Now, I’m no fitness expert, but I believe we ALL struggle with motivation; especially when it comes to fitness/health. I hope these five tips help motivate you to reach your goals and provide you with tools to succeed.

1. Set Reasonable Goals

We all have a different set of goals we’d like to accomplish. Yours may be “I need to lose 80 pounds,” while mine may be “I want to drink more water.” Whatever your goals, make sure you make them reasonable. Let me say it again, REASONABLE. This means not saying things like “I need to lose 80 pounds in two months.” Although I applaud you for dreaming big, it’s very unlikely that would happen (nor should you want it to, that’s not healthy, girl). So, set your weight loss goals or your fitness goals (“I want to go to the gym at least twice a week”), but make sure they fit your personality and schedule. If I hate the gym saying I want to go to the gym twice a week won’t mean much. Once you’ve set your REASONABLE goals, break them down.

Let’s go with my example “I want to drink more water.” That goal doesn’t say much, does it? Am I cutting out pop? Am I not drinking juice? Am I ONLY drinking water? How much water? So, once you set your goal, break it down as much as you can. Step one is the most time consuming since

you’re taking so many things into account (your budget, schedule, likes, dislikes) but it’s highly beneficial and must be done.

So, my new goal can be something like this: “For the next thirty days, I want to drink 1L of water PER day. If I drink more, great, but if I don’t meet my 1L requirement, I have to do 20 push-ups. I will also avoid pop and juice, but won’t limit tea. I will also aim to decrease coffee to twice per week as to not further dehydrate myself.” It doesn’t have to be perfect “I’m never, ever drinking coffee again, just water,” you can allow yourself a little wiggle room, just make sure it’s reasonable and that it’s broken down.

2. Set a Realistic Timeline

So, you want to lose 80 pounds, or get to the gym three times per week. Great! Make yourself a reasonable timeline. Although you CAN lose 80 pounds, saying things like “I want to lose 80 pounds in two months” is very unhealthy and not realistic. That doesn’t mean you won’t lose 80 pounds, you can easily lose 80 pounds in say two years, it just shouldn’t be done in two months. So, whatever goals you set, make sure your timeline reflects reality. Remember, dream big but start small (pretty sure I just made that up, but you get the idea).

3. Have a dream board

Although we aren’t all creative, we are all VISUAL. As such, create yourself a little dream board to help motivate you to go to the gym or eat better (or both). It can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. A dream board is pretty much something that has your likes visually represented. Put it someplace where you will see it every single day. You can even take a picture of your dream board and set it as your computer’s wallpaper (or even your phone)—double whammy.

4. Treat yourself

Let’s be honest. Working out is hard. Eating right is hard. But is it impossible? No, it’s not. Don’t assume that now that you have some motivation to eat better or work out that you have to be perfect—you don’t (and you won’t be). Remind yourself as you reach your goals to eat better or get to the gym more that you are doing the best you can. Once you hit major milestones (according to yourself and step one and two), you can TREAT YO’ SELF!

However, this step is where people mess up and slip into old habits. I highly, highly recommend and urge you to treat yourself but NOT WITH FOOD. I repeat, NOT WITH FOOD. Say you’ve gone to the gym for a whole month and haven’t missed a workout, or you haven’t had chocolate in two weeks—it’s time to reward yourself for your efforts and motivate yourself to keep going, right? Right. However, if you want to reward yourself by accomplishing these amazing things by having a huge pizza to yourself, or having a weekend of feasting until you can’t move, girl, no. Next thing you know, you’ll be in a food coma. No bueno. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying don’t have a cheat snack or a cheat meal, ever, you can—and you should, just try to reward your big milestones with other things.

For example, for every ten pounds lost you can buy yourself a new book. For every 30 days you don’t miss a workout, you can get your nails done. For your 50 pound weight loss mark, you can go buy new clothes, or get a facial, whatever your vice.

You can make your rewards as frequent, big, or small as you’d like. However, avoid making your rewards/treats food. Seems counterproductive to treat yourself for eating spinach for two weeks with a brownie, no?

5. Get a Squad

Okay, it doesn’t have to be a squad, it can be ONE person, but they can be your motivation squad. This squad can be a few people close to you (or one person) that will motivate you no matter what. You can explain to the squad what your goals are and have them provide emotional support when needed (because you will need it) and motivation when yours lacks. We aren’t perfect. Sometimes, we will want to sleep in and miss a workout. Sometimes, we will want that 8th slice of pizza. However, if you set a squad in place, they can help guide you to the light. As an example, your squad can text you every morning to touch base with you and see if you’ve gone to the gym, along with providing motivational, even corny, fitness quotes. At first, it may seem silly to let others help you and guide you to your goals, but in the end, as long as you get there, who cares?

Remember, whatever your goals are for trying to get motivated to get to the gym, or to eat better, know that you won’t be perfect. Remember to seek improvement, not perfection (I think I just made that up too).

You’ve got this!