Part 2: Keeping the Passion Alive
Welcome to part 2 of the series finding inspiration! Part 1 discussed the process of making a behavior change into a lifestyle commitment. Now, we are going to cover the top barriers many individuals face when beginning a behavior change while providing our best advice for ways to overcome these barriers and live beyond limits!
Problem #1: Time
“I wanted to continue my exercise program but I just don’t have the time.”
“I would eat healthier, but I can’t find the time to cook all the meals and it’s so easy to use the café for lunch.”
Have you ever caught yourself saying one of these phrases or something similar? I’ll admit it, I used time as an excuse often when I didn’t get a chance to work out. A very poor excuse at that because if I don’t have time, why do others have the time when they probably are just as busy as me?
Solution: A simple solution to this problem is that it is important to schedule your behavior change into your days or weeks. Write it in your planner, put a reminder on your phone, block out your schedule because if it’s not written down then you may be more likely to put it off.
Do it at the same time every day or set aside the same time every week and understand that those specific times involve tasks that are a requirement for the day. The more routine your schedule becomes the more likely you are to continue the behavior modification.
Problem #2: Lack of Resources
“I would go to the gym more often, but I don’t really know what to do.”
“I would like to eat healthier, but I don’t know where to start.”
Again, have you ever caught yourself saying these phrases, or something similar. It can be tough to start a new program without the proper knowledge and information.
Solution: Despite all the crazy gimmicks you see on the internet, there are also a ton of awesome resources that can be very helpful. A few websites and databases with reliable information free at your disposal include but not limited to Google Scholar, Pubmed, Exrx.net, and the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
You also have an extended network of friends and groups via social media. Find a group near you or ask recommendations for helpful tips. Learning from others experiences will already put you one step closer to accomplishing your goals because you won’t make the same mistakes they may have made.
And finally, we are definitely one resource you have to rely on and can message us anytime you have a question.
Problem #3: Lack of Accountability
How many speeches have you heard where someone said, “I have no one to thank for this except myself, I accomplished it all on my own”…said no one ever.
Solution: It has been shown that performing tasks with another person improves self-esteem which aids in your motivation to achieve success.1 Whether you call a friend and ask them to embark on the journey with you, or you just need someone to keep you on track can make a world of a difference. So, if you have a close friend, a significant other, a family member around, tell them about your goals. Ask them to help hold you accountable and maybe they will want to join you!
Problem #4: Unrealistic Goals
Another barrier is when people set unrealistic goals or really high standards. I used to see it all the time when February rolled around and every college student wanted to lose 25 pounds by the time Spring break hit in early March. That is highly unlikely to happen and also very unhealthy if you were to succeed.
Solution: Before making a change think about why you are doing it and set both short and long-term goals. Your short-term goals are essentially tasks that lead you in the direction of your long-term goals. It is important to set specific and realistic goals that pertain to your why. With each goal you achieve your inspiration builds and pushes you to ultimately achieve your behavior change. If you set too high of standards, you risk decreasing your self-efficacy and thus losing the inspiration you had when you started this journey.
Problem #5: Unenjoyable
A final barrier I see many individuals face is that they choose activities that they do not enjoy. If you start comparing yourself to others and trying to do what they do, you are not going to last long. Everybody is different and everybody has different goals.
Solution: It is up to you to figure out what your goals are and how you want to achieve them. While in school, my professors always used to say “There are 1,000 ways to skin a cat,” and although I still don’t really understand where that phrase came from, it makes a lot of sense. There are 1,000 different ways you can achieve your goal, you just have to figure out which one you enjoy the most.
Whether it’s deciding between running or cycling for cardio, resistance training or group fitness classes for strength, weight watchers or whole-30 for diet, you are going to have to go through trial and error phases to decide which method you enjoy the most and can stick with.
We know a majority of the examples provided are related to health and fitness, but essentially these principles can be applied to any behavior change you are trying to accomplish. Let’s face it, we have all been inspired before and have failed. However, some of the greatest accomplishments people make in their life are a result of failing previously and never giving up.
It takes a lot of motivation to keep the flame alive. So, give yourself little reminders for why you are making the behavior change. Write it down on a sticky note you see every morning, use inspirational quotes, engage with others who have done it, and most importantly seek out help when you struggle because we have all been in that situation where we needed someone’s help.
We hope you found this series informative and enough motivation for you to make that behavior change. Remember that behavior change does not run on an all-or-none principle and every little bit is a step towards success!
- Figure out the why behind your passion and put it in places you often see to remind you about your goals
- Plan AHEAD! Whether you know you’re going to be short on time in one day or work is going to get busy one week, plan your schedule ahead of time incorporating your behavior change during the times you know you’ll be able to complete it
- We all have to start somewhere with new goals, so don’t be afraid of failure and utilize your friends and family to keep you motivated
- Don’t try and achieve the impossible right away, set some short term goals that you know you can accomplish and will lead you in the direction of your ultimate goals
- MAKE IT FUN! Plain and simple, if it’s not fun, it will be a struggle to continue