The buzz of having a new healthy living goal can spur you into action, but you need to make sure you stay motivated and keep focused, especially when life events get in the way.
Busy work schedules, family commitments and a social life can all combine to distract you from your goal if you don't keep regularly reminding yourself how important it is for you to achieve it.
Accept that life can be chaotic and if you can’t always follow an exercise schedule or eating strategy exactly how you planned it that’s OK, just do what you can but always make sure you spend time every day checking in on what you are trying to achieve and why.
This helps you stay focused on the benefits of healthy living at all times.
Write it down
Jot your goal down on a piece of paper or on your iPad and look at the goal each time you feel de-motivated.
Professor Greg Whyte, who trains Olympians and also trained Eddie Izzard for an incredible 43-day marathon challenge, recommends pinning a list of your goals up in a prominent place in the house, like on the door of the fridge.
Map out progress
Put your healthy habits into your calendar but also make sure that you make some notes in the same calendar of how life will be positively different if you regularly execute the habits you're noting down.
For example, if you're a runner you could add your running slots to your schedule and also keep a running total of distance run or target times for coming weeks. If you know what date you'll hit your targets you'll be far more likely to respect the training sessions that will get you there.
Writing things down is an effective way to commit to action but if you prefer something more creative, then go for it!
Start a mood board with images of where you want your healthy habits to take you - how will life look when you've achieved success with your goals?
Draw your future success.
Bring your future to life with a mind map. Brainstorm every element of success and get it all down on paper. Don't worry about a structure, sometimes the messier the brainstorming the better as it brings out new ideas. You can always tidy things up later.
Find positive role models
If it’s a fitness or weight-loss related goal, find inspirational role models for motivation.
There may be work colleagues or friends who have lost weight or improved their fitness and transformed themselves.
The world is full of inspirational examples of humans who have done incredible things.
Fauja Singh took up running as a hobby in his eighties after his wife died. He went on to complete numerous marathons, inspiring millions of runners (old and young!) worldwide.
The late Jane Tomlinson took part in numerous triathlons and marathons, as well as cycling across the coast of America, with terminal cancer. She was given six months to live after her diagnosis, but lived for six years and still managed to complete sporting achievements that most people would envy.
Whether it’s a friend or a celebrity who inspires you, find powerful role models whom you can think about when you feel motivation waning.
Keep a diary of your progress
At the end of each day, or every couple of days, jot down anything you did that will lead you closer to your goals.
Share your goals with family / friends or on social media so that others will support and encourage you. This also commits you to completing that goal.
Every milestone is worth acknowledging and celebrating to help keep you on track.
Completing your first ten-minute run without being too out of breath, drinking eight glasses of water every day for a week or adding an extra portion of fruit and veg to your diet every day are all achievements.
Once you’ve achieved something, give yourself credit for it.
Use this progress to keep you motivated every day.