Why does it seem as if it's so much easier to keep your New Year's commitment to health in the first weeks of the year? You feel genuinely inspired and motivated, but inspiration it starts to fade as time goes on.
"I think part of the problem is that people have a tendency to expect too much of themselves at the beginning," says Diane Genaze, PT, director of physical therapy at Rush University Medical Center. "It's better to warm up to the routine and start slowly."
"In fact, starting can be the hardest part for some people and following through requires commitment, so you should be pleased with yourself for keeping up with the program," she says. "Don't forget to give yourself credit you should be proud of yourself."
"Remember, nobody loves exercise until it becomes a habit," Genaze continues. "Once you're over that hurdle and it becomes an established part of your weekly routine, you'll be able to more easily see the value of what you're doing."
Tips to get and stay motivated
- Start small
- Dont set goals that are too difficult to achieve
- Do what you enjoy
- Pick an activity that makes you feel good (this will keep you going for the long run)
- Keep it simple
- If the activity is too complicated or requires lots of time to set up, this may discourage you from even starting. For example, taking a walk every day is going to be more beneficial than a complicated exercise routine that you rarely do
- Keep score
- Keep a diary of your progress
- This allows you to see how far youve come
- Reward yourself
- Take yourself to see a movie, shopping or some other activity to reward your commitment and progress
Motivating a loved one
- Dont push too hard
- If you push too much or the goals are too difficult to achieve you may discourage your loved one
"Once youve got the momentum of a regular routine, you're set," says Genaze.
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Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.
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