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The Top Ten Ways to Stay Motivated on Your Health Goals

By Deb Brown, NSCA-CPT, CNS, CWC

We hope everyone had a peaceful and happy Holiday Season! As we roll into the New Year, many people create goals around healthier living. It feels good to have some structure around healthy eating and working out. But as weeks turn into months, it gets harder to adhere to strict workout schedules and diet plans. All too often, the temptation is to just throw up your hands and stop working on anything at all in regards to your health. As personal trainers, we know a thing or two about how to keep our clients motivated, not just throughout the winter months, but for years and years.


Here are some tried and true strategies that we have our clients practice:

1. Write down your goals on paper. Yes, in this day and age of technology, writing down your goals using old fashioned paper and pencil works like a charm to get you focused and motivated. Hang it up on your fridge or bathroom mirror. Try it!

2. Examine your commitment. What is it, exactly, that you want to accomplish? Why? Ask yourself how committed you are, how hard are you willing to work, how much are you willing to sacrifice? Write this all down as well. Be honest with yourself. “Wanting” to lose weight is very different than being truly “committed” to losing weight. Understand the difference.

3. Find a way to seamlessly fit physical activity into your life.  If you need accountability, work with a personal trainer who will help you keep to a structured, consistent program.

4. Have a realistic eating plan that will work long-term. If you’re eating is too structured, it is going to be too hard and unrealistic to stick to long term. Instead, create a plan that works for you, with your schedule, in your environment. Keep a food journal to help you stay on track.

5. Enlist a support system. Exercise with friends, a trainer or attend a class. Communicate with your family what you are trying to accomplish. Ask for their support and be specific with what you need.

6. Put in the work! If you work hard, and consistently, you will get results. There is nothing that reinforces personal motivation like getting results. It gives you the mental and emotional boost you need to keep re-committing day after day after day.

7. Re-evaluate your goals periodically. Adjust as needed to adapt to changing life situations.

8. Reward yourself for attaining your goals with whatever is special to you. Give yourself something tangible to really celebrate: a spa day or nice outfit; etc.

9. Register for an event. There is nothing like signing up for an event, for example a 5K, and plunking down your $25 registration fee. All of a sudden, you are “in training”, not just “working out” It gives you a whole new focus and can really energize you!

10. Notice when you are making excuses for not eating healthy or staying active.  Analyze why you are making the excuses and take steps to get back on track.