Making healthy changes can be a real challenge, especially when everyone around you seems to be doing something different. You’re at a party, and the tables are laden with carb-heavy, processed, and sugary treats, or you’re traveling for work and you’re stuck in a stuffy airport for hours on end. Modern life presents many obstacles to going Paleo, especially when it comes to nutrition, and while it’s okay to cut yourself some slack now and then, it’s important to find ways to motivate yourself to stay on track.
Whether you are brand new to the primal way, or you are finding yourself slipping towards your old habits, investing in ways to keep things fresh is a smart move. It’s not easy to eat clean, move your body, get good sleep, connect with nature, and unplug from the constant digital noise sometimes, so here are a few tips to help you stay motivated. Find what resonates with you, and don’t give up!
- Identify your reasons
One of the easiest but lesser-known tricks in motivation psychology is to consistently remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. After all, we all make choices based on our own personal reasoning and desires for a different outcome, and sometimes remembering these desires is the key to staying on track.
Think about why you decided to go Paleo in the first place. Was it to finally get a hold on your diabetes or other chronic illness? Was it to have more energy to play with your kids or enjoy the things you love? We all have our reasons, so take the time to tap back into those when you feel your willpower lagging. You can even write these down and place them somewhere visible.
- Surround yourself with Paleo media
Our perception of reality is mostly based on the information that we receive from our environments on a daily basis. So, if you’re surrounded by magazines, blogs, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, podcasts, and books that promote the standard American diet and other non-Paleo ideals, you will certainly feel like an outsider in your primal lifestyle. And when you feel alone or isolated, you are much more likely to go back to your old ways of being.
Think about the kind of healthy, encouraging, and supportive environment you want to create for yourself, and start following/subscribing to/reading those kinds of accounts. Paleo Magazine is just the beginning- you can find all sorts of wonderful, inspiring primal media out there nowadays!
- Measure your success differently
Thanks to years and years of societal indoctrination, we tend to have a very narrow view of what constitutes “success” when it comes to nutrition and lifestyle. We measure our accomplishments by numbers on a scale, by how our pants fit, or by our latest lab test results. And while these things are wonderful and can be very motivating, many people will not experience changes in these areas, and will become discouraged. The truth is, your body could be undergoing amazing, positive changes, but it won’t always register on a scale.
For real, lasting motivation, find other ways to measure your Paleo success. Maybe you’re sleeping better, or you feel more clear-headed than you did before. Perhaps your skin looks brighter, your pain levels are decreased, or your relationships feel stronger and more fulfilling. Pay attention to the little things, and don’t get caught playing the numbers game.
- Find a community
Paleo is no longer a fringe thing. You can find numerous websites, forums, meetup groups, and events that are centered around living a clean, healthy, primal life. We all know that accountability is a big factor in determining our long-term success, so reach out and link up with some like-minded people! It pays to have friends and acquaintances that you can share awesome recipes with, workout with, and lean on when you’re feeling tempted.
You may find your Paleo BFFs online, or maybe in your local gym, or perhaps you will meet some of them at conferences or book signings. Be open and curious about networking possibilities in your area, and surround yourself with people who encourage you to stay strong and healthy. When you don’t feel alone, and you feel like someone else is counting on you to stay on track, it makes passing up those sugary cupcakes so much easier!
If you are struggling to find your motivation again, know first and foremost, that you are not alone. We all go through periods like this now and then, where our drive lags and the temptations win out. But it’s all about getting back up again, and not letting a slip or two become the new norm. Living Paleo has so many incredible benefits, so make a game plan for when you’re feeling lax, and you can look forward to feeling vibrant and resilient for years to come!