Friday, May 04, 2007

Staying Motivated

We all fall into a rut and lose motivation at times. Even if we are successfully making progress, life can get hectic and our exercise plans can fall by the wayside. To keep yourself on track, here are a few tips to help you stay focused.

Set your routine and stick to it. Put it on your calendar. Cross it off when you’re done. Tell yourself that extra hour of TV is not a worthy substitute for your workout. You owe it to your kids to be here to watch them grow up and be able to pass on healthy habits. A good goal is a blend of strength, cardio and flexibility training each week. Identify your trigger foods and plan for healthy alternatives. Or know how much you’ll have to work out to burn off a serving of that food. Is it worth it?

Feeling weak and unable to resist? Concentrate on what size pants you are wearing right now. Get that number in your head and keep it there. Every time you see your trigger food, focus on that number. Want to cut out of your treadmill session early? What size pants was that again? Didn’t think so.

Remember that you have been through childbirth, grief, heartache, loss, pain and other challenges in the past and you are still here. Ten more minutes on the treadmill and a few push-ups will not do you in. Hang that sexy new outfit or a picture of yourself at a smaller size across from the treadmill so you can keep your focus each time you work out. If you pray at night, give thanks for the ability to stay strong and focused and you will reach your target.

Sometimes we run into a hectic stretch before a deadline or during our kids' sports seasons and it's hard to stick with our exercise program. This is not the end of the world. If you really can't squeeze in your regular workout routine, give yourself some leeway. It's OK to say, "All right, I'm not going to be able to work out this week, BUT, I won't abandon my healthy habits altogether." Resist the urge to cave in to fast food and make an extra effort to eat healthy and you'll be fine. Then as soon as the crisis is over, know that you will be back on track without having lost any momentum.

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