Motivation doesn’t come easy when we are trying something new. It’s scary and can be intimidating. For years I would sign up for gym memberships thinking *that* time would somehow magically be different.

I’d finally be well on my way to the perfect and happy life I thought weight loss would bring. And time after time, I’d cancel my membership just a few short months after signing up. No where closer to where I wanted to be than when I signed up in January.

I had no clue where to start or what to do. Everyone at the gym seemed like they belonged there, everyone except me. Day after day, I’d quietly put myself on a cardio machine in the corner praying no one would notice me. Eventually I did get up the courage to go ‘play’ with some weights. But I was still clueless.

Fitness can help you see what is possible for yourself but physique goals should be secondary to what creating healthy habits and investing in yourself does for you and in the world around you.

 Fitness was a floodgate for me. Once I finally figured out how to create healthier habits I started to see what else was possible in my life. Up to that point truthfully, I didn’t have much faith in myself. I had quit dreaming for myself, and was sucked into the daily grind. Though I had much of what I wanted–an amazing husband and two healthy kids, there was still something missing. 

As I became more confident in my ability to show up for myself and started making progress on my fitness goals, I began to  feel motivated, equipped, and ready to finally start tackling the other goals I had put on the shelf.

Fitness can become the same floodgate for you…once you figure it out that is. I want you to see what is possible for yourself if you learn how to create a healthy lifestyle you actually like living.  Abandon all the diet information; cookie cutter workout programs; and healthy meal plans. Focus that energy instead on creating a plan that was made just for you. 

I’m going to share with you four tips I wish someone would have given me when I was first starting my fitness journey.

Face your fears-What is the real reason you  are not taking action towards taking care of yourself?

Maybe it’s not knowing what to do. Maybe it’s because you struggle to see you deserve what’s on the other side of your fear.

Failure creates so much fear for people–especially women. You’ve got to let go of the idea of perfect and be willing to take massive imperfect action. Don’t see failure as a bad thing. Each time you fail, you’ve simply found one thing that won’t work.

Common fears some of my clients have expressed in the past:

 Doesn’t want to have to give up everything she loves to eat- You don’t have to. Sure you may need to make some changes to how you’re currently eating especially if your current diet is cardboard or manufactured in a plant. Moderation is key. And there are always ways to make your favorite foods slightly *better*. Nothing is off limits. No food is bad. 

I am too busy to figure it out– just start. Start where you are, with what you do know. Often times walking is underrated. But it is one of the oldest and most effective ways to move your body. And just about anyone can do it. 

I can’t afford a trainer– you don’t need one. But if you do feel like you’d benefit from having someone to guide you then check into some more affordable options. You can get into a small group training session, hire a coach (often for much less than a trainer’s hourly rate) you pay monthly. 

I’m not even sure what I like doing or that I want to go to the gym. That’s totally ok. Tap into your inner kid and think about things you enjoyed doing as a kid, try a new class, invest in some equipment to have at your house, or try a boutique fitness studio instead of bigger gyms. 

I’ve seen some of my friends get too obsessed with healthy living, weight loss, or fat loss. Me too. In fact, I was that friend at one point. Let go of perfectionism. Let go of someone else’s idea of what ‘healthy’ looks like. Set goals for yourself that aren’t necessarily physique related. 

Equip yourself with knowledge

>> Diets don’t work. Sure they may work temporarily, but diets are not a permanent solution. In fact 95% of diets fail.

>> Despite all of the info that pops up when you Google weight loss, fat loss, or diets–you don’t need  to calorie count, count macros, points, or portions. 

>> You don’t have to work out for hours/ day 6-7 days a week.

>> You don’t have to follow one certain workout program.

You get to decide what goals you have and how you want to reach them. It’s easy when you’re first starting out with healthier lifestyle changes to get sucked into all of the information on the internet. So much of it seems like good advice, “Eat healthier, exercise more, create a caloric deficit”. For most people (about 95% of them) that doesn’t work..at least not long-term. 

These ‘healthier lifestyles’ are just more diets packaged a different way. There are ways to create the change you want in your health or your body without dieting or resigning yourself to exercising in a way you hate.

The best workout program or ‘diet’ is one you can do literally forever. This is why one of the biggest issues I have with mainstream health and fitness is the emphasis on perfection and the unrealistic means to get there. When we are trying to follow rules instead of creating habits, we only set ourselves up to fail. When diet culture does include habits–it’s usually just build a habit of following the rules. 

Keep in mind it’s not about what you’re missing out on or taking away, but what you will be gaining by implementing healthier habits into your day-to-day routine. Since practically nobody likes living in deprivation focus on healthy habits over following rules. Focusing on what you don’t have (link to other blog post about mindset) or what you’re not is unmotivating. Instead focus on what you will be gaining by creating healthy habits = more motivating.

Dream big for yourself

I didn’t realize all the times I kept giving up on myself at the gym I was playing small. Every time I quit, I was feeding the self-limiting beliefs I had about myself. The gym isn’t where everyone will find the courage to be who they were created to be. In fact, it wasn’t until I started running (which I hated for most of my life) that I started to see what was possible for me. Then over time I had the confidence to give the gym another try, which ended up being much more successful.

Ask yourself what you would be able to accomplish by creating healthier habits and ditching some of your less healthy ones. What would you do if you felt more confident, had higher self-esteem? What are some things you have missed out on by NOT being happy in your current body?

NOTE: Weight loss/ fat loss is not a magic pill or bullet. It absolutely WILL not fix your problems, and in some cases might even make things worse. Broaden your focus beyond the numbers and beyond trying to create someone else’s idea of a perfect body. 

 Start implementing healthy habits- movement, nutrition, mindset. 

>> change your environment to mirror the changes you want to make–make movement easier and healthier options more available while decreasing the unhealthier ones.

>> keep it simple to start and practice consistency over perfection and complicated strategies. 

>> focus on eating more veggies and adding in more variety.

>> Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk if you sit all day and aim to go for a walk on your break, grab a co-worker and get outside.

>> Set a reminder or alarm to go off every couple of hours to remind you to get up and move.

>> Sample some classes at local gyms/ facilities to see what you like or sign up for a community class (often cheaper than a gym membership and you might find it less intimidating than walking into a new class or the gym for the first time or in a long time).

>> If you don’t like exercise or have a bad taste when it comes to healthy eating–try thinking about it differently: it’s not a punishment, but rather is something you get to do so that you can do x down the road.

>> Think about your values and your goals, how would taking care of yourself make those things easier?

>> Remember you don’t have to do any specific kind of exercise or follow any one type of diet to create the results you want. You get to choose what works for you and your lifestyle. 

 I’m not a huge advocate for fitting the rest of your life around fitness. Rather making ‘being fit’ fit into what you’re already doing. After seeing so many women try over and over again to follow someone else’s rules, and being one of those women myself; I know it doesn’t work. 

You shouldn’t feel like you’re starting a new job when you embark on the amazing journey of bettering yourself through movement, nutrition, or otherwise. And if it does, that’s probably not the “healthy lifestyle” for you.

Cheers to creating food freedom, finding joy in movement, and loving your body long before you reach your goals!

xo,

Alisha

PS to make sure you’re starting off on the right foot, sign up below to grab your copy of 5 of the sneakiest ways you’re sabotaging yourself.