5 Tips to Keep the Momentum Going

By , SparkPeople Blogger
At this point, the novelty of the New Year has worn off. Hopefully you’re still going strong with your healthy living goals. However, if motivation is starting to wane, don’t despair! You aren’t destined to fall back into old habits, or fail at those goals you set just a few months ago. There are simple ways to get back on track and refocus so that this becomes YOUR year of permanent change. Are you ready to get started?

1. Revisit your goals. Did you set goals that were specific, with progress measurements along the way? Are you rewarding yourself for your hard work, instead of always beating yourself up if you fall short? It’s great to say you want to lose 10 pounds by eating better, but if you don’t have a plan for what “eating better” means, you’re not likely to be successful. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to increase your 5K speed? Make sure your goals are also meaningful because that helps keep you motivated when times get tough.

2. Find things you like. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing or what you’re eating, you aren’t going to keep it up forever. Exercise shouldn’t be something you dread, so if you hate to walk, don’t do it. Try swimming, biking, dancing, or any other activity that interests you. The more you like it, the more you’ll stick with it. Same goes for food. If you don’t like spinach, don’t eat it just because you think you have to. There are plenty of healthy foods out there, so experiment with different options (and different ways of cooking) until you find what works. You might find you love spinach if it’s sautéed with garlic and onions, or you might find you never want to eat it again. Either way, don’t force something if it’s not working.

3. Create a support system. When you start making changes, it might feel like you can take on the world all alone. But when things get tough, it’s important to have people you can lean on for support and encouragement. This could be a partner, family member, workout buddy, or online community like SparkPeople! In addition to the support, these people can also help you stay accountable, so that you follow through with what you say you’re going to do. You’re less tempted to splurge on an unplanned dessert if you’ve told those around you it’s something you’re trying to avoid. 

4. Learn from your mistakes, don’t fear them. Too often, we expect perfection from ourselves. We worry that if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned, we will fail. The truth is, it’s not always so black-and-white. Your body is very complicated, so even if you anticipate a two pound loss this week, it might not happen. Even if you say nothing is going to get in the way of your daily workout, sometimes things do. As long as you can refocus, learning from experiences when things go wrong, you’re still on the right track. 

5. Reward yourself! Don’t wait until you’ve lost 20 pounds to recognize your hard work. There’s no reason not to celebrate the small milestones you reach each week, or even each day! Maybe you were able to walk 5 minutes longer on the treadmill or do two more pushups this week than you did last week. Maybe you resisted that donut offered by a co-worker. Although these single accomplishments might not be the secret to reaching all of your health and fitness goals, they are progress that should not be ignored. Rewards don’t have to be expensive or fancy, but they are certainly effective when it comes to motivation.

If you’ve been going strong since January 1st with no signs of slowing down, WOO HOO for you! If you’ve gotten off track, no matter how far, there’s still time to turn it around. Consider setting two small goals to work toward over the next week to get things going again. You have the power inside of you to make any change from this moment forward. Are you ready?  

What small goals are you going to set today to get back on track? What has helped you to stay motivated when times get tough? Share in the comments below!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


