Make Over Your Motivation
Week 4: Solidify ChangesStick-with-It Strategies for Week 4 Think back.
List all the changes you've made in the previous three weeks and star the ones that have been easiest to maintain. Is bypassing booze something you can keep up forever? What about working out every day? Modify any changes that are proving difficult (hit the gym four times a week, not seven!) and keep only the ones you can live with permanently, Zied suggests.Create an exercise alter ego.
"Calling yourself a runner, swimmer, or cyclist can make it easier to stick with the activity because it's now part of your identity," Chambliss says. You'll be less likely to blow off exercise sessions, as fitness is no longer simply a means to a weight-loss end; it is the end. Reinforce your new, athletic persona by surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Start a biking group (try meetup.com) or join a running club (go to rrca.org to find one near you).Plan for real life.
Let's face it, sometimes you're going to pig out on kung pao chicken or skip your date with the stairclimber. Slip-ups are inevitable; it's how you respond that matters. "Feeling strong enough to get back on the wagon right away is empowering," Zied says. Don't beat yourself up over those egg rolls; go through your takeout menus and highlight five healthy options. Set up a plan B for no-gym days, even if it's as simple as running around the block or doing lunges and squats in your living room.Believe in yourself.
Borrow a page from a kids' book and chant, "I think I can!" when your willpower reserves run low. Sounds cheesy, but it can make the difference between powering to the top of the hill on your a.m. run and wimping out. Newbie exercisers who strongly believed in their ability to succeed were most likely to still be exercising one year later, according to research from Miriam Hospital in Providence. So leave your no-can-do attitude in the dust and hit the road to a better body for life.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2010More on Maximizing Your Motivation
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