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June 03, 2013

10 Tips on How to Stay Motivated to Live a Healthy Life

We all know how important it is to practice a healthy lifestyle.  A balance of healthy eating, sleeping and exercise habits lends itself to happy and healthy individuals with centered and balanced minds, bodies and spirits. However, for most, living a healthy lifestyle is not as easy as it may sound. The stresses of everyday life often take precedence over our health; work, school, children, families, travel, etc. Distractions and excuses are everywhere. Self-motivation is key to battling these life challenges and taking control of your health. Finding your own sense of motivation, inspiration and dedication is a personal choice. So, how do you battle these life challenges, take control of your health and stay motivated?

  1. Make a plan.   Without a strategy, goals are just good intentions. Plan your workouts and meals for the coming week or month.  Commit to your workout time and how you will fuel your body.  Make sure your goals are achievable enough that they are not discouraging, but high enough that you have an incentive to tie your workout shoes or try a new recipe each day. Your goals should be specific and directly related to your personal motivation. Are you motivated by weight loss? Or are you motivated to relieve stress or feel energized? Or are you motivated to increase your strength and cardiovascular endurance? Set goals, plan to succeed and keep your personal motivation at the forefront of your week!
  2. Prep for the coming week.  Having clean workout clothes and the proper food available makes everything easier during a hectic week. Wash and cut lettuce, veggies, melons etc. on Sunday so that when the week begins, you’re ready to go.
  3. Keep a Journal.  Note your plan in a journal or calendar and give yourself a big ‘checkmark’ when you have followed your plan.  It can be gratifying and motivating to look back and see how far you have come!
  4. Create Social Support.  When you have a support network of like-minded individuals who uplift and encourage you, it’s easy to stay committed to your lifestyle change.  Tell your significant other, friends, coworkers, etc. what you are doing and why.  Read healthy living blogs/books/magazines, commit to a class, or buddy up with a friend for workouts.  Ask for support and encouragement.  Even if you find one supportive friend, that’s enough.
  5. Act “as if”.  Decades of research show that there is indeed a simple but highly effective way to transform how you think and feel.  Much more powerful than positive thinking is the principle called positive acting.  By acting “As If” you are a certain type of person, you can become that person.  Take, for example, willpower. Motivated people tense their muscles as they get ready to spring into action. But can you boost your willpower by simply tensing your muscles? Studies led by Iris Hungfrom the National University of Singapore had volunteers visit a local cafeteria and asked them to try to avoid temptation and not buy sugary snacks. Some of the volunteers were asked to make their hand into a fist or contract their biceps, and thus behave as if they were more motivated. Amazingly, this simple exercise made people far more likely to buy healthy food.
  6. React to backslides appropriately.  One of the primary reasons for losing motivation is reacting poorly to backslides.  Think of your journey in terms of overall health.  One “bad” weekend is not a reason to trash the whole plan.  Tell yourself that each meal or day is an opportunity to make healthier choices.  Reacting with guilt or shame is counter productive, so free yourself from the cycle.
  7. Drop the “all or nothing attitude.”  Similarly, it is important to drop the perfectionist attitude that so many of us are prone to adopting.  Healthy living is not about being perfect, so give yourself permission to believe that “something is better than nothing.”  Because it truly is!  Some mornings it can take every bit of energy you can muster to coax yourself out the door, avoid the hidden candy in your pantry and put down that cell phone. On these days, just take one step at a time.  Put on your gear, make a protein shake, spend 20 minutes on the treadmill. You may not feel the most energized or the most enthused with your lifestyle, but dedication can speak volumes and, once you get there, chances are you may just get motivated!
  8. Reward yourself.In general, stay away from awarding yourself with food or beverages. Try a massage, buy a new workout outfit, new athletic shoes, a session with a personal trainer or simply fresh flowers for the dining room table. Seeing the results of your hard work and dedication will make the battle more rewarding in the long run.
  9. Hit the bed! Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being. Fatigue and sleepiness can reduce productivity. Getting a good night’s rest is necessary to fight infections, work effectively and stay energized. If your body is tired, allow it to rest and recoup.
  10. Get Checked by a Certified Upper Cervical Doctor – An Upper Cervical Doctor can ensure your nervous system is functioning at it’s optimal  potential.  “Side effects” include more energy, a healthier immune systems and less chronic inflammation and dis-ease in your body!

Unhealthy influences and temptations have become such a common part of modern living. Committing to a healthy lifestyle requires some time, planning and effort. Like all other accomplishments, maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires some work and dedication.  It’s important to know how to stay motivated. Distractions are everywhere. Self-motivation is key to battling these life challenges and taking control of your health. Finding your own sense of motivation, inspiration and dedication is a personal choice. Regardless of your methods, embracing a healthy lifestyle will lead to a centered and balanced mind, body and spirit.

 

Some of the information presented in this newsletter was taken from:

korucenter.com (by Charlie, Mar 21, 2013)

guardian.co.uk  The Observer, by Richard Wiseman Saturday 30 June 2012 (“As If” principle)

healthytippingpoint.com (by Caitlin, July 1, 2010)

 

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