Many of us have set our New Year’s resolutions by now and maybe even started working on them, but motivation is needed to keep up the good work. That’s true anytime we set goals. Once we decide what we want and how to accomplish it, we’re excited and take off running. Problem is that often we don’t see results as quickly as we want, negative self-talk takes over to convince us we can’t really do it and our lack of motivation to keep going just washes that goal away. So how do we stay motivated and find the drive that will help us thrive?
Give Yourself a Break
For most of us, we’re much harder on ourselves and hold ourselves to higher expectations than others do or than we do for others. Learning to embrace a more positive attitude towards ourselves and give ourselves the same “break” we would someone else can go a long way towards keeping us motivated to reach our goals. One study done on athletes with one group talking positive to themselves while embarking on learning something new reported that the group with the positive thinking was able to accomplish goals of learning a new skill better than those that didn’t use positive thinking. According to Sofia Rydin-Gray, PhD, director of health psychology at Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, NC, having a system to track the work you’ve done towards your goal will give you the positive feedback to keep going. That way if you make a slip, you don’t just concentrate on that one mistake or back-slide and give up. Start noticing the types of words you say to yourself and make the effort to talk to yourself with more positive language. Think about what you would say to someone else in the same situation and start applying that to yourself as well. For example, making an error in subtraction in your bank book just means you made a mistake, not that you are Stupid, Stupid, Stupid! If you are trying to lose weight and find yourself one afternoon eating a candy bar, that doesn’t mean you’ve blown it totally, can’t stick to a healthy eating plan and just need to quit. It just means you gave yourself a treat one afternoon, or that you let your stress get the better of you and need to find a different way of stress management or something along that line. Sofia Rydin-Gray also stresses that breaking your goal down into the behaviors you need to do to accomplish it and tracking each of those behaviors can be more rewarding and motivating than just tracking the one final goal. For example, if trying to lose weight, keep track of how much you exercise, how many times you eat an apple instead of a candy bar, how many times you get up from your desk at work and walk around, etc. With this system, even if you back slide in one area, you have lots of other success documented to keep your motivation thriving.
Turn Your Negatives Into Positives
It’s much easier to say we’re going to stop saying negative things to ourselves than actually doing it. After all we’ve done it for so long it’s natural. It can be done however as pointed out by the use of cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy stresses that to change how you feel about yourself, you have to change how you think and develop these as new patterns to replace the old. Bruce Hubbard, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York and director of the Cognitive Health Group, stresses that identifying and replacing the harsh judgments we give ourselves has to become an automatic process. Motivation increases by changing how you think about yourself as you become more accepting of transgressions. Instead of seeing these transgressions as failure, you are more likely to be able to discard them, see them for what they truly are, and possibly even be able to laugh them off. In cognitive behavioral therapy, the process is to observe and identify what you are thinking about yourself or what negative statements you make to or about yourself. Then pick the statement around any given issue that has the most emotional charge on it for you. Using that statement find evidence that supports it and that is non-supportive of it and finally pick a new statement to replace it.
Discover Your Own Beauty
As you practice identifying your negative thoughts and working through changing them to more positive thoughts, you’ll start discovering your own beauty. No one is perfect and we all have our own unique quirks, looks, and imperfections. But many people, especially women have such a self-loathing especially when it comes to body image that it’s hard to look past and find the beauty. It’s also hard to change to a positive thinking model if you are ultra-critical of your looks. Even worse, us older women often pass this type of thinking on to the younger females we have an impact on. This is a vicious cycle that is perpetuated by the media and that we need to break. You’ve heard the saying “fake it til you make it”. Amy Bloom, author of Where the God of Love Hangs Out, advises that may have to be the first step for many in breaking this negative pattern. No matter how much you dislike your body or how many flaws you can find with it, start acting like you like your body. Catch yourself when you begin to criticize your own body or someone else’s body and change what you say and think. Look for attributes instead that you truly admire and start emphasizing those traits. Since so much of our negative language revolves around our body image, that is one area to clear up on our way to adopting a positive attitude that will keep us motivated.
Nutrition to Help Kick You Into Drive
You know if you feel good and look your best you will have more energy and be more motivated. So paying attention to what you eat is an essential part of moving towards positive thinking and keeping your motivation going. If you are trying to lose weight as a resolution, eating a healthy diet is a good start, but there are other tips that can help. Dieting is often frustrating and a set up for failure, and therefore does not help with positive thinking and drive. Most times when we are on a diet, that consumes our thoughts, and we feel deprived. Adopting a healthy eating plan and making some changes in your eating habits can help keep your drive up and support weight loss so make that a goal instead of saying you are going on a diet. One eating habit change that can be helpful is instead of eating 3 regular larger meals a day, you may be better served by eating several smaller healthy snacks or meals throughout the day. Leatherhead Food Research in the UK has nutrition researchers that report findings of eating almonds for a snack as holding off hunger between meals. Almonds are a good source of healthy fat, magnesium which has a soothing influence on mood, tryptophan that helps in producing serotonin, and zinc. A Purdue University study also found that chewing the almonds as much as 40 times will add to their ability to hold off hunger. Fruit or raw veggies low in calories are another good snack to eat between meals to keep hunger pains away without adding unwanted calories. Along with eating healthy, burn off calories with exercise. Exercise also builds muscle which boosts metabolism, lowers stress hormones and boosts endorphins in your brain to help keep your mood up. One Danish study reported men doing a 30 minute workout everyday actually lost more weight than those that worked out for an hour. Reasoning was that those doing more exercise built up a bigger appetite and ended up eating more. This study indicates that often less is more as is also true with calorie intake.
Paying attention to your gut health and making sure you are digesting all your food properly can also help not only with weight loss, but with motivation in general. Having a healthy digestion system that is working properly will insure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs for energy from the foods you eat. A study in Genome Biology’s July 25, 2014 issue talks about how changes in diet can affect the balance of the types of bacteria in the digestive system. So when making big changes in your eating, supplementing with probiotics may be helpful.
Whole Food Supplements
When your nutrition falls short, motivation and focus towards your resolutions are hard to maintain. This is where whole food supplements can be helpful. Here are four supplements all with the super nutritional power of AFA bluegreen algae that can help supply nutrition to fill in the gaps needed to boost physical energy.
This supplement was created with those with active lifestyles in mind. It has a combination of wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea; as well as bluegreen algae.
This antioxidant/algae supplement has 100mg of ubiquinol, the active and bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10 along with a blend of organic flaxseed oil, olive biophenols (Hidrox®), organic reishi and oyster mushrooms, and AFA bluegreen algae to support your body on a cellular level.
This enzyme/algae supplement combines the plant-based proteolytic enzymes bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, as well as AFA bluegreen algae that also helps support active lifestyles. These type of enzymes have been found to support the body in fighting off inflammation, fight off stress, and nourish cells.
To maintain an active lifestyle requires healthy, flexible, and strong joints and supporting cartilage. This joint support supplement combines vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and AFA bluegreen algae to aid in the support of joint and cartilage health to help your body keep up with all you do and keep you moving forward.
I hope your new year is off to a good start and that this is the year you leave your negative thoughts behind and let your positive thinking direct you to be motivated towards accomplishing your resolutions and goals. It requires a little work and lifestyle changes to get there, but will be so worth the effort.
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