Guide to Staying Motivated
It’s nearly 2018 and now is the time many of us start to feel the pressure to sit down, put pen to paper and write our list of New Year’s resolutions. However, instead of thinking about resolutions this year—which implies that we are not doing things well enough and we, therefore, need to change—we want to challenge you to instead think about intentions and how you can reboot, renew and enhance the things you are already doing right in your life (because we bet there are a lot of things you are doing awesome at!).
The fact is that many of us create resolutions that are so over-the-top and unachievable, it’s no surprise when they fail miserably, leading to feelings of guilt and self-resentment. By making this small switch from a pressured outlook to a more empowering one, we can alleviate the burden that comes with thinking that you need to radically overhaul your life, at the start of each and every year. We truly believe that by checking in with our habits on an ongoing basis throughout the year and making small, more manageable shifts in our outlook and behaviours, we can flow into the New Year feeling less dread and more enthusiasm. But, when the going gets tough (which it surely will), here’s how to boost your motivation so you can stay on track to create a happier, healthier and more fulfilled 2018.
Manage Your Stress in a Positive Way
One word that is constantly implicated in the deterioration of our health is stress. And yes, chronic stress is absolutely a major culprit behind many of the illnesses that we suffer from today, including anxiety, depression, autoimmune diseases, heart disease and cancer. However, there’s also an upside to stress. Stress is a normal part of our lives and we believe that it’s unrealistic to suggest that we can (and should) eliminate it. Instead, our hope is to teach you how to manage your stress so you can deal with stressful situations in a new and empowering way. So many of us are accustomed to walking around in a fog of anxiety, worry and fear and our bodies and minds are on constant alert. A stressor comes in, we panic and then our bodies react to an immediate fight or flight response. Over time, this fight or flight response becomes habitual and is activated more and more often, even in situations that are not life-threatening (like when you’re stuck in a traffic jam). The good news is that there are many things we can do to help teach our system a new response–the rest and repose response–which means that when you encounter a stressful event, your body and mind respond in a more calm and positive way.
Scents have a powerful effect on how we feel and how our bodies function. Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils can change our emotions, help us relax and boost our mood, all of which can help alleviate stress. Invest in a beautiful diffuser like this Stadler Form Lea Aroma Diffuser in Berry and an essential oil blend like this Everyone Essential Oil Aromatherapy Relax Blend, and let the scent from the oils bring your body into a relaxed and Zen-like state.
Breathing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to train and keep our mind and body calm and focused. When you make breathing practices a daily habit, you become better able to handle stressful situations when they pop up. The best part? Breathing exercises can literally be done anywhere and anytime. One of our favourite techniques is deep belly breathing. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your lower belly, inhale for the count of 5 and fill your belly up like a balloon, hold for 3 seconds, then slowly exhale for a count of 8. Practice daily and repeat as many times as you need to feel calm.
A daily mindfulness practice can enhance your wellness, reduce anxiety and manage your stress. Contrary to what some believe, being mindful does not only mean practicing meditation. One of our favourite mindfulness tools is gratitude. Spend 5 minutes in the morning or before bed to think or write down a few things that you are grateful for. This can be as small as your morning latte or cappuccino or as big as your health, family or a career you love. By switching our thoughts to what we are grateful for, we let go of stress and open our life up to more of the things that make us happy and blessed.
It’s easy to look ahead to the New Year, set a slew of new goals and have a positive attitude toward realizing them. It’s another thing to keep that positive attitude once the days and weeks start rolling ahead and you realize you’re busy, tired and overwhelmed with just keeping up with life. This is where hiring a certified Health Coach, a personal trainer or simply asking a friend or partner comes in. By hiring a Health Coach to support you, you are much more likely to achieve your goals. Why? Because their role is to keep you accountable! They help you set measurable goals, break them down into smaller, more achievable increments and help you stay on track. The key is hiring or asking someone who supports you and who you trust and feel comfortable sharing your goals with.
Boost Your Motivation
There’s no doubt about it, when it comes to staying on track with our exercise goals, going solo can be tough. That’s why we always advise our clients to find a friend, or a group of friends, and workout together. When you workout with a friend or group you can keep each other motivated and encourage each other to run a little faster, spin a little harder or get to that yoga class on time. Even more, we boost our motivation and the enjoyment and fulfillment that come from regular exercise. Another great tool that most of us have at our fingers tips (literally) is a smartphone. Find a podcast that speaks to you and, instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed during your hour commute, spend some time getting inspired instead!
Track Your Progress
We’re big believers in writing things down. One tip we love to share is to write your goals and your daily progress down in a journal like this NPW We Live Like This Journal & Pen Set. Then, when you need a little boost in motivation, go back and leaf through your journal to see how far you’ve come! Make sure that your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Specific – and break them down into smaller sub-goals that you can revisit each week. Another way to track your progress is to find an app or online tool that helps track your goals.
In today’s world of social media, inspirational messages and quotes are everywhere. We are constantly bombarded with messages like ‘Good Vibes Only’ and ‘Happiness is a choice we make.’ And while these messages are meant to inspire and uplift us, more often than not they leave us feeling depressed and guilty. So how can we take the (unrealistic) pressure off to ‘always be happy,’ while also boosting our overall happiness? We believe that accepting ourselves and our current situation, exactly as they are, is a good first step. Then, start making strides to foster a positive and loving attitude towards yourself. This is where setting clear intentions and using positive affirmations come in. An intention helps you move towards your goals and dreams, for example, ‘I intend to create abundance in my life this year.’ Affirmations are positive and empowering statements that you say or affirm to yourself daily, for example ‘I am balanced, I am centered, I am at peace’ or ‘I believe in myself and I can reach my goals with ease.’ By repeating these statements to yourself daily (with love and self-belief in tow), you’re actually re-wiring the thought patterns in your brain and over time you will find yourself feeling happier and more inspired.
Lindsay Evans and Danielle McGrath are co-founders of Nourish Live Flow, a holistic health, and wellness company operating in Toronto and the GTA. They are integrative nutrition health coaches trained through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and are currently in training to become meditation and mindfulness coaches. Their mission is to enhance the health and wellness of women, men, and children everywhere and empower people to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. They whole-heartedly believe that reducing our toxic overload is essential in achieving optimal wellness. They have become ambassadors for 3 companies who share this belief, Beautycounter, dōTERRA and Juice Plus. Learn more about their health coaching practice at www.nourishliveflow.com.