Why you can’t rely on only motivation to achieve your health goals: Tips for building and maintaining new health habits

So, you’ve decided to make a change in your life and finally work on achieving your health goals. Whether this goal is your typical New Year’s resolution or a “I need to change now” realization, you’re probably riding high on motivation. However, you’ll need more than just motivation to hit your goal. While motivation can be a great way to start working on your goal, you can’t rely only on motivation to maintain and achieve your goal.

Let’s start with a scenario. Pretend that your goal is to increase your daily step count by going on a 30 minute walk after work every day. However, one day after work you are feeling tired and don’t want to go on your daily walk. Before you decide to not go on a walk at all, take the time to acknowledge your feelings. Once you have taken the time to reflect on your feelings, go on a shorter walk. Doing a small action is better than taking no action at all. Continued action leads to increased motivation.

Motivation ebbs and flows, so when you’re feeling low on motivation, follow these tips on building and maintaining habits to ensure that you stay on your journey:

  1. Set a goal. Your goal should be specific, realistic and attainable. As an example, we’ll recall our scenario from earlier. You want to increase your daily steps, so you decide to go on a walk four times a week for 30 minutes every week.
  2. Write down your goal. After deciding on what your goal is, write it down and include a tracker. This can be a calendar or a checklist. When you complete your goal for the day/week, you can mark it off and feel accomplished. On the other hand, if you find you’re consistently not hitting your goal, it can help you reflect on why you aren’t hitting the goal and how you can adjust it.
  3. Schedule it into your day. By making your goal part of your day, it gives you one less decision to make for the day and therefore, more likely to follow through on your goal. This will also help to create a routine and a habit.
  4. Have a pre-game routine. If your goal is to workout after work, you can make your pre-game routine changing into workout clothes once you get home from work. When you continually do this pre-game action, your brain will create a trigger to then do your goal action.

Your mind is very powerful but as James Clear once said, “The mind is a suggestion engine.” This means that just because your mind is telling you that you are too tired to go on your walk, you can take a moment to pause, truly listen to yourself and still go on that walk. Your mind may be powerful, but you are even stronger.

When you set your goals, be sure to have a support system. Your support can come from your goal tracker, friends, family, a social media group or a professional, like Leah Freund. When you work with Leah, she will take the time to work with you to help build and maintain motivation and habits. During your coaching calls, she will talk with you to help figure out what is and isn’t working for you in achieving your goals.

If you are interested in learning more about Leah’s one-on-one coaching program, you can email her at leelafreu@gmail.com. You can also join her free Facebook group, Leah Freund Nutrition Coaching, or follow her Instagram account @leah_marie_freund for more nutrition focused content.

This blog was written by Lauren Freund. Lauren has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and has over four years of writing and editing experience. If you are interested in learning more about Lauren’s writing experience or want to reach out about a writing/editing project, feel free to connect with her on LinkedIn.

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