Image of young friends staying motivated through their wellness dream by hiking.

How to Stay Motivated

Updated September 3, 2021 . AmFam Team

Working towards a healthier you isn’t easy. But we’ve got some tips that can help! Here are 5 ways to stay motivated through your wellness dream.

Whether you’re striving to eat healthier, exercise more, manage stress or boost your wellness overall, staying motivated is crucial. The more motivated you are, the more successful you’ll be at reaching your goals and maintaining your results long-term. Even modest efforts can go a long way toward keeping your enthusiasm and determination going strong. As a bonus, you’ll likely have a lot more fun in the process!

Check out these five ways to stay motivated while pursuing wellness and keep your dreams on track.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals can help ensure lasting motivation. You’ll also feel successful along the way, which makes it easier and more enjoyable and to forge on and stave off injuries, which can stand in the way of success. Set gradual goals instead, starting with those that feel challenging, but also doable. Add ten minutes of activity to your current fitness routine, for example, then another ten down the road. Other realistic goals might include gradually incorporating nutritious foods to your diet, going to bed at a more reasonable time and minimizing stress with a daily guided meditation — it’s easier to tackle your dream in steps!

Embrace Your Body

In a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology in January 2008, researchers analyzed experiences with body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, weight stigma and exercise motivation in 100 female undergraduate students. Participants who’d felt stigmatized were more likely to avoid exercise. In other words, if you shun your body, you may feel less inclined to take care of it. Other research, published in Body Image in 2014, showed that routine exercise can boost body image, but that exercising specifically to change your appearance can lessen these effects. So, do your best to embrace your body as it is, focusing on nurturing your wellness, versus aesthetics alone.

Emphasize Pleasure

When you’re striving to boost your wellness, pleasure may not top your to-do list — but it’s important. If you enjoy exercise, you’re more likely to stick to it long-term. Add fun to workouts by sweating with a friend, taking classes or listening to your favorite music or an audio book on the elliptical machine.

The same applies to your food choices. “Think of having foods that are going to be physically and emotionally satisfying,” said Robyn L. Goldberg, a registered dietitian and nutrition therapist in Beverly Hills. She recommends keeping satiating foods containing a bit of fat, protein and fiber on-hand, making sure they also please your palate. Examples might include apple slices with nut butter and ingredients for a fruit, flaxseed and yogurt smoothie.

Choose Friends Wisely

The people you choose to spend time with can play a major role in your wellness. According to the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, friendships play an important role in whether a child feels motivated to exercise — regardless of their weight. The same goes for grown-ups! Spend time around people who prioritize wellness. Exercise, take a health education class or dine on nutritious foods together. Discuss your goals and cheer on one another’s progress. Chances are, you’ll all benefit.

Reward Your Progress

As you move forward in your wellness journey, take time to savor the benefits and reward your progress. After each workout, observe the positive feelings the exercise instilled. Such internal rewards can strengthen your commitment while making the most of those good feelings. Once you reach a particular goal, reward yourself with a healthy prize. Buy new workout gear, for example, or take a sunset hike, pausing to soak in your surroundings and reflect on all you’ve accomplished. You deserve it!

When it comes to pursuing a wellness dream, any progress is good progress. So keep these tips in your back pocket and refer to them when motivation is lacking. You’ve got this!

Want more tips and motivation?Join the dream movementtoday — we’ve got just the resources to help support and guide you and your family along any dream pursuit.

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