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Stick To Healthy Diets Effortlessly By Riding Your Motivation Wave

Stick To Healthy Diets Effortlessly By Riding Your Motivation Wave

When creating personal goals and self-improvement strategies, our health is usually at the top of the list. We start off strong – full of motivation and plenty of willpower – but we all know the feeling of losing that after a month, week, or sometimes even a few short hours.

Despite knowing that healthy eating is important for our bodies, keeping up the habit can be a struggle. So how do we tackle losing motivation and create a long-term health kick that lasts?

Demotivation Kicks In When We Don’t See Results Instantly

At the start of a health kick, we’re excited for the changes we’re making but we’re also evolved to want instant results. When we don’t see these immediately, demotivation kicks in. We know the healthy choice we need to make but that motivation wanes.

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Even chopping up the vegetables can start to feel lacklustre and boring. As a result, it’s easy to let your new healthy eating habits fall to the wayside pretty quickly.

Fasten Your Seatbelt! Motivation Is Like A Roller Coaster

Wouldn’t it be great if we could bottle up that initial motivation and keep it going? There is some good news!

According to research by Stanford psychologist, BJ Fogg there is a way to ride the motivational wave that can mean sustaining your motivation for healthy habits for a more extended period of time.

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So what is this motivational wave? Well, these are the fluctuations we experience in our motivational levels. For example, they are obviously pretty high in the beginning when we set out our healthy eating goals, when we’re combining it with exercise, or have a specific weight-loss goal. But they can dip when we’re tired from work, bored of the same food, stressed or fed up.

It’s this wave of ups and downs that play havoc with keeping ourselves on track.

Sticking To Your Habit Is Easy: Do More When You Feel Motivated

When it comes to our healthy eating habits, Fogg explains[1] that the key is to ride this motivational wave when it’s at a high.

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What does this mean? Well, putting in all the hard work when your brain is highly motivated will help you in those times when you want to give up or tempted to break your new habit.

One example is that once you’ve bought your vegetables and other healthy foods from the store (i.e. the wave is high and motivation is strong) utilize this time to come home and chop up and prepare the food so it’s done and ready for cooking later. Then, when you aren’t as motivated, you’ll have less work to do in order to remain healthy.

When You Feel Motivated, Seize The Moment And Do These Things!

So what do you do when you are feeling motivated? It could mean spending this motivational high researching interesting recipes and getting excited for different meals. This creates inspiration and forces the brain to see the long-term and associate healthy meals with excitement.

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It could also mean spending this motivated time to cook a big healthy meal in one go and store it in the refrigerator or freezer. This way you don’t have to deal with cooking it and is ready waiting for you when the wave is low.

It could mean making dates with equally motivated friends or family to come over and cook together as a way to gather up some support and keep the healthy habits going.

It’s all about grasping the time to do the harder work while motivation is at its highest. This means the times when motivation is lower and you’re feeling lazy, it’s all prepared in advance – less slip-ups and less chance of giving up while in demotivation mode. So, take a shot at riding the motivational wave, utilise its peak and see how far it can take you through your healthy eating journey.

Reference

[1] BJ Fogg: Motivation Wave

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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