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  • Writer's pictureJim

Maintaining Motivation to Stay Healthy and Fit

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

How does a sugar-addicted, sickly, depressed and angry teen with a bad temper turn his life around and become one of the healthiest, best known and loved fitness celebrities of all time? In his early teens, Jack LaLanne followed a poor diet heavy in sugar and sweets, experienced daily headaches and had behavior issues in school and home. His behavior was erratic and he even tried to set his house on fire. At the age of thirteen, Jack became seriously ill and almost died from a fever that lasted almost two weeks.

Fortunately, Jack turned his life around by adopting a healthy lifestyle. His health and attitude improved and he embarked on a successful fitness career spanning more than seven decades, motivating countless people around the world to live healthier through exercise and good nutrition.

Many of us remember Jack LaLanne from his television commercials promoting juicing or from news reports of his extraordinary feats of strength and endurance on his birthday each year.  On his 70th birthday, he towed 70 boats with 70 people one and a half miles across Long Beach Harbor in California with his hands in handcuffs and his feet locked in shackles. Jack also hosted a fitness show on Television for 34 years, published numerous books and articles on fitness and remained a fitness icon his entire life. At the age of 95, Jack was awarded the Lifetime Fitness Achievement Award by Club Industry, a national fitness organization. Jack LaLanne lived a full life and died young at the age of 96.

In 2009 Jack published his last book, “Live Young Forever: 12 Steps to Optimum Health, Fitness & Longevity”   Jack describes in this book how he transformed his life from an unhealthy troubled teen to the healthy, happy and fit father of fitness and how you can do the same.

The twelve steps include motivation, eating clean, work out, stay away from killer habits, personal care, maintain perfect posture, stay well hydrated, stretching, find some energy, be in a solid relationship, never retire and consume plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Persevering in your health and fitness goals can be a major struggle. Maintaining your motivation through the highs and lows of a healthy fitness and nutrition lifestyle is difficult. Navigating through daily challenges that life brings can dampen our motivation.  Time pressures, stress, weather, boredom, distractions, fear of success or failure, comparing ourselves to others and doing the same routine over and over are a few of the factors that can affect our motivation levels.

See Motivation Challenges for some excellent tips on how to maintain motivation.

Psychology Today defines motivation as literally the desire to do things. Our desire is typically highest when we start a goal or a resolution but can wane over time.  Several myths persist about goals and motivation. One of these myths is that by simply visualizing what we want we will stay motivated and achieve our goals. Heidi Grant Halvorson, (, a social psychologist and author of the book, “Succeed, How We Can reach Our Goals”, discusses how visualizing our goals can help keep our motivation high. She cautions, however, that unless we take steps such as careful planning, effort, persistence and choosing the right strategies, visualization alone is unlikely to lead to success.

Maintaining motivation is so important that Jack LaLanne chose motivation as the first step in “Live Young Forever”.  Here are Jack LaLanne’s tips for staying motivated.

  1. Check yourself out in the mirror, relax the body and get mad

  2. Read books and magazines that have inspiring photos and great articles

  3. Tell yourself to eat well and exercise for well-being and longevity

  4. Break bad habits, No tobacco, alcohol or drugs to interfere with your commitment

  5. Get a training partner so you can keep each other stimulated and on track

  6. Organize your day so that you have time to exercise and eat correctly

  7. Develop a positive attitude. Think and picture how amazing you are going to be. Visualize it!

  8. Take a photo of yourself and stick it on the fridge or bathroom mirror

  9. Set an achievable goal for yourself and be totally committed to following through

  10. Build a “worse case scenario” picture in your mind. Do you really want things to deteriorate to this degree?

  11. Whether your prime interest is in being fit, living longer or having a sexually appealing figure, keep your target front and center.

  12. Recognize that willpower has to be nurtured. You can mentally rev up your engine to commitment.

Jack LaLanne’s tips for maintaining motivation agree with the science of success.  Follow the steps Jack outlined for keeping your motivation high and you will be well on your way to achieving all of your health and fitness goals.

Let us know how you stay motivated in achieving your fitness and healthy lifestyle goals.

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