One of the biggest challenges when seeking an active lifestyle is staying focused and following through on a daily basis. It’s easy to know you need to be more active; it’s just that much harder to keep up that motivation and focus, especially when all the excitement and hype dies down.
If you’ve been there you know it may even lead to mild forms of depression as you question your dedication to your health and wellbeing and if left unchecked, may boomerang into something more insidious like binge eating and feelings of low esteem. Hopefully, you haven’t gone that far down that path but even if you have, there’s still hope.
To begin with, let’s first explore some mistakes and wrong assumptions people make and accept when they are starting off on an active lifestyle path.
The first mistake is to think you can “nail it”. This happens when you start with a bang. You have energy, focus and you are pumped up to live that active lifestyle. You join a gym, schedule weekly nature walks, buy a treadmill; the works. After a week, you feel energised and you convince yourself things will always be this rosy. Wrong.
Your body and your mind like exercise and being active, they just won’t tolerate too much of it. So pretty soon you’ll start feeling out of it. Low energy and motivation creeps in and before you know it, you are back to square one.
Another mistake people make is to peg their active lifestyle on a person or certain conditions. For instance, if you went for bikram yoga with your spouse and loved it, can you still go when they can’t come with you? This is a big one because we often think the people who start exercising and doing stuff with us will always be on board.
Sometimes they may even be willing but circumstances change and they become unavailable. You may also be pegging your active lifestyle to where you live or work. If these change, what happens to your active lifestyle?
As you can see, these things can affect how you live your life and affect your commitment to living an active lifestyle. However, the biggest challenge by far is lack of motivation. Sometimes everything may be just the same as it was when you began but you just don’t feel like it. This is where variety comes in.
If you just stick to one routine, you will soon get bored and lose your motivation. Switch up the activities to do; today take a walk, tomorrow do some pilates, the next go for a swim and so on. The point is to have an active lifestyle all round, not necessarily in one particular activity.
The next way to tackle lack of motivation is to do it with people, not a person. Join a group of hikers or people who go surfing together. If it’s a group activity, there’s a lesser chance you will fall off the bandwagon due to boredom.
Finally, have fun! If you cannot find enjoyment and fun in the active lifestyle things you do, you’ll soon find you have no motivation to get involved. If you can, add dancing to your active lifestyle. Don’t just limit it to boring exercise-like activities. You must also learn to reward yourself or at least engage in something with a specific reward.
Running a marathon every year is a great way to do this. You’ll find yourself training all through the year and when you finish the marathon, you’ll have accomplished something many will never accomplish.
So don’t throw in the towel and say an active lifestyle isn’t meant for you. It’s all a matter of conditioning your mind to accept the active things you do as being part of your daily life and routine and the rest will be history.