EVIE4NOW 4/27/2021
good advice.. thanks Report
LOSER05 9/17/2020
Thanks Report
LIS193 9/14/2020
Great article Report
CECELW 9/13/2020
I forget to set goals. Big or small. I just never seem to follow thru Report
Thank you! Report
Thanks Report
I need to set up some goals. Report
Great Article
Helpful article, at times I start thinking (my greatest defect) and wonder while am I still doing this! Report
Great article! Report
Thank you. This is perfect timing for me. I needed to hear this. Report
thanks for help to get back on track Report
What keeps me motivated is the SPARKPEOPLE website. If I come here every day and do the challenges, I am accomplishing something. Report
Great tips to remember when you feel like giving up. Report
Thanks. Report
Thanks Report
Great article! Thanks! Report
Thanks Report
Great tips! Thanks! Report
great tips Report
Good info! Thanks! Report
Thank you for sharing. Report
Re-visiting my goals, and getting more specific about them.
I'm thankful for my support teammates here on SP - Christine Paula, Julia, Lisa - what would I do without you girls there to lift me up when I fall? Need to find something to do that I enjoy until the weather breaks and I get outside. Guess that will mean getting my DVD's out and joining in with those old group favorites! Great article. A lot of good reminders of what I need to reach some goals!! Report
Drink my 8 glasses of water and continue eating well Report
Thanks for the blog! My goals for this week are to drink 10 glasses of water daily, do at least a little exercise each day, sleep for 8 hours a night, and track my food even if I'm not tracking perfectly. Report
I am working on this very thing starting today. Back to the gym I go. And I am excited to do it! Report
Thanks Report
My goals are important. Thanks for the hints! Report
Continuous improvement Report
good info Report
Good info Report
I felt that this time around (been at this SP thing forever) setting a 2lb per week goal was reasonable and all was going well until.....I abandoned tracking honestly from Thanksgiving (where I achieved my current weight) allowing high fat high sugar foods into my nutritional bottom line. My weight loss has stalled. I will not make my goal in 2 weeks. I made that decision. It is not too late to re-commit to losing those last 12-15 lbs and that is my first goal which, If I stick to my original workout schedule and nutritional plan I should achieve by Feb 1st 2016. which is my 2nd goal. I think I may be getting bored with my repetitious meals. I am preparing meals that have no added fat and include only fruits and vegetables as a source of carbohydrates. I allow grains and fats or maybe a restaurant meal 1 day per week. I am not unhappy with this, but I might have stagnated. Will be searching for new recipes in the days that follow. Please look at my food tracker and give me your feedback on how to mix it up, all ideas will be appreciated :) Report
I'm on a small changes challenge. Today is to sleep 8 hours. Which I probably won't. I usually get 5 or 6 hours of sleep. Sometimes it's a banana
n my cold cereal. Or I'll have blueberries in my oatmeal. Report
I did get back on track but now I have a week away and will have to make good meal choices which will be hard since I like foods that I can't or won't cook at home. on my return I will knuckle down because I know I can get back on track Report
The part of this article about goals is an "Aha!" moment for me. I set a goal of losing 55 pounds by my next birthday, but haven't examined how I'm going to achieve it. I will now set intermediate goals and think more about what specific things I will do to get there. Thanks! Report
Thanks for sharing this motivating article, it helps a lot :) Report
I try not to choose New Year's Resolutions that I won't want to do. This year, I am taking it slow and coming up with new ones as I go along. I always like to have ten, and I'm on #6 today. I've decided that I am going to look first for used clothes, except for work clothes which last longer if bought new and underwear, socks and workout wear. And I may need to buy leggings new, I love to wear leggings! You have to keep getting new clothes as you lose weight, so this topic has been on my mind and I'm glad I made it a resolution. Now I need to tell all these catalog people to please just let me buy online, if I really want something. I'm being deluged with junk mail! It's bad for the trees and me, because I see all this stuff I want that I don't really need.

I am working out, I know most people here are talking about working out. I walk in place for two hours a day. If I miss a day, due to illness, I make that up as soon as I can and go back to that date in the fitness tracker and say that I did it. Some people might call that cheating, but I think it's a good idea. I'm getting in 14 hours a week! I hope to be adding some running in place soon. I'm getting stronger, and running is good for people with asthma. Report
For those who don't enjoy exercise and have physical constraints,, I have a bulging disk in my lower back and no cartilage in either of my knees, making walking any distance painful. I also need to lose another 150lbs. before I can have my knees replaced, which is difficult to do with limited exercise options. (Upper body work is also painful due to a bulging disk in my neck and a failed left shoulder replacement,.) At the age of 56 I am on a walker, can no longer work, and must rely on my husband to help me with basic tasks I used to do myself without any difficulty.

