The one thing I don’t miss about home right now (save for the snow and freezing cold temperatures) is the overly packed, Western gym full of people going full steam on their new years resolution. As I stated in a previous post, its not the resolution I’m again, it’s the WAY people go about trying to achieve it. Since most people give up their new years resolution within the first ten days, it is safe to say the gym activity has died down and many have retired their running shoes to the back of the closet until next year.
If you’re one of those people, whatever you do don’t give up yet! The journey to good health is not easy or short, but it will be the most rewarding journey you will ever take. If you find yourself struggling to stick with an eating plan, or hit the snooze button instead of the spin class this morning, here are some motivational tips to keep you going.
1. Schedule your exercise session for a time that works for you. Not a morning person? Hate working out late at night? Then don’t do either! Plan your gym workout for a time of the day you are most likely to commit to. I can’t stand working out after dinner, and would much rather wake up early and exercise to start my day off right. If you think of yourself as a night owl, perhaps hitting the gym around 6 and having a later diner will work better
2. Prepare, plan and organize- Willpower is a muscle, the more you exercise the stronger it gets. At the same time however, the more you use it throughout the day, the more it can become depleted and you can find yourself gorging on the donuts in the office kitchen, just like a marathon runners “hits the wall” when their glycogen stores run out. To avoid the inevitable afternoon binge, pack lunch the night before, keep healthy snacks nearby at your desk, and make sure you are well hydrated throughout the day (thirst is often confused for hunger)
3. Try a new activity- Okay, maybe running just isn’t your thing, how about yoga instead? Or a spin class? The problem might be that you’re simply not doing an exercise you enjoy. I LOVE my morning walks and yoga sessions here in Kenya, but put me on a treadmill and I won’t last ten minutes. If you’re unsure about trying something new, ask a friend or family member to join
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff- In health counseling they call if the abstinence violation effect, I prefer to call it the “what the hell effect”. You missed your workout Monday morning, and now you deem yourself a total failure and have given up on exercise completely. Replace those negative thoughts with more positive ones (okay so I slept in one morning, I’ll come back and train even harder tomorrow) and re-set your short term goals if necessary.
5. Reward yourself- a 60-minute spin class does not equal an extra large cookie dough blizzard. Instead, find ways to reward yourself that don’t involve food. A new book, a shopping trip with friends, date night, fresh flowers for your apartment. Be proud of your accomplishments to this point and keep on going!