With a new season in fill swing, it feels like the perfect time to talk about motivation: how we get it and how we stick to our goals even when we’re not feeling it.

I’m a big believer that in order to make changes in our lives, we have to first change the way we think.

Not sure about you guys, but so often, I let habit and immediate instinct drive my actions, and one of my biggest goals for this year is to bring more awareness to everything I do. It’s empowering to realize that we have control over our actions and can actively choose to do the things that are in support of our goals.

Although we are not fans of the term “diet” around here, most of us do want to eat more healthfully. After all, what we put into our body has a direct effect on how we look, feel, and relate to others, plus it wards off disease and sickness, so… it’s kind of a big deal. If you (like us) are trying to do an overall spring cleaning, our hope is that a balance of healthy eating and exercise will help you get there. Even the most disciplined among us lose steam sometimes, so as we get ready to kick off summer, here’s some ways we’re staying focused and on track to reach our goals.

image by kate thompson

Remember your “why.”

For me, an important part of achieving any goal (like sticking to all seven days of the cleanse) is to remember my big picture motivation behind it (being super healthy and feeling my best.) If you really want to stay grounded in your goal, take a moment to write down the reasons behind it, then read your list every single morning. It sounds repetitive, but trust me: it works. Having a powerful, authentic motivation is what will give you the strength to stick to it.

photo by kristen kilpatrick

Just take one small step.

My brother has overhauled his health and lost an incredible amount of weight by changing the way he eats for an entire year. I’m so proud of him, and over the weekend I asked him to share some of his keys to success. He said that winning a small battle with himself can change the entire day by setting him up for success. When he chooses to make a smoothie in the morning instead of grabbing a breakfast sandwich from the drive-thru, he reminds himself that starting the day with one bad choice often avalanches into a bad day in general.

When you stay on track with those first choices in the morning, you’re more likely to continue making choices that support your goal all day.

photo via hello fashion

Goals that are focused on “don’t” go great with goals that are focused on “do.”

This is another one that my brother shared. Rule-oriented goals that are focused on “don’t” are much harder to stick to than kinder goals that focus on “do.” Ideally, you’ve got to have a mix of both. If you set a rule for yourself that you’re not going to snack between meals, pair that with “When I feel like snacking, I’m going to read a book or go for a walk instead.”

image by hannah haston

Create a mantra.

Mantras sound like this mystical thing, but for me, having a mantra that I can return to in a moment of weakness helps me visualize the way I want to feel when I’ve achieved my goal. As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently trying to bring more awareness to my actions, so when my schedule gets really hectic, I’ll pause and repeat one of my mantras to myself that’s just, “Slow down, stay present.” It’s four simple words that remind me what I want to do and how I want to feel. A few good ones to remember for healthier eating habits?

“Eat to nourish and energize.”

“It’s not an option.”

“Eyes on the prize.”

(more great mantras right here.)

photo via spell and the gypsy collective

Set a reward for yourself when you’ve met a short-term goal.

It’s important to track your progress by setting up regular checkpoints — dividing your goal up into mini milestones helps each one feel less overwhelming. A 7-day cleanse is one such highly achievable goal that has an end date, so by all means, plan for a reward at the end of it that you can remind yourself of when the going gets tough! This can be whatever makes you happy, whether that’s a massage, a long luxurious bath, or yes – even a bowl of ice cream. Just make sure it’s not something that’s going to sabotage all your healthy eating efforts and fill you with regret afterwards, since you don’t want to take away those feel-good vibes that come from crushing your goal.

photo via hustle and halcyon

Recognize your personal road blocks.

One of my biggest hurdles with clean eating is avoiding afternoon snack cravings, and I’ve noticed that my downfall is often venturing into the kitchen for some random reason (like getting a glass of water), then before I know it I’m eating half a cupcake. Anyone feel me? When I’m eating clean, I do my best to avoid the kitchen altogether around this time of day, and if cravings strike, I’ll drink a big mug of herbal tea with honey. Ditto with after-dinner grazing: simply turning off the kitchen lights and brushing my teeth helps me resist the call of nighttime grazing.

photo via artful desperado

Get inspired by others.

Whether it’s following Instagrammers who remind you of your healthy living #goals, or getting a good old fashioned pep talk from a friend or mentor, being surrounded by positive influences will help keep you energized. Sometimes I even picture an “imaginary mentor” that could be a celeb or fictional character, and when I’m tempted to cheat, I ask myself what they would do in my situation.

ps – We highly recommend inviting a friend to join you for the #CSCleanse! A daily accountability check-in via text, social media or phone call will go a long way towards staying on track (and making it way more fun!)

photo via free people

Don’t be too hard on yourself.

No one is perfect, and accepting that fact is key to staying motivated, especially when you’ve fallen off the bandwagon and need to hop back on. Instead of dwelling on a perceived failure, just learn from it and move on. For me, getting outside and going for a walk or run releases enough feel-good endorphins to get me back on track!

*What keeps YOU motivated? We’d love to hear in the comments so we can help keep each other accountable during the upcoming #CSCleanse! 

8 comments
  1. 1
    alexisdezayas | May 10, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Love the idea of setting some “do” goals!

    Reply
  2. 2
    LU CREATES | May 11, 2017 at 4:03 am

    This was really helpful & a nice read too! I often get sidetracked and sometimes it’s easy to cheat yourself but you just gotta stay strong!

    Reply
  3. 3
    Kelly | May 12, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I love sweets in the evening and brushing my teeth has helped me resist those urges for sure. Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  4. 4
    elizmcanally | May 16, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I planned a very stressful event earlier this year and I was so stressed out that my hands and feet were swollen and I had unexplained weight gain. About two weeks after the wedding was over, it all subsided. I then realized I had inflammation due to stress – I’d never been that stressed before! So I started Whole 30 a week ago to re-balance my system. Since my main goal was overall health, not weight loss, I think that has kept me going through the sugar/bread cravings.

    Reply
    • Camille Styles | May 16, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      WOW what an incredible story. I’m so sorry that happened to you, but what a lesson for all of us about how too much stress can wreak havoc on the body! I’m glad to hear that you’re making such great efforts to take care of yourself, and you’re so right that having the right motivation (health) can go a long way in helping you stick to it.

      Reply
  5. 5
    Natalie Redman | May 23, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Small steps are always good when sticking to a goal!

    Reply
  6. 6
    Zara | June 5, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Definitely agree with being inspired by others. I follow some kick-ass fitness peeps on Insta and Youtube and am constantly supported by my friend and personal trainer to keep up the hard work! Makes a world of difference when you have a supportive network around you.

    Reply
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *