You know that feeling when you know what you should be doing... whether it's eating your vegetables, waking up and getting in a workout, or just doing the things that make you feel like the best version of yourself.
But for whatever reason those things aren't consistently happening...
You find yourself feeling unmotivated, wanting to stay cozy on your couch watching Netflix. And before you know it your thumb is hitting the Uber eats app (again.)
We've all been there. Ruts happen. You can be committed to a healthy lifestyle and still experience them.
Below are some tried and tested tips to get out of a rut.
1. Try something new.
One of the best ways to get out of a rut is by changing your routine.
If you've been doing the same thing for awhile it's natural to get bored.
A few ways to switch things up:
- If you're usually a gym bunny try taking your workout outside or setting up a small space at home. Here's 10 ways to get motivated to workout at home.
- If classes are more your thing try a different studio or type of workout. If you usually gravitate towards yoga or pilates look for a dance or sculpt focused class. If you typically run or walk for cardio a body weight workout is a great way to mix things up.
- Changing the equipment you use keeps things fresh - here's a list of my favorite at home workout equipment.
- Even shifting the time of day when you usually workout can make a difference. I used to work out first thing in the morning, but lately I really like a lunch time movement break. Just this small change reenergized me.
Nutrition wise - I definitely find myself in a food rut from time to time. Sometimes even my go-to meals suddenly seem blah.
When I feel uninspired to cook or make healthy choices here's a few things that help:
- Page through old cookbooks. (Most of us have a stack collecting dust somewhere.) Something about turning the pages and seeing the imagery is inspiring.
- Go to your Instagram saved recipes and choose a recipe you've been meaning to try. If you aren't using that feature start now! it's helpful for anything you want to bookmark, I love it for workouts as well.
- Head to the farmers market or grocery store, and plan a meal around what's in season. Spring and summer are two of the best seasons to do this - especially if you live in the Northeast or Midwest. Everything feels fresh around this time, and I find myself looking forward to cooking with seasonal produce.
2. Be realistic.
Often we're in a rut because we're overwhelmed, and we're trying to do too much at once.
When this happens our brains feel overloaded , and things start to work in reverse - instead of being productive we freeze.
A few months ago I was struggling with the dinner time routine. I'd often find myself scrambling to make a healthy meal at the end of the work day. And feeling annoyed that things weren't coming together more seamlessly.
This time of day can already be stressful (perhaps particularly for parents.) Those two hours before bedtime you face the feeling of wanting to soak up time with your children, prep for the following work / school day all the while magically producing a healthy and delicious dinner. It's a lot.
My attention was feeling really scattered.
So I made a few simple changes.
I realized most days I needed to create a hard stop to my work day in order to eliminate some of the stress , and the temptation to say screw it and order takeout.
I needed to get realistic about time. Cooking is something I typically enjoy and by taking a few simple steps- doing a mini meal prep at the beginning of the week, ordering groceries online , and giving myself enough TIME I feel less stressed.
The same realism applies to fitness.
Chances are if it's not in your calendar it's not going to happen.
3. Work with a professional.
Studies consistently show that accountability is key to achieving your goals.
Having someone who expects something of you is the strongest form of accountability.
If you're struggling with getting in your workouts OR putting in the work and not seeing the results you're hoping for working with a Personal Trainer can really help. (A lot of my clients come to me feeling this way, and we develop an individualized plan that works for them.)
And if you're in need of nutritional guidance a registered dietician can help. Sometimes a professional's guidance is what we're missing.
4. Make the process more enjoyable.
The reality is humans don't do things that are unenjoyable for very long.
A strategy I recommend is finding little ways to make things you're not in the mood to do more pleasant.
For example - when I strength train I'll catch up on episodes of a show. Even better if it's something you consider a guilty pleasure. Doing something good for your body while ingesting brain candy takes the "guilt" out of it.
I have clients who like walking on the treadmill while watching movies that their partner might not be into.
When I cook I'll listen to a podcast or a favorite playlist, pour spindrift in a wine glass, and make the process more enjoyable.
5. Celebrate the small wins.
We're our harshest critics. We often forget to take stock of all we ARE doing along the way.
My 14 day challenge includes a daily accountability checklist. Looking at it at the end of the week helps you get a sense of areas you're doing well in, and potentially where you can improve.
Seeing what I have done on paper always motivates me.
6. Ask yourself what you can do TODAY to feel better
Taking just one step towards feeling better can help you build momentum. Take a 10 minute walk, add a serving of vegetables to your next meal, go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
Executing on small healthy habits helps you build momentum, and often feel instantly better.
7. Take Breaks
This might seem counterintuitive, but rest is important. We all NEED breaks - mentally and physically.
Maybe that means scheduling in more rest days. Maybe it means using your vacation time, and giving yourself permission to loosen your routine a bit.
When we push and push we eventually burn out. Our bodies need rest days to allow glycogen stores to replenish, and reduce muscle fatigue. Mentally our brains need a break to function at peak potential.
Refer back to these during those times you're feeling unmotivated!