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Help to motivate yourself

Scientific support: Prof. Dr. Dominik Pesta

This situation must sound familiar: For example, on New Year’s Day or before your holiday you were still really motivated to eat healthier and to finally exercise again – and a few weeks down the line, you’ve lost all momentum. This is perfectly human, but there are a few tricks to keep you going longer.

Maybe our 12 tips to keep at it will help.

1st tip

What is your goal? To lose weight, to be healthier? Or maybe you want to improve certain blood levels? Set yourself realistic goals that you believe you can achieve. Make a firm plan as to how you will achieve this. Think about the hurdles you are likely to come up against – and how you are going to overcome them. Think about who or what can support you, e.g. friends or a fitness tracker or something else.

2nd tip

Keep your eye on the main goal – and set yourself feasible interim goals: so, the first few pounds of weight loss or 1 portion of vegetables more a day.

Celebrate your successes, even the small ones; so treat yourself to a warm bath, a massage or a trip...

3rd tip

If sore muscles are demotivating you, then do not overdo it at the beginning. It is better to increase your training little by little.

Although for some people, higher intensity training is what really motivates them. Tip: 1000 steps usually takes you about 10 minutes. Ramp up the speed and walk 1000 steps in 6 minutes. Also try to overcome major setbacks.

4th tip

Fix your schedule, for instance running on a Monday evening and make a note of it in your diary.

If you like to do sport with someone else, schedule it with a friend or colleague – then you will have to stick to it because it will be difficult to postpone.

5th tip

Do not let setbacks keep you from reaching your goal. Were you unable to resist the buffet at a family party? It happens and it is fine to every now and then slip off the bandwagon.

What is important is that you keep your plan and your goal in mind. Rest if you injure yourself, but plan your training for when you are better.

6th tip

If you keep getting into situations where you have a blow-out, explore why this keeps happening. Before these situations, make a plan on how much you are going to eat. Or how you are going to politely reject your great aunt offering you another slice of cake. Go through the situation in detail in your mind.

If you eat unhealthy food especially when you are stressed, prepare healthy snacks and/or try to reduce your stress levels.

7th tip

You are not losing weight as quickly as you hoped? Do not be disheartened. A slow, but steady weight loss (between 5 and 10 percent of your starting weight in 6 to 12 months) is healthy and reduces the risk of the yoyo effect. You may notice the weight loss more by your waistband than the scales.

Stick at it, keep in mind how far you have already got, and continue to keep an eye on calories in, calories out.

8th tip

Look for recipes, spices and ingredients that are healthy and that you enjoy. Make sure your food looks good too.

If the healthy dishes are still tasty, it is easier for you to stick to your diet. Because healthy eating is a long-term project.

9th tip

Find people who are on the same journey as you: Cook healthier meals with your partner, friends or family.

Or share tasty recipes in online communities.

10th tip

Ideally, you would like to do more sport, eat healthier, relax more and get on in your job – but you feel stressed out and overstretched. Take a step back and think about which step in your life is the most important right here, right now, and how to best fit it into your daily routine. Then focus on that and put your other plans on a back burner until you have established the first change. It takes on average about 8 weeks to establish new habits. Give yourself this time!

11th tip

At the beginning you were so motivated, but you have recently found that you really do not have the drive to exercise? Look for an activity you really enjoy. Dancing is just as good as running. Listen to music or audiobooks while you exercise if you find training alone boring. Overcome your inner couch potato by taking your sports bag to work and not even going home before you have had your exercise session.

Also integrate exercise into your daily routine by going shopping on foot or cycling to work.

12th tip

Do you have the feeling you are not coming any closer to your goal on your own? Then seek out help.

Speak to your doctor, visit a dietitian or sports coach or ask your health insurance for health courses.