Every day is a new start

 


People often say that motivation doesn’t last.
Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

Quote by Zig Ziglar


 

I have changed many habits since I started my journey to a healthier me, and the journey continues. In this post, I want to share ways on how to find that motivation, that boosts you to finally do what it takes to overcome the procrastination and the reluctance of taking action and follow through.

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Most of us have developed habits which are not beneficial to us, neither for our health nor for getting successful. We have all tried to make a change in some way or another. However, too often we fail to keep our motivation high and continue following our good intentions. The habits are deep-rooted in our subconscious, and our conscious has difficulties to overwrite the new habits.

I have myself failed one time after the other. Lost weight, gained weight, lost weight, gained it again. Started to do workout regularly, started again, stopped. Got out running, did quit, started a new attempt and gave up. My mood swung from enthusiasms to downs, time and again. Finally, I came to a point in my life, that I was totally fed up with these ups and downs. There must be a way to be able to motivate yourself changing your habits. I started to search for ways to help myself. By reading about the human physiology and psychology I slowly began to understand why and how.

Idea

 

Why is it so hard to motivate yourself changing your habits?

 

Our brain searches for the most comfortable way of being. It just wants its fuel quick and easy. The reward for drinking a sweet soda explodes to a joyous firework inside of our body. The brain rewards us and gives the body the feeling of instant happiness. Lying on the sofa watching TV is so much more comfortable than getting up doing exercises. The brain just wants to tempt us to save energy only for itself and not use too much energy for making the body move around.

When I consider this, I find the brain not being very smart. When behaving egoistic like that, the body will get damaged slowly but surely, and the brain itself as well. One day we will pay the price for our bad habits, by suffering from pain, aches, and diseases.

Of course, there are also diseases which are of genetic origin. For some of these the science still, haven’t found a cure or a suitable medication. By changing the eating and behavioral habits, it may not always cure the disease but it often eases the pain and make life endurable.

 

10 Ways to Motivate Yourself

 

1. Reasons WHY

 

Think of your reasons why you want to change your habits. For example:

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- to live longer and be there for your loved ones as long as possible,
- to stay healthy and avoid painful diseases,
- to be able to care for yourself up to high ages,
- to be able to help and support other people,
- to be able to do what you love to do in life

 

Your Reason and deep Desire is what you must recall when you have got trouble staying motivated. The Reason Why is one of the most important motivating factors.

Remember: Do not change because of your spouse or your mother in law. Changing your life because of someone else's complaints, that’s definitively going to fail.

 

2. Visualize Your Future YOU

 

We react the most upon emotions and feelings. So when visualizing, do imagine how good it feels when you have achieved your goal. For example, think of:

- how rewarding it feels to have reached your goal.
- how good and beautiful you will feel when you have lost the excess pounds.
- the feeling when people give you compliments about your suddenly young looking skin.
- how good it feels to move your body without any pain.
- the great feeling of mental clarity and happiness.

Here is a short MUST-SEE video by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Learn about the « 5 Steps to Change Your Life »

Remember: When you invest in Yourself, you invest in Your Future.

 

3. Pleasure

 

Think of what you can Do when you have achieved your goal, like for example:

Symbol OK- How great life will be when you can walk without pain in your joints again.
- How fun it will be to be able to use your hands again, playing an instrument, or do handicrafts, and not worry about the aches because of gout or arthritis pains.
- The joy of playing around with your children or grandchildren.
- The triumphant feeling when you have run your first race,
- or just how awesome it will be to wear a beautiful dress, and get admiring looks.

 

Remember: Visualizing a good feeling and good mood has got a most powerful healing effect on your body and mind.

 

4. Pain

 

«Do not underestimate the power of pain. Pain is often the stronger trigger for a change than pleasure.» This is the statement of the famous self-development coach Tony Robbins. This refers rather to psychological pains. For example, the pain of:

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- not finding a partner for life.
- of not having a job.
- of not having any friends.

 

 

Studies have found out that threatening, like «change or you will die», don’t help much. Why do we resist to make a lifestyle change even if we know it is vital for us?

