Self Motivation for a Healthy Lifestyle Change
Close your eyes and imagine your ideal self in the future. This strong, confident version of you has already accomplished their goals, and a healthy lifestyle change is no longer necessary because it’s become your natural routine. Imagine what it feels like to easily slip into a smaller size jeans. How does it feel to walk on the beach in your bathing suit and not be self-conscious about your body? How much fun are you having now that you no longer have to worry about what others think of you? How great is it that everybody you know is telling you how fabulous you look?
It may help to find a picture of somebody who has the “perfect” body and replace their face with yours. It’s important to see the visual as well as embody the emotion that goes along with it. If you’re having a hard time creating this scenario, reach back to a time when you felt really good about yourself and remember that feeling. Find a happy memory of something you’ve accomplished that was worth the effort and made you feel proud. Hold on to that satisfaction. That’s your anchor. Visualize yourself as that person now, and savor the emotion. When faced with a decision, if you think of yourself as the new you, it will be easier to move forward in a way that will lead you toward your goal.
Satisfaction Comes from Growing, Evolving and Healing (which can be painful, I know.)
If you’re like most people it’s not easy to get excited about taking on a task as daunting as a healthy lifestyle change. Honestly, it’s going to take some work, and you’ll need to constantly remind yourself why you want this change. Instead of lying to yourself about how you truly feel, just admit it and create an affirmation (a positive statement) that works for you. Instead of beating yourself up, try accepting yourself. We take care of the things we truly love, and if you hate yourself all day long for making bad choices, get over it now. Leave it in the past. Start fresh. Start appreciating the challenges you’re facing and let them inspire you instead of challenge you. You are strong enough to handle anything that comes your way. That’s an affirmation. Repeat after me: “I am strong enough to handle anything that comes my way.”
If you’re not feeling so strong, figure out a way to ease into this new way of thinking. Be honest about how you really feel. For example: “Even though I dread going to the gym to workout, I’m open to a new perspective because my laziness is not getting me anywhere.” Or: “Even though I hate the thought of depriving myself from the foods that I love, I choose to reach for a better feeling, because what I eat is my choice and I want to feel good about myself.” Do you see where this is going? You must alter your thinking, which will lead to altering the way you feel, which will lead to making easier choices. Don’t beat the same drum of “I hate this I hate this I hate this.” Instead, shift your focus to “I’m in control and I want to change.”
We are faced with choices every minute of the day. When we try to change our routine it can be a real battle, because our unconscious mind likes to follow the pattern it’s used to. There is a true conflict – your desire to be healthier vs. your desire to give in to the habits you’ve developed over a long period of time. Realize the conflict and accept it. Plan for it. Celebrate it!
Your thoughts create feelings, so start by calling out those negative thoughts you tell yourself every day. We all do it – subjecting ourselves to constant criticism. The things we say to ourselves we would never say to another person that we cared about! It’s time to start caring for yourself and changing that inner voice.
Here’s an exercise well worth your time. Keep a log of your negative statements. Write them down, and then next to each one write a positive affirmation that directly contradicts the negative statement. Every time you hear that negative statement, exchange it for the positive. Here’s a few you can use:
I’m not smart enough. I am very smart.
I can’t focus. I am efficient and productive.
I give up. I’m just getting started and I’m very excited about my future.
Say it out loud. Scream it.
Make it stick!
The process of change actually feels great once you get into the momentum. Break it down and create a step by step process. Create new habits. Don’t try to run a marathon, just get up and move. Be excited and proud of yourself for each step in the right direction, no matter how small. Every little step gets you closer to your goal. Repeat the same step over and over until it becomes comfortable and becomes part of your routine. Don’t worry about failing! There is no failing, there is only learning. This is a process, and if you make a mistake then you know what to do next time, right?