Going from Inspiration to Motivation (or how to get the fuck off the couch)
I'm so honored to hear from friends, colleagues and fellow athletes that I inspire them. It's humbling and flattering and, of course, rewarding. But there's definitely a disconnect going on, because while most of them tell me this, the next words out of their mouth are something like "of course I still haven't done anything myself."
So how do you move from getting inspired to actually motivating yourself to take action? First I think it's important to understand that going from 0-60 is never going to work. In other words, thinking you're going to completely overhaul your diet and fitness routine in one day is like thinking you're going to graduate from college and be the CEO the first day on the job. Just like you need to spend days, months and years learning on the job and working your way up, so goes with your health. It's about making small changes that you know you can stick to. Remember, we aren't dieting. We're CHANGING OUR LIVES. This is not temporary. This is forever.
But I don't want that to dissuade you. Because if anything is worth spending a lifetime on, it's you.
Think about the alternative. A year from now, maybe less, maybe more, where will you be? The same place you are now, or someplace better? Someplace further down the path of your journey. Someplace closer to a healthier and happier you. It's not about starting your diet on Monday or waiting for the first of the month to join a gym, it's about taking action now. It's time to discover a sense of urgency for yourself.
So what can you do to get started? As I share in my own story, I began by simply walking in the mornings with a friend. I've put together this list of small steps you can implement and as you progress, you can always add more.
- If you use cream in your coffee, try switching to 1% or even 2% milk.
- Stop drinking soda. Diet, regular, it's all toxic crap that does nothing for your body. If you must, drink flavored seltzer or flavor it yourself with lime.
- Drink more water! Get a water bottle and keep it near you all day. Aim to fill it up at least 4 times during the day.
- Take the stairs whenever possible. If you hate the gym, or are embarrassed to work out in front of other people (You shouldn't be! The fact that you are doing something makes you a fucking rock star and no one should or will judge you for that.), start by making a small change. Take the stairs at work. Or park far from the entrance to your building. If you use public transportation, get out a stop early and walk. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, take a 10 minute walk outside or even around the building. The point is - get moving!
- Bring lunch. Buying lunch or eating out makes it almost impossible to actually know what you're eating. Making your own meals is the only way to have true control over portions and ingredients. This doesn't mean you can't ever dine out, but if you do it, aim to do it less.
- Eat more often. I'm one of those people that's pretty much always hungry. So if I eat more meals and just reduce the serving size, I find I can't get hungry and I'm less likely to make poor choices. Even if you bring a sandwich for lunch, instead of eating the whole thing, eat half and then have the rest an hour or two later when you're wanting something else.
- Never leave home without snacks. Stock up on beef jerky, cheese sticks, almond butter packets, pre-portioned nuts and dried fruit, and bars that are high protein but low sugar. Always carry a variety of them with you, this way if you're ever hangry, you won't head to the vending machine or end up at the drive through.
- Create a standing desk. Standing burns more calories than sitting, so over the course of the year, the simple act of standing more can help you lose weight. And research is proving more and more that sitting is a silent killer. So if you can stand while you work, or even take more breaks and walk around, do it. Research also shows that we're more creative when we can move around, so if your boss needs convincing, try that one on for size.
- Tell people. The only way to truly change is to be accountable. And the only way to be accountable is to tell people! By stating your intentions out loud, you invite others to help you on your journey and you're more likely to stick with it, knowing that you've told them.
- Log it. Most of us have no clue what we eat in a day. Either start keeping a food journal or download a free app like My Fitness Pal and start tracking EVERYTHING you eat. That means the bite of your kids' breakfast and the lick of the spoon making dinner. Once you realize what you actually eat in a day, it will be easier to see where you can make changes.
Remember, don't do all of these. Pick 2-3 that you think you might be able to start with and then add in others as you get more habitual and comfortable with your changes. And PLEASE let me know which ones you've tried and which ones were most impactful for you. Remember, you're worth it.