John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor, says:
Behavior change, happens mostly by speaking to people’s feelings. In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought.
Published 2005 in the Fast Company Magazine, by Alan Deutschman.

Remember: Positive emotions are the best cure; it helps the body to heal itself better.

 

5. Be Positive

 

Symbol Plus (Positive)Optimistic and positive people are in general more successful than people with a negative attitude. Happiness makes us successful. Positive feelings make us confident. Positive people see setbacks as temporary, and something that they can control.

 

 

Well, how to be optimistic, if you don’t have those positive feelings?

- Focus on what you are grateful for in life. Even if it only is small things.
I do, for example, praise my shower unit. Before we had a shower cubicle out of glass. Now we have a shower with ceramic panels. It’s such a blessing to me not having to polish the glass every time after having had a shower. The ceramic panels do not show any annoying drying marks. Now I don’t hesitate to do a workout or go out running because of not wanting to clean the glass of the shower unit.

- Look back and think about your successes.
Let the positive feelings and joyous memories flood your mind and relive those moments of success.
It doesn’t have to be a glorious success, it might already help to think about « smaller events ». For example, when I don’t feel like doing exercises, I motivate myself by thinking of the great feeling after the training session; the feeling of contentment with myself having won against my inner laziness, and the comfortable relaxing feeling that makes me feel good.

Remember: A positive attitude makes life brighter. It helps to master difficulties and make you more relaxed.

 

6. Celebrate Your Progress

 

Symbol Plus (Positive)One of the most powerful methods to motivate yourself is to monitor your progress and celebrate it.

Teresa Amabile’s research, Harvard’s, found that nothing is more motivating than progress in meaningful work:

« People’s inner work lives seemed to lift or drag depending on whether or not their projects moved forward, even by small increments. Small wins often had a surprisingly strong positive effect.»
I can confirm this myself, not only in the workplace but also when working on changing my habits. Each tiny step of progress motivates me to keep going.

- Compare yourself to yourself instead of deflating your motivation by comparing yourself to others who are far ahead of you.
To keep on track I write down my achievements in a small agenda. It is so satisfying to compare and see how far I have come; what habits I have already changed; how many days it is left until I want to have reached my goal; how far I manage to run and in what time, and so on.

- Share your happiness and let people know about your success.
By doing that, you can often help other people motivating themselves. Be aware, though, of not bragging too much, that can have the opposite effect in the end.

Remember: Monitor your progress and celebrate every tiny step!

 

7. Peer Pressure

 

Exclamation markResearch shows that peer pressure is an excellent help in achieving your goal.

 

 

 

- Surround yourself with people who are like you want to be, and people who have got a positive attitude.
Being around them makes you want to strive for your goals even more. Avoid negative people as much as possible and rather get cheered up by enthusiastic people.

Charles Duhigg confirms this in his excellent book
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:

 «When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real. »

The Longevity Project, by Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, an eight-decade Study of over 1000 people from youth to death, discovered among many other things following:

 « The groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. For people who want improved health, association with other healthy people is usually the strongest and most direct path of change. »

- Get accountability
Tell your family and friends what your intentions are. Share it on social media, discuss it in person and ask them to check up on you and your progress now and then. This will make more likely for you not to give up as easily.

- Seek motivation from role models you have
There is a massive amount of contributions on the internet with motivating blogs, success stories, youtube videos, and awesome help to be found in tons of books.

Remember: Surround yourself with people with a positive attitude and share your intentions with family and friends.

 

8. Commitment device*

 

Symbol KeyIf you need some more pressure in order to get something done you can make use of a commitment device* (see the explanation below), like for example :

- Choosing to live far away that will force you to walk/bike further back and forth to work. Well, you could also choose a longer route but, most people do not choose the more difficult choice when there is an easier one.

- Buying a yearly gym membership, which will make you not to want to miss a gym class as you have paid for it.

- Betting with a friend that you’ll achieve your goal until a certain date. If not then you’ll invite that person for an expensive dinner or a sports event, or something else that hurt your wallet.

