Flipping through beauty and fitness magazines or perusing websites of this genre are a great way to get motivation. This is also a great way to make you want to dive face-first into a two-tier cake of your favorite flavor. Flipping through friends’ or celebrities’ super-filtered, ultra-choreographed Instagram posts may be fun as a pastime, but it can seriously throw you off your fitness game because the focus is on fantasy and filters and not actual reality.
Look at Yourself in the Mirror
Being realistic is the best thing you can be when you need some motivation. Saying you want to lose 10 pounds this week, just means you’ll likely gain 15 the next.
You are your own judge and jury. Your only real competition is yourself. Forget Instagram. No more E! reality shows. Look at you. What motivates you to do… anything? Work? Live? Be strong? Be you? What do you see that you like? Start with that. Then, take a closer look and think about what you want to change. You are in control of this, too. The mirror and the scale only tell parts of the story and you cannot go by these factors alone. They are touchpoints or tools, but not end-all answers. Don’t focus on them. Use them as guideposts to understand what’s realistic for you to strive for and what’s beyond reason.
Whether you’re looking to gain muscle, lose weight, or lean out, be honest with yourself. That’s step one. Speaking of steps…
Baby Steps Are Not Just for Newborns
You don’t expect to run a marathon the day after you walk out of DSW with a new pair of sneakers, right? Just because you have a cute new gym outfit from Lululemon that you mortgaged your husband for, doesn’t mean you’re suddenly Wonder Woman and can deadlift 500 lbs.
Take the time to enjoy the fitness journey. Make small goals. These goals are attainable. Going for the gold on day one almost always means falling flat on your face (and maybe into that cake we mentioned earlier). But if you pick yourself up and go for bronze—building toward gold—you’re more likely to get there. If you’re reasonable with your expectations, results will follow.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Excuses are a dime a dozen. But don’t beat yourself up over a slice of pizza or a Milky Way you just couldn’t resist while waiting in the grocery store line to purchase your gluten-free yogurt and organic raspberries. Missteps happen. That’s what makes us human, people. But what you don’t want to do is wallow in your mistakes, and crawl into bed with a bucket of KFC and a bottle of wine to wash it down.
Own your missteps, and grant yourself an indulgence every now and again. It will make the gym feel more like a lifestyle choice and less like a chore.
We’d all look amazing if insta-results were really a “thing.” They’re not. The truth is you need to motivate yourself by being realistic. If you don’t, you will just veer from the path and you’ll never get on track. Taking it slow, being realistic and saying, “I can get there in two months” rather two days will go a long way. That’s a real, achievable, attainable goal. That’s what fitness and true health are all about. Keep it honest. Keep it real. No filters.