If we all knew how to motivate ourselves to eat healthier, we’d have reached our goals by now.
Most of us don’t know how to motivate ourselves. What many of us do know is that positive motivation tends to work better than threatening ourselves. If we could only get excited about a healthy eating plan, surely we’d stick to it, right?
Here’s how to do just that so that you can not only set a plan to eat food that’s good for you, but you’ll be able to stick to it, too.
Pick the steps that apply to you and skip the rest. This is about what motivates you.
1. Discover your deep reasons why
If you have powerful reasons for doing something, you’re more likely to keep going when the going gets tough.
Come up with things that you want to do that really motivate you, such as:
- Playing sports with your kids or friends without getting out of breath
- Healing or dealing more successfully with skin problems, allergies, digestive issues, or other health problems
- Improving fertility as well as sex life and sex drive
- Improving mental health challenges such as anxiety, stress, or depression
- Reducing PMS (yes, it can help!)
- Improved sleep
Come up with as many powerful reasons as you can. Once you’ve got them, put them on your phone (perhaps as timed reminders), around your house as pretty posters or simple Post-It notes, whatever works for you. You’ll want to make a note of them somewhere for you to refer to if things get tough.
2. Put money into it
Investing in a nutritionist or personal trainer can be a powerful motivator to help you achieve your goals. After all, you don’t want to waste that money, right?
When you pay money for something, you’re more likely to commit to it. You can see it like giving yourself a present that you richly deserve.
3. Explore new recipes
Find healthy alternatives for your favorite foods. Tofu is an excellent ally for healthy eating, as it is low in fat, high in protein, and absorbs the flavors of whatever you cook it with. Even though there are several types of tofu, be sure to press it first so that your tofu soaks up your tasty marinades.
New recipes that you enjoy are crucial to success, so set a goal for yourself to try new dishes regularly. If you can only try a new recipe once a week, you’ll still have 52 new recipes by the end of the year!
4. Reward your successes along the way
Don’t wait till you’ve dropped ten pounds before rewarding yourself. You’ll stick to your healthy eating plan more easily if you celebrate small successes often rather than mega milestones every once in a while.
And you don’t have to make those successes measurable by the numbers on the scale, either. Too often, we equate our self-worth with what the scale says.
Try rewarding yourself for other successes, such as:
- Your first day or week of healthy eating (if you’ve never gone a whole day without junk food before, celebrate your first day of clean eating!)
- A new recipe that you’ve made successfully
- Not eating seconds after meals (for a day, for a week… depending on your habits)
Remember to use something other than food as a reward so that you don’t undo your good work! Try something like:
- A spa or beauty treatment (this can be doing your nails yourself)
- A new item of clothing that makes you feel good about yourself when you wear it
- A woodland walk with your dog or with a friend
- Some scented candles, flowers, essential oils, or another lovely-smelling treat just for you
5. Be kind to yourself no matter what
There’s no point in beating yourself up for eating that cookie, having that extra helping of food, or that side order of fries. Tell yourself that you are doing the best you can, and make it up to yourself at the very next meal. Don’t then go completely off your plan and tell yourself that it can wait till the next day. Your long-term goals are worth the effort now!
If you think you could use some extra support, find a buddy to do a healthy eating plan with you. Alternatively, ask a friend to be your go-to person to call if you feel tempted to stray from your plan. Ask them to remind you why you’re doing this in the first place, or to give you some encouraging words, or just to make you laugh. Laughter is an excellent way to distract the mind from our troubles, and it can get us back on track in no time.