Motivate Yourself to Better Health

As a personal trainer, I attend many health fairs and employee wellness events, and people always tell me the same thing: “I know what to do, I just don’t do it.”  While a personal trainer can educate and inspire you to get into shape, they can’t “motivate” you.  Motivation, by its very nature, comes from within.  Here are some favorite ways for people to motivate themselves to stick with their good intentions when it comes to healthy eating and fitness.

Don’t Mess with the Classics

Old school methods work as well today as they ever did.  Get a pen, an actual paper notepad and get to work.  If you are a more “right brained” person, keep a journal of how you felt after your workouts and meals, and the emotional journey of getting in shape; you can even illustrate your entries!  Try anything from hand drawn sketches to magazine clippings.  A plain notebook is all you really need, but I also love Skinny Bitchin’, a fun and lighthearted blank journal with healthy food and lifestyle tips by bestselling authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. If you’re a more “left brained” person, keep a log of the exercises you did, complete with sets, reps, and weight, and a detailed food log.  Dozens of good workout logs are on the market, but I recommend the simplest one you can find, as it’s the one you are most likely to consistently use.  A spiral bound set of 3 x 5 cards also works well.

Social Butterfly

Let your online friends know you are trying to get in shape, and share your progress on your Facebook wall or other social media.  Or have a face-to-face social support by working out with a friend.  Or try working out on your own, but getting together with other health conscious friends once a week at an organic restaurant to discuss your progress.

Tech Time

There are dozens of fitness tracker and food log websites, but my favorite site for reaching your fitness goals is not specific to weight loss or exercise.  Joe’s Goals ( http://www.joesgoals.com/ ) is absolutely free to use, and is so simple, anyone can learn to use it in ten minutes or less.  You put down one or more goals you want to achieve each day, and then on each day you accomplish that particular goal, you give yourself a checkmark by clicking a box on the page.  Although it’s temping to list 10 goals when you first start your account, I suggest starting with ONE goal and not adding a second one till you’ve been using the site for two weeks.  You’ll feel successful and want to come back for more.

Living in a Material World

More and more research shows that percent body fat is more accurate and more important that weight on the scales.  But what if you don’t have access to body fat testing, or want to keep monitoring your progress in between testings?  If you are not losing much weight on the scale, but your jeans keep getting bigger, this means you are reducing your percent body fat while retaining muscle, so that when you do arrive at your target weight, you will be firm and toned, not “skinnyfat.”  So give the scales to a friend and use your pants size instead!  When your big clothes have outgrown you, pass them on to Goodwill or another local charity.

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Three Dimensional Fitness