Let’s face it, choosing between a donut and a diet is a matter of motivation. Want to live healthy, feel better and enjoy life, or satisfy a short-term desire to chomp on foods that are a waste and end up on your waist. To make lasting progress, you must know what’s motivating you to adjust your lifestyle into a healthy one.
Here are some tips to keep your motivation running high:
- Be Purpose Driven
Stay on track with your goals by writing down a purpose statement. When you see success in your mind, it is more likely to become a reality. Use the five Essentials—Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends as a guideline to write what you want for yourself.
Grab your journal or a piece of paper and list each of the five Essentials:
Next to each heading write what you believe God wants for you and what you want for yourself. Be positive and use the first person. Write your purpose with confidence and the expectation that with God’s power it can happen. If you need to, work on it over the next several days. After you finish with the initial draft, place this list where you can see it every day.
Whenever you do a behavior over and over, such as reading your purpose driven exercise daily, it actually develops and strengthens specific pathways in the brain.
- Set Smart Goals
Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Goals that follow these standards will help you keep your focus on what is most important.
Specific goals are clear and distinct. This is where you understand exactly what is expected and why it is important. A specific goal usually answers the five “W” questions: What? Why? Who? Where? Which (of the five Essentials)?
Measurable emphasizes the need for tangible benchmarks. If a goal is not measurable, how will you know whether you are making progress? Measuring your progress helps you stay on track and keeps you excited. A measurable goal answers questions such as “How much?” and “By when?”
Attainable means the goals need to be realistic, even though it’s okay to have big dreams. Extreme goals usually invite failure and frustration. When you identify the goals that are most important to you, you will figure out ways to make them happen.
Relevant means goals that matter. A relevant goal answers “yes” to these questions: Is it worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does it match your other efforts and needs?
Time-bound stresses the importance of attaining the goal within a certain time frame. When you use time-bound criteria, you’ll be able to measure your goals and focus your efforts on a specific deadline.
Here are some examples SMART Goals:
- Lose thirty pounds in six months.
- Walk like I am late four times a week for forty-five minutes with my walking partner.
- Do a complete kitchen cleanse (clean out my kitchen of all unhealthful food) once a week.
- Spend one night a week with friends reading and discussing the Daniel Plan material. Call in between meetings for encouragement and accountability.
- Spend five to ten minutes a day journaling my progress.
- Spend ten or more minutes a day in prayer or reading my Bible.
- Eat Daniel Plan-approved foods at least 90 percent of the time.
Work toward SMART goals that give your brain and mind clear direction and focus on what is important.
- Know Your Motivation
In order to get and stay healthy, it is critical for you to know why it is important. What drives your desire to be healthy? Write it down and put it where you can see it every day. Be positive and approach it from two angles—to attain benefits, and to avoid negative consequences. Motivators might include:
” I want to live long .”
” I want to have great energy .”
” I want to look great .”
” I want to feel better .”
” I want to have better relationships .”
” I want to be happier and smarter for the long run .”
For Dr. Daniel Amen, time with his family is his motivating factor:
” For me , I have an amazing wife , four wonderful children , and a grandson , Elias . My grandfather was one of the most important people in my whole life . I was named after him and he was my best friend growing up . I know how important grandparents can be .
” The day Elias was born I thought about my grandfather all day long . I WANT to be healthy to be able to love Elias like my grandfather loved me . When I really think about what ‘ s important to me , no amount of cheeseburgers , sodas , or double fudge chocolate chip brownies is worth the price of damaging my health and stealing the time I have with my family .” – Dr . Daniel Amen
Put your failures to good use. Changing old bad habits into a new healthy lifestyle occurs in steps. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. Take advantage of your failures and learn from them. The mistakes we make can educate us on how to do something better the next time if we are paying attention. You become a success by learning what doesn’t work and not doing it anymore.
Use the power of vision. Visualizing your goals is a good way to remind yourself of why you want to be healthy. Pictures can help you stay motivated! Put images on your computer desktop, around your home, on your smart phone, or in the visor of your car that remind you of why you want to be healthy. These pictures can be of family members, or of a time in your life when you felt good about yourself, or of a time that represents you living out your purpose.
To stay motivated you must stay focused and intentional with how you approach the goals you have set.