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 * A commitment device is, according to journalist Stephen J. Dubner and economist Steven Levitt, "a means with which to lock yourself into a course of action that you might not otherwise choose but that produces the desired result". Put differently, a commitment device is a "way to change one's own incentives to make an otherwise empty promise credible".
Wikipedia

Remember: Be careful when choosing a commitment device. It must motivate you to follow your intentions and not make it difficult.

 

9. Reward Yourself

 

Refresh yourself with a RewardLook for a little treat for yourself as a reward for having achieved a subgoal and fulfill a long-desired wish when having achieved your big goal. Whenever thinking of these future rewards your motivation for changing your lifestyle will go up.

 

 

Nice treats along the way to your final goal, for example:

- Go to the movies.
- Enjoy a professional massage.
- Go for a dinner with your spouse or friend, but remember to choose a delicious and healthy meal.

A reward for having achieved your big goal, for example:

- Buy that beautiful dress you have longed for and wear it for a special occasion.
- Visit a great huge sports event, you only have been wishing for since «forever».
- Go on holiday far away, someplace you have been wishing to see since you were a kid.

Remember: Rewarding yourself is a way to tell yourself you have done something good and you may be proud.

 

10. Change Your Habits Step by Step

 

Symbol OKStaying focused and follow through your intentions is indeed something that most people are fighting with, including me. Therefore I have come to develop my step by step strategy. It’s so much easier to concentrate on one or two habit changes at a time than trying to change all your habits at once.

For some of you, it may not be motivating if you can’t feel or see the improvement within a short time. First, be aware of giving yourself a realistic time-frame to achieve your goals. Second, of course, you can choose to aim higher and change more things if it serves to find your motivation again. As soon as something starts to feel overwhelming, take a deep breath, and readjust your goal.

Remember: Do not overwhelm yourself. Try to be patient and appreciate each step to improvement. Better a tiny step onward than none at all.

 

People do not decide their futures,
they decide their habits,
and their habits decide their futures.

Quote by F.M. Alexander*

 

* « F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) an Australian actor who developed the Alexander Technique, an educational process applied to recognize and overcome reactive, habitual limitations in movement and thinking. Alexander developed his technique's principles in the 1890s in an attempt to address voice loss during public speaking - a probable result of unintentionally retaining childhood asthma breathing problems. He credited his method with allowing him to pursue his passion for reciting in the Shakespearean theater. »
Wikipedia

 

Last But Not Least

 

Exclamation markDo NOT give up! Dr. Joseph Murphy says in his book, ”behavioural changes are initially big leaps, which suddenly slows down and reaches a plateau. A sudden standstill is absolutely normal. Do NOT give up at this moment! Do Not let a few setbacks throw you off balance. Just like ebb and flow in nature, falling and get back up again to keep going is part of life.

I use to say,  life is like a roller coaster ride. Life goes up and down, sometimes faster sometimes slower. Sometimes thrilling fun, sometimes terribly frightening. Think of the fun parts and you will bear the frightening ones better!

Remember: All attempts wanting to lose weight, gaining fitness, or getting rid of any addictions, won’t be longlasting unless YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND. You have to WANT it, you need a deep-rooted DESIRE. Wishing is not enough!

Are you taking control of your life, or do you let life control you?

Decide today, start changing your habits and create a healthy future.

  1.  Find your WHY
  2.  VISUALIZE your future
  3.  Find PLEASURE
  4.  Get rid of PAIN
  5.  Be POSITIVE
  6.  Celebrate your PROGRESS
  7.  PEER PRESSURE
  8.  COMMITMENT DEVICE
  9.  REWARD yourself
  10.  Change your habits STEP BY STEP

 


 

Pernilla's Opinion & Recommendations

I have learned so much from reading books. That's one of my passions  - to read and learn.
The following books have helped me tremendously and I can highly recommend them.
Get a copy today to improve your life now!

Founder of Easy Steps for Healthy Living

 


Easy Steps for Healthy Living receives a small commission if you make a purchase through a link in this post. No extra costs occur for you.

