August 18, 2014

how to make health and fitness a habit.

I think everyone knows what it's like to have a hard time getting and staying motivated to work out. We've all been through those phases where you're pumped to get eating healthy and exercising every day.

This motivation typically occurs during 1 of 3 events:
a) You just watched the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
b) Summer/a vacation/a big social event is coming up
c) You just ate a whole plate of cookies and then you remembered you had a plan to get abs.
this chick only ate 7. Sometimes I don't even remember until cookie 57.

After dealing with that on and off again relationship with health and fitness, I am happy to say that habit has changed over the past 2 years. The gym has become my favorite time of the day and what I look forward to the most. I can tell you it definitely didn't start out that way though. There's a quote that says "Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going." I think for most people, the initial motivation isn't necessarily the hard part, but turning it into a habit sure as heck is. So here are a few things that have both motivated me, and helped me turn my health and fitness into a daily habit:

1) Start a motivation board or collage. If you have one already, change it up. I like to have mine on my fridge so that I remember my goals in the hardest place to stay strong- the kitchen. (hi, I love food).

Here are some of the things I have on my motivation board:

  • The quote "Garbage In, Garbage Out." This is a reminder that what I put in my body will effect my performance at the gym, my mood, and my energy.
  • Pictures of Crossfit women that I admire. Notice that I didn't say bikini models. There's a big difference between having a photoshopped picture of a 6'1" bikini model on your fridge and someone who is a real athlete with a real body. (Also I was joking about the VS fashion show- I don't watch that nonsense for that reason.)
  • My 2014 New Year's Resolutions with very specific goals listed. For example, I listed specific weights of certain lifts I wanted to reach and movements I wanted to master. The beauty in that is that as you do each one, you get the satisfaction of writing in a check mark next to your goals as you complete them (use a red pen, it feels more legit). So it was really cool that I got to check off my 8 pack one bullet point at a time.              That was a joke. But I did a lot of spaces because I wanted you to think for a second that I was serious. 
  • And lastly on my motivation board I have pictures of athletic competitions and races I have done to remind me of what I've accomplished.
2) Following these rules: "Never miss a Monday, never miss 3 days in a row, workout at least 4 times a week." For me, never missing a Monday is a big one because I feel like it sets the tone for the entire week.
3) Remembering that the journey is the reward.

4) When I really just am not feeling it that day, I force myself to go change into my workout clothes. Doing this gets me out the door 999 out of 1,000 times. The other 1 time it leads me to a nap, but I'll take my chances.

5)  A good reminder: a one hour workout is only 4% of your day. (At least that's what a quote I once saw on Pinterest told me. Still haven't actually sat down and calculated that to verify.)

6) If you dread working out, then you need to do find a different form of exercise, a different place to exercise, a new workout routine/video, whatever! Just try something else until you figure out what you enjoy. Working out should be an escape from work, school, and home life and should an hour that you look forward to every day. If that's not the case for you, try something different!

7) Go with friends. Find yourself some swole mates, son. Not only does it make working out more enjoyable but you also have someone to be accountable to.

Also, I feel the need to make it known that I don't use the term swole mates seriously and if I did, I hope you would feel the need to punch me in the face.

8) If you don't like to waste money, this is a good one for you. There's a phone app called "Pact." How it works is you form a pact with a group of people who also have the app. You put in how many times a week you pledge to go to the gym, and the amount you're willing to wager. Whenever you go to the gym, you check in there (it verifies that location is a gym using GPS). If you don't go, then you lose your money for that day. If you do go, and someone else in your pact doesn't, you all split that money. The amount of money can be small or large, but I say go all out to keep you motivated!

9) It all starts with your attitude first thing in the morning. Wake up to a positive message on your alarm, listen to good music, have a nutritional breakfast, and put a motivational quote as the background on your phone. Or maybe even Ryan Gosling if that's your thing. Lay out all of your gym clothes so that you wake up and see them there, and have it in your mind that a killer workout is on the agenda for the day.
10) I'm just going to throw this out there and I think you should try it. Run to slow music. It's my absolute favorite thing to do. My  mind just wanders and before I know it, I've run so far I'm in Mexico and then I can't get back in the US because I don't have any identification.

This is actually a legitimate fear I have when driving so I thought I would be a little dramatic with how far I run. If you want to try this slow music goodness, try the "sleep" station on pandora or stations like John Mayer or Ed Sheeran. You can thank me later. Well I mean, if you don't end up stranded in Mexico with no ID.

11) If you stare at and criticize your body every single day expecting changes, it's going to be a long, long journey. Eat healthy and train hard, and the body will take care of itself.

*But do (!!) take progress pictures every once in a while! This is something I try to do regularly now, but I didn't do when I first started and I wish so badly I would have.

11) This thought is obvious, but sometimes it gets me to the gym: Do I ever regret missing a day of working out? always. Do I ever regret getting up and doing the workout? never ever. (the same can go for eating healthy. I never regret when I do, almost always regret when I don't).

12) If you get off track with your food that day, don't just say "I'll start back up tomorrow." Start with the very next thing you decide to eat (or not to eat).
But with that being said- allow yourself some good food, man. All things in moderation.

13) And if all else fails, go buy new workout clothes. The day new workout clothes don't get me motivated is the day that I am truly a lost cause. Am I right or am I right?

xo Natasha


  1. I just read your last two blog posts to catch up, now that I'm all moved in and stuff. :) Anyways… I've told you this before but I love your blog. You're so funny and just a sweet genuine person. I'm going to try all of your best of beauty products! Especially that blush… that's my favorite part of makeup!

    1. Thank you sweet girl! I love reading your blog as well, but it also makes me wish we would have been friends in high school! We are soulmate bffs waiting to happen. xoxo

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