Living Well:

Kate McKay

Feeling your confidence lag and commitment to live a fit and fabulous life starting to wane?

Featuring contributions from Danny Vadala, the owner and head coach of CrossFit Full Potential in Newburyport, here are seven ways to reboot your spirits and motivate you to get yourself all the way to the finish line with your health and wellness goals:

1. Envision how you are going to feel when you have completed your workout. Very few people are always gung-ho to hit their workouts head-on. However, what consistent exercisers have in common is that they have found a way to work through their resistance of starting. I have developed a built-in mechanism where if I don’t work out, I get so uncomfortable emotionally and physically that not exercising is inconceivable. I identify with the image of a fit person, so perceiving myself in any other way is a 100% no-go. I may procrastinate, drag my heels and sigh my way to the gym, but I always get it done. This is also a skill I help develop in my clients.

What vision can you set for yourself as a successful exerciser? Imagine how you are going to look and feel when you have finished a great workout and imprint that in your mind, so when resistance sets in, you can reach into your motivational memory bank and get yourself out the door. Remember: The first couple of steps are often the hardest. You got this!

2. Bite-size your goals. Make creating micro-goals your new go-to. When your motivation leaves the building (and it will), you can wrap your energy around the inspiration and eventual attainment of your micro-goals.

For example, let’s look at some goals I hear from clients: I want to be able to run a mile, do a pull-up or walk up three flights of stairs without losing my breath. Those are great goals. To break these down into micro-goals, it would look something like this: Start with running for a quarter-mile without stopping; increasing the weights on your lat pulldown machine; or taking bigger steps as you go up one flight upstairs, focusing on driving through your glutes, thereby putting less stress on the knees.

Focusing on micro-goals is a wonderful and worthy way to attain your bigger goals in the long run. Try a couple on, and see how it goes.

3. Use imagery of what you hope to look or feel like. This imagery could be a person (a picture of yourself or someone you admire), a place (where you will be experiencing the best version of you), or a thing (a reward you will give yourself when you attain your goal).

Many of my clients use vision boards to create a palette of their inspiration. Others use sticky notes, motivational self-talk or meditation. Try them all out, and see what works best for you. What’s most important is that what you choose motivates you to be your absolute best. Now is the perfect time to make it happen. What’s the point in waiting?

4. Switch it up. Doing the same thing over and over again is a kiss of death not only for most diets, but also your exercise plan. If you are bored and feeling your enthusiasm wane, this is a perfect time to try something new or different. My area of interest when it comes to exercising includes weight training, hiking, biking, yoga and CrossFit. Why? Because variety is the spice of life — it keeps you feeling young and vibrant. And who doesn’t want to experience a little extra of that?

Go ahead, and try something you always wanted to. Put it in your calendar, and get busy with new ways to celebrate the beautiful gift we were all born into. Our bodies are worthy of that level of extra love and attention.

5. Use a fitness tracker or workout tracking app. Sometimes it is helpful to know what you’ve been doing. Maybe you only worked out once last week and that’s motivation enough to work out extra this week. Personally, I love to see the concrete results of how many steps I took, what my pace was on a run or how many minutes my heart rate was elevated during a workout. Those statistics can be your affirmations if you’re a numbers person.

6. Schedule your workouts into your planner. If you treat exercise as an appointment that can’t be booked over by another commitment, you are more likely to treat that time as a value. “I’m sorry, I’m booked from 12-1 today” can remove the guilt of using exercise as a reason to delay another commitment.

7. Hire a coach or trainer. As a certified health and wellness coach and personal trainer, my work is centered around helping people self-identify themselves as healthy and vital in all areas of their lives, not just physical, but also with diet, sleep and stress management, and helping them build supportive relationships. The success of clients is higher as they adopt and sustain positive and lasting behavioral changes.

If you were to ask any successfully fit person how they did it, chances are he or she would mention a coach or mentor who motivated and inspired him or her. Personally, I have had several great ones, including my CrossFit coach, Danny V. Because the truth is, even a great coach needs another great coach to keep playing that A-game!

Your health and wellness are paramount to having a fulfilling life. Please reach out to me or ask a fit friend for support or a recommendation.

So until next time, keep leaning into your greatness. I am here cheering you on! 

Kate McKay, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, motivational speaker, author and business consultant, resides in Newburyport. Contact her at katesiena@comcast.com.