
Is this goal feasible based on the time available, your financial situation, skills and attitude. Do not set huge unattainable goals, but rather smaller easier to achieve goals – i.e. goals in smaller chunks | E.G: I will run 2 km per day, and increase this by 1km each week so as to finally reach my 5km goal
Is this goal realistic and relevant based on your motivation to succeed? Will this goal be a stepping stone to attaining bigger goals and does it fit into your life? | E.G: As long as I follow my training plan, my goal is realistic. In the long run, being more active will improve my fitness and my overall health
– Time Based
How long do you want to give yourself to meet this goal? Do you have enough time? | E.G: I need to run a 5km within the next month. By starting today and following my plan, I will have enough time to train and meet this goal.
3. Do something you love
I absolutely love ballet. Having done a small amount of ballet in my childhood and never pursuing it further because of finances, I can finally do what I love. Don’t let the fear of embarrassing yourself or being less then amazing, stop you from doing what you really love. You have to start somewhere, even if it feels awkward and uncomfortable at first.
Fitness needs to be fun, as this will help motivate you to keep at it! This type of behaviour can be implemented in your daily life as well. Do you love being healthy, motivating others or building strategies? Start doing the things you love (even if it’s on the side) and you will slowly gain more from your life, as you ignite the passion inside of you.
4. Include a friend
Accountability is a great way to stick to your goals. You wouldn’t leave your friend all alone on the sidewalk just because you were too tired to run (well I hope not!). Just make sure that the friend you pick has similar goals, ensuring that you both motivate and encourage one another.
Look at the improvements you have made in your life and congratulate yourself. You need to acknowledge these changes, adapt your goals if necessary and reward yourself. Appreciate the achievement of smaller goals – we all have to start somewhere and not many people make it this far, so be proud of yourself. If you are becoming bored with visiting the gym, change up your routine. Don’t fall into the trap of habit, because even healthy habits can become tedious and monotonous and once this happens you never really get the same benefits from them.
Using these points above, I really hope that you can change those bad habits, implement new ones and even take those small steps to your biggest goals. The only person in your way, is you.