After a year of feeling hopeless and being morbidly depressed, I finally discovered the benefits of aqua therapy. Now I'm walking in the pool, and losing weight, my mood is improved, and there's finally hope of becoming independent again at some point. Feeling stronger, having a better outlook on life, having my husband compliment me as he notices I'm slowly becoming more active, it's all rewarding. Is it all stuff I should be doing? Absolutely! Do I still need positive reinforcement to keep going for the long hail? Definitely!! Since I'm also a visual person and like to"see" results for my hard work and dedication that are not necessarily tied to scales that can often be fickle, I also reward myself by downloading a song I love every week that I track my goals. The cost: anywhere from free to $1.29. The boost to my motivation? Priceless!

Hope this helps. Report
#2: I don't like to exercise, and there is no activity (other than reading, playing the piano and singing) that I can do and enjoy (walking long distances is totally out of the question, unless I want my back to be crippled).
#5: I don't believe in rewarding myself for something I should be doing. That's like rewarding myself for cleaning the house, doing the laundry, or cooking healthy meals. Report
I took everything off the treadmill, dusted it and lubricated the belt last month, I then changed my deserts to fruits, protein drinks, and even tried green smoothies. Goal #1 to loose 10 lbs at a time until I hit 150 lbs or feel better about being in swimsuit. Goal #2 to get my step-daughter (12 years old @166#) and my husband (who has knee problems now) to join me when I go walking, biking and cutting back on some foods and snacks. Report
My new year's resolution this year was really simple: no getting my food through the car window. This basically cuts back my consumption of fast food. If I want fast food (McD's, BK, Wendy's, etc.), I must park the car and walk into the restaurant, which I refuse to do 98% of the time. It's too much effort, especially this winter with the weather being the way it is!! So instead of driving through the drive-thru on my way home after work, I just go home. There's always something there that I can eat that's way healthier than the "food through the window"! Report
My New Year fell apart quickly, but I used my love of Ash Wed. to get back onboard, saying what I would give up for Lent was unhealthy living by giving myself SparkCoach. What a difference. I got brave and changed the spent battery in my SPAT. What a difference. Only a couple of weeks in, I feel that SPARK again and have crossed over 3,000 steps/day. Trending in a healthy direction! SparkPeople is right: use whatever motivates you and brings you joy. Report
Having fitness activity that I truly love makes a big difference. For me, it's a daily yoga practice plus brisk walking for cardio. I've been rewarding myself monthly (a t-shirt with a slogan I love after 30 days, a set of yoga videos after 60 days), and I'm looking forward to my next monthly reward. Being on SparkPeople daily is really motivating too! Report
I stayed on track all through January, but went off the rails in February - partly boredom, partly I was trying to change too many things at once So I focused in on my one main issue at present, late night binging and joined only that spark team So far so good. Next I hope to tackle my sleep issues - but one thing at a time. Report
I drink a green smoothie almost every morning (Budbuddha - it's all about what you put in it!). My first goal is to have one every morning, not skipping it because I'm running late.
My second goal is related to fitness. I injured my knee in Dec and it's taking forever to heal. I've been skipping my fitness class for the last month, even though the instructors are friends of mine and offered to work around my injury and do upper body exercises with me. Tonight, I'm going to take them up on their offer and return to class. If I overdo it (my worry), well, then I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
What has motivated me? Having so many people in my fitness class cheering me on (which is made up of my Daniel Plan group from my church) keeps me wanting to go back, keeps me wanting to stay on track. Report
I can especially relate to number 2 FIND THINGS YOU LIKE. I make green smoothies and I don't enjoy them. So lately, I have been making soups with just as many vegetables. Soups are especially good in this ice cold weather which we have been having this winter.. Report
I also needed this reminder. My two goals are: 1) To do at least 15 minutes on the treadmill every day - so I am ready to walk outside when the weather finally warms up; 2) To make a meal plan for next week so I don't substitute fast food for healthy food. Report