The purpose of this is to give you helpful and practical ideas or techniques to apply in your everyday life, or a question to make you think about or even reevaluate important aspects regarding your eating habits.
I will start with a question today which may sound easy, but actually may entail important thoughts and emotions behind your diet that are in direct relation to what potentially stands in your way to achieve your health goals.
Please take a moment and ask yourself what are the genuine reasons you want to improve your diet and fitness levels and what is the meaning behind it , because it may actually effect how successful you are, especially in the long term.
To illustrate this, let me give you two different examples.
Let's say one person wants to slim down to feel more accepted and to achieve more appeal in the environment. This type of motivation is called extrinsic, and research shows that it often doesn't result in long term success.
On the other hand, think of somebody who engages in a fitness routine because it is a form of expression (for example dancing as exercise), which would feed a basic psychological need, in this case self-actualisation. Moreover, he or she develops a healthy eating plan by reading a lot of healthy recipes and books about nutrition, which gives him or her a feeling of competence and accomplishment, so it would serve the person's need for personal growth.
But most importantly, the person feels that he or she does all these things deliberately and thus experiences autonomy, a very important internal goal when it comes to effective behaviour change. Having a choice without feeling obliged or even forced to stick to healthy behaviours leads to intrinsic motivation, which is optimal for persevering new habits.So now think about what this implemented change means to you and make use of personal resources to increase the connection to personal values and needs.
See acquiring knowledge or learning a new exercise as a competence and a form of personal growth, so you have a positive and crucial personal connection to health behaviours (opposed to seeing it as a chore that you have to do but would rather lie on the couch and eat candy). Use these habits to connect with other people by cooking meals together or joining group yoga classes.
If you want your motivation to be intrinsic and thus persistent and long lasting, it is important to change your approach on how you see healthy habits. It has been shown that it is much easier and enjoyable and hence much more effective if people focus on the process (as a source of enjoyment, personal growth and connectedness to other people) instead of a number on a scale (the outcome).
If you want to read more about the scientific background of these findings, the so-called self-determination theory, go to this link: http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/9/1/22
Next week I will be focusing on ways to increase your intrinsic motivation with healthy eating based on these ideas.