Let’s face it: taking care of your body as you get older is hard to do. I find it more and more difficult to stay motivated and to stick to my goals. I make a resolution in January that is out the window by February (if not the second week in January), or I go full speed ahead for 6 weeks and burn out for 6 months after. But this year is different. I’ve unlocked a few key ways to stay on track and in mid-May, I can happily say I see progress. I want to share what’s working for me to stay motivated with you in case it helps you on your own health journey.
This is my number one trick, hands down. I love outfits, so feeling confident about my style while I’m exercising goes a surprisingly long way in motivating me to go to gym class. I can’t wait to put on that cute little set I scored. It gives me something fun to look at in the mirror during class, and it’s always fun when someone says, ‘love that top!’ Lucy Activewear is my new favorite brand – the Om capri pants hold in all my jiggly bits and don’t show all my dimples, so I can wear them out to errands after class. The matching crop top is a bold move – I’m not really a midriff kinda gal – but I wanted to try it. I first saw this set on a blog I love, Lakeshore Lady, and liked how it looked. My only rec is to wear a sports bra under. I don’t like letting the girls hang around and these tops have zero support.
FIND THE WORKOUT THAT WORKS FOR YOU:
I finally found what I love to do – barre. It’s my thing, and I actually look forward to it. I spent my entire adult life trying new workouts but none actually gave me results. This one does. All I have to do is show up, do what the teachers tell me and my body changes. It’s genius. This is mostly due to the fact that my gym Exhale employs top notch teachers who know what they are doing and what they are talking about. They adjust you, they tell you why a move makes a difference, they know your name, they encourage you, they push you, they care and it is AWESOME. Find your thing! Barre may not work for you but whatever it is – walking, swimming, spinning, running – embrace it! Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Do what you like because you’ll actually keep doing it.
SCHEDULE WORKOUTS IN YOUR CALENDAR LIKE AN APPOINTMENT:
This one is easy for me because if I miss a class I schedule at the gym I get charged for it. Losing money is motivation enough! I sit down on Sunday night and schedule my classes for the week ahead and enter them into my work and personal calendar. I also choose to workout at a gym that has a location near my house and my office so it’s easy to access every day of the week. The key is to pack workout clothes the night before so I don’t forget them.
LIMIT ALCOHOL DURING THE WEEK:
This is the most difficult one for me because I love wine. It’s a symbol of adulthood and relaxation! It takes some serious willpower, but I now avoid alcohol Monday – Thursday whenever possible. This may seem like a no-brainer for most people, but I was in the habit of drinking everyday and it was impacting my sleep and my state of mind. I was argumentative, unhappy, and puffy. My body chemistry just doesn’t take well to it (even though I love it!). Now that I dedicate effort to limiting alcohol, I’ve noticed a massive difference in my happiness and my ability to sleep through the night. And I am less bloated. I have to believe the reduction in empty calories has contributed to my weight loss, too.
CELEBRATE THE SMALL VICTORIES:
Speaking of weight loss, I am thrilled to say I lost 10 pounds since January! That’s a big victory for me (to each her own goals). Along the way to reaching the weight loss was a series of little wins that mattered more than the number on the scale. Those small victories include things like: activity 4 times a week for one whole month, being able to do a new move in barre class I couldn’t do before, zipping up my pants with a little room in the waist. Keeping your eyes on the big prize is critical, but setting little milestones along the way is the only way to get there. Baby steps, friends. Baby steps. And give yourself a treat with each victory – like a new workout outfit! It will keep you motivated.
PLAN FOR TRAVEL:
Travel is the easiest way to derail healthy habits. I travel A LOT for work and for play, so I’ve had to figure out something (anything!) to keep me from ruining all my progress when I’m on the road. Here’s what I learned from my teachers at Exhale: a plank is the best exercise you can do for your body because it activates ~500 muscles at once. At the very least when in a hotel, I do a 2-minute plank in the morning and the same in the evening. I pack one workout outfit – I don’t set my expectations too high. I also look for the nearest Pure Barre (they are in every city) to get a class in wherever I am if I can. And of course, there’s always the hotel gym for some cardio if that’s your bag.
I cannot stress this enough. Studies show that achieving goals is significantly easier when you write them down and when you track the steps you take to achieve them. This has proved 100% true for me. I write down everything in my Ink & Volt planner – the good and the bad. It has sections for 30-day challenges, weekly goals, monthly goals, a calendar, notes, the works! It is the best $40 I ever spent!! But if you’re not into writing, find an app (or apps!) to track what you need to track to change – food, activity, finances, whatever. TRACK IT. Religiously.
So where did this post come from? Well recently I took full responsibility for losing control of the good in life. You can read the posts, Changing My Life and Changing My Body to get the full honest run down. In short, I set out to change for the better and for the long haul. And it’s working. The reason why is I committed whole-heartedly to my own success knowing it would not be easy and that there would be pitfalls along the way. But as a 34 year old, the only thing I can truly rely on is myself to make change. I’m lucky to have several cheerleaders who believe in me, of course! At the end of the day, though, I must remain vigilant in order to be better and to stay motivated. And it’s worth it! If you’re looking for a reason to improve yourself, look no further than the mirror. You are worth it.
HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED? I NEED MORE IDEAS – LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!