Hit the Finish Line Stronger and More Motivated Than You Started

By , Alicia Capetillo, Editor-in-Chief
Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!

Spark: Who's Hiding in Your Head?

If you're not already following SparkPeople's Daily Motivation group on Facebook, stop reading this post right now, click here, hit "+ Join Group" and get ready for some serious motivation to come your way. You in? Okay, good, now that we got that out of the way, I'm going to hit you with this:
As someone who struggles with silencing the irrational voice inside my head, this quote speaks to me on so many levels. We often talk about mindset here at SparkPeople and how it is arguably the most important indicator of your success. A determined mindset is key for ensuring you don't skip out on your post-work workout just because you had a rough meeting with your boss. A determined mindset is what gets you in the car, drives you to the store, picks out all the healthy ingredients you need to make a week's worth of salads and pushes you to actually prep those salads when you get home. Being confident in your goals and in yourself is what leads you to make the decisions that add up to a healthier, happier you.
But what happens when your brain is not on board? What happens when your brain is your biggest bully? What happens when you can't convince your brain that you deserve better than settling for an unhealthy life?
If you've ever had your brain call you names, talk you into quitting on yourself or generally throw pessimistic shade your way, it's time to evict the Negative Nancy (or Nathan) taking up real estate in your head. Think about the last time you looked in the mirror. Did you spend the time critiquing all of your perceived flaws and berating yourself for a roll here or there? Or did you look yourself in the face, smile and pat yourself on the back for the things you love about your body and the small subtle body changes you've noticed since you started exercising? The former is toxic; there is no reason why you brain should be your worst enemy.
If that quote resonates with you and you're hoping to sprint into 2019 with some body love and a healthy appreciation for all the amazing things our bodies are capable of doing (extra weight or no extra weight), start small. The next time you look in the mirror, look at your body and find one thing that you love about it. Now say it out loud. "I love the way my dimples shine when I smile." "I love the callouses on my hands because it reminds me of the weights I lifted yesterday." "I love how my booty fills out these jeans." Even if the enemy living in your brain protests and starts looking for things to critique, focus on saying your statement even louder or a few times until it is a little less vocal. Try this every morning after you brush your teeth or every night before you go to bed. The more you appreciate your body for how it is right now, the less power that little voice inside your head has over you.

The brain can be a powerful, persuasive being, but if you're on a journey to health, it's important to remember that those are just insecurities born out of a dissatisfaction with your current lifestyle and that those insecurities can be overcome by the power of positive thinking. We are all worthy of health, so the next time that voice starts spouting off negativity, remind it who's boss and flood your mind with appreciation for the now, excitement about the future and pride.

Spark: Just Keep Swimming (or Walking or Meal Planning or Tracking)

Here's a stat people hate to hear: 95 percent of people regain weight they've lost. If you're in the process of wrapping up those goals you set last year, you might be thinking "No way that's going to happen to me, not after all this work I put in! No way!" And, yet, the stat exists. So what changes from the time you achieve your goals and the point where you realize that you're right back where you started?


A post shared by Kerri Walsh Jennings 🦁🦋 (@kerrileewalsh) on

While everyone's story is different, for many, they see the scale slowly climbing due to the incorrect assumption that they're "done"—done with food tracking, done with focusing on portions, done with their workout routine, done with having to think about their weight forever. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the work doesn't end when you see that magic number on the scale or slide into that "goal" pair of jeans. No, as this advertisement so eloquently reminds us, stopping just because you've reached this goal would be crazy.
Here at SparkPeople, we encourage small, sustainable goals specifically to offset that surprising statistic. You see, when you focus on making changes that you can stick to, your life doesn't have to revolve around cutting out carbs or overtraining your muscles. Small changes are easy to incorporate into your life because your life is better when you're getting enough water, fueling your body with the right foods most of the time (even if that means cake on your birthday!) and staying active.
Furthermore, while we're all about celebrating major accomplishments such as hitting your goal weight or running that 5K, the best way to reward yourself is by setting another goal. The adventure doesn't stop here! Your next goals don't have to be huge—they just need to push you. Maybe that means you lost weight with healthy eating and you're ready to bump it up a notch by setting a goal to walk the neighborhood with your dog every Tuesday for 20 minutes. Whether you're Serena Williams or Suzy from accounting, there will always be something you can work on improving.
If you're approaching the end of the year and are already thinking about going back to your old ways or giving up your routine, remember that it would be crazy to stop here. Health is a lifelong process and those who push themselves to constantly grow and never settle will find themselves in that coveted five percent maintainer's club.

Smile: Holiday Travel Is Coming

If you've never raced through the airport to catch your flight, have you even lived? The adrenaline rush as you race by the food court, reading signs as quickly as your eyes can scan them, ignoring obstacles like slow walkers and oversized luggage that might get in your way is heart-pumping fun.
It seems everyone has a bolting-through-the-crowded-airport story to share and they're always hilarious. For me, it was Houston International, racing to catch our flight to Costa Rica that was scheduled to take off three minutes after our flight from Cincinnati landed as my boyfriend speed-walked behind me with our backpacking bags. I took a wrong turn, almost flattened a toddler and somehow made it to the gate just in time to plead with the attendant to wait on the boy to arrive. We were rewarded with champagne from the flight attendant and some very nasty looks from the rest of our section when we finally found our seats.
This holiday season, this guy is taking no chances on missing a flight or looking like an amateur trying to make his connection. Big props, man.

How do you stay motivated during the holiday season?