Book: The Power of Habit, by C. Duhigg

Book: The Longevity Project, by H.S. Friedman and L.R. Martin

Book: Awaken The Giant Within, by Tony Robbins

Book: The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, by J. Murphy


 

Studies says: There is nothing more motivating than progress.


Check Your Progress – Feel The Success

What do you think ist the most motivating factor for you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on how to motivate yourself.

 

16 Thoughts on “10 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Change Your Habits”

  • This is an awesome list of 10 ways to motivate ourselves in order to change our habits. I really enjoyed reading this article, and learning as well as re-learning the 10 points. All are spot on and can truly help us be better when we choose to act on them.

    I find that these points are not only for better health and fitness. We can also apply these 10 ways to work on a business and make it successful. We can also use these 10 ways to create a life of happiness, wealth and success.

    Thanks for writing this article, Penilla! I will bookmark and share this article.

    • Hello Timotheus,

      I’m delighted to read your comment! You are perfectly right – these points are also applicable to other goals in life. We all need to motivate ourselves in all kinds of situations in life. When we are feeling down or demotivated it is good to have a list to make you remember how to find the strength and inspiration to keep going towards your goal.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Always appreciate your comments very much!

      Wish you a happy & healthy life!
      Pernilla

  • Hi, Pernilla,

    Thank you for your concise, but an exhaustive list of actions one must undertake, to change their life into better. Motivating myself to change my habits is maybe the most essential and monumental thing I can do to in the rest of my life.
    The other so big and powerful “lifetime project” is to bring up my children in a way they turn into successful people.

    So, as a first step, I plan to print out the ten rules, and place them in a visible place at my home!

    As the rile #5 says “Be positive” I am curious, what do you think about finding the balance, between being a positive person, and not losing track for the reality, at the same time? For me, this is very tricky – how to stay positive, without wearing rose-colored glasses. I would appreciate your thoughts!

    Thank you for this fantastic text!

    • Hello Tony,

      Your comment is very much appreciated. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      We all have our tough times more or less. With help of this list, you can choose the most helpful motivation methods for you. You don’t need to use all of them, just the ones that suit you best. But I do recommend you to take some time to think through #1 and #2, they are essential for any goal you have in life. I also recommend #10 – Change your habits one after the other, and not all at once – especially when you want to change to healthy habits. It can be hard at times when you have got other big ongoing projects, therefore it is important not to overwhelm oneself.

      How to be positive and still stay realistic? That’s a good question. Having a positive fundamental attitude is very good. Being too optimistic can though be devastating when we overestimate ourselves and underestimate dangerous situations, that’s true. I believe a good solution to stay realistic is to exchange ideas with other likeminded people (I would choose other positive minded persons to talk to) and seek advice from experienced people in the respective field. Be openminded and listen, then make your own decisions.

      Last but not least REMEMBER: You are the number one role model for your children. What YOU DO, they most certainly also will do or try out. So if you have a bad habit, the children may think it is something good to do because their Dad is doing it. What children need most of all in life are parents who love them and give them attention. I feel you have a good attitude, so I’m convinced that you are a great father to your kids.

      Wish you happy summer days!
      Pernilla

      • Thank you for the answer, and for the great words, Pernilla!

        And you turn my attention to a topic that matters most to me – how to bring up the children! You mention very correctly that the parents are role models for the kids – I should always keep this in my mind when considering doing or not doing something!

        Something like Rule #11 how and why to change my lifestyle habits:)

        • Hello Tony,

          How wonderful to hear from you again. I am happy you find my answers helpful. If you prioritize your health and your family, then you’ve got the very best chances to have a long and happy life.

          Pernilla

  • Nice post, Pernilla and I know in the past that I have done them all but the hardest thing for me is keep doing them. I think the # 7 tip Pure Pressure one of the main problems with people today mainly because of a lot of them could be family members or close friends that you don’t want to disappoint. We have to be strong and ourselves to just get away and do our own thing without that pressure.

