Why It’s Important to Be Creative

think_outside_the_boxI’ve been having some great conversations in my current challenge group about making new habits long-term changes to my challengers’ lifestyles, not just a one-month or two-month thing. One of my best pieces of advice I can give is to be creative with what you’re doing and keep it fresh. Realize when you’re starting to get bored before you actually derail and fall off course.

More than a year into this journey and I’ve had to ask myself this question many times. Is what I’m doing still working? When I was in the mode of losing the weight I needed to, I would ask myself that question if I stalled out for several weeks. Now that I’m in “maintain” mode, it’s even trickier because not only do I not expect the scale to move much anymore but I need to be sensitive to when I adopt some of my not-so-great habits back before they turn into a problem. And I have to be open to change, which is hard when you get into a routine and are used to the ease of your “normal”.

Here are some practical examples of how I keep it fresh to stay committed to my healthy lifestyle:

  • If my workouts are boring me, I throw a new one into the mix. Because I love the workouts I choose, it’s always a disappointment when I start to grow tired of them. Rather than abandoning them all together, working a new one in one or two times a week usually helps me pull out of a rut and not only enjoy my new workout, but the one I used to love, as well!
  • Rewrite my meal plan if I’m not excited by the options on there. I usually meal plan about a month at a time, so if I pull up that week’s plan and grocery list before going shopping and I don’t know what’s on there, I make the time to re-write it. Is it a good use of time? Some would say not. But I’d rather have a good week of enjoying well-balanced meals than a week where I feel less-than-satisfied by what I’m eating for my meals and turn to “off plan” items to fill that void.
  • Take my measurements instead of hopping on the scale. While the scale doesn’t move much any more, I’ve continued to lose inches and go down sizes in clothes thanks to the workouts I’m doing. And if you need SOME sort of tangible “progress”, this is the one I tend to favor over the scale!
  • Switch my “go to” flavor of Shakeology. I like to toggle back and forth between chocolate and vanilla, and since I drink it once a day, if I start to get bored, this is an easy switch I can make!
  • Set up a walk or something with a friend. Usually doing some form of lighter activity makes me appreciate the more physically demanding workouts I do throughout the week and serves as kind of a “bonus”. Plus, friend time is always a good thing!
  • Switch up the way I distribute my food throughout the day. Dinner is my time to be creative but the rest of the day can look pretty boring. Nobody wants to have the same exact thing for lunch every single day, but as a busy mom, sometimes that’s all I can plan or grab for myself that stays “on plan”. Just recently, I identified the afternoons as turning into prime “snacky” time for me. So this week, I re-worked what breakfast looks like for me and introduced a morning snack, therefore pushing back my former early lunch and WAY curbing my afternoon snack cravings! Success!

And a few ideas from my challengers when I posed this question to them:

  • “One thing that motivates me when getting bored is something new to flaunt with my exercise program. New piece of clothing, swimsuit, socks, goggles, shoes. Motivates you to want to sport your new duds.”
  • “Every once and awhile I try on jeans I haven’t worn for a few years to see if they fit! It’s super exciting when they do fit! It’s always nice to get back into some of those smaller sizes you used to wear!”

So what about you? How do you stay committed to your healthy lifestyle so you can live it long-term!?

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