    • Hello Fred,

      Great to hear your opinion! Yes, it is not always good to have peer pressure, it can be a stress factor itself, but some people work at their best when having pressure not only from themselves.
      It is not necessary to use all these tips all the time. We can choose to use only the ones that suit us the best. Me too does not prefer peer pressure. For me, #1, #2, #6 and of course #10 are the most important motivation methods.

      Wish you great progress and success!
      Pernilla

  • Hello Pernilla,
    Thanks for writing a very informative and needed article. All your tips are helpful and though can be seen as separate, really come together in making you a new you. Take tip 2–Visualize your future you. On one hand, you have the power not to let past mistakes or failures prevent you from having a bright future. That said, staying true to your mission will be a lot easier if you surround yourself with positive people. It will be much harder if you allow yourself to be influenced by negative people.

    Also, it will be much easier to stay the course if you reward yourself. So all the tips can be taken as separate pieces of the puzzle that will make a new you. However, any good puzzle becomes more intriguing and exciting when you finally get the whole picture.

    • Hello Thabo,

      Your comments are always very much appreciated, many thanks! That’s perfectly right, you can choose the puzzle pieces that suits you the best. Important is that we stay positive and visualize how it feels when our goals are fulfilled.
      If you need some more motivation on how to change your habits, please tell me. My mission is to help You to fulfill your vision!
      Allt the best,
      Pernilla

  • Thank You,
    I am feeling extremely motivated from your post today, I know sometimes I become lazy and get out of the routine of doing many of the things you recommend, I even learned some new things to add to my daily routine from your post today, I am so happy I took the time to visit your website.

    Jeff

    • Hello Jeff,

      How wonderful that reading my post boosted your motivation. There are indeed many things we want to accomplish and then it seems impossible to find time to do something for our health too. When we know WHY, #1, and when we visualize how great it will be, #2, to feel fit and healthy then we will find that extra motivation. These two are the most necessary ones on this motivation-tools list. I do recommend to follow #10 as well – to change one habit at a time. I think it is important not to overwhelm oneself, because, in the end, we won’t have the power to follow through if we try to make too many lifestyle changes at once.
      Thank you for leaving your comment, looking forward to hearing from you soon again.
      Pernilla

  • This post really resonated with me because I struggle with depression and motivation and tend to engage in behaviors that don’t serve me too well — like getting caught up in eating junk or not exercising as much as I should.
    I need to work on some mindful activities and trying to stay focused on the larger goal.
    Even with the best of intentions, it is difficult not to procrastinate. Great article as it really spells out some great suggestions that I need to follow!

    • Amy, thank you for leaving your comment!
      I can fully understand how you feel. Me too have days when I struggle with myself and feel cravings for the “wrong” food. Especially on days when I haven’t slept enough. The listed methods to motivate yourself helps me a lot. I hope you too can profit from these and stay motivated to follow your intentions.
      If you need more motivation and advice on how to follow through with goals you have set for your life, then I highly recommend you to read “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy. It is one of the best self-development books I have ever read. It is the last one of the four books I listed above. You will definitively not regret to have bought that book.
      May you find the power within!
      Pernilla

  • I realized reading your article the ones I have the most trouble with are the positive reinforcement to self. This a good reminder that you can go through all the whys, planning and steps but missing rewarding and positive reinforcement can have as much determent. This may be something holding me back on some of my habit changing goals and plans. I am bookmarking your list and going to keep looking back on this to help me now and in the future. Thank you.

    • Christina, so good to hear your thoughts concerning motivation. It’s wonderful that you find the list helpful. It’s true, this list is something you have to look at from time to time at those moments when you lack of motivation. When you know Why it is easier to visualize your future. The Why can change during the lifetime and therefore it is good to rethink your situation and goals within a certain time period, should it be necessary.
      It is not easy to have positive feelings when you suffer from pain. Nevertheless, it could help to practice gratitude for the small things in life and rejoice about things you have achieved in the past.
      Should you need motivational support, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here for you.
      Wish you great health and success!
      Pernilla

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