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You checked all the boxes, followed the rules of the training plan, and made it to the final day of your fitness program or challenge — congratulations! There’s nothing quite like that feeling of accomplishment . . . until it’s time to figure out what’s next.

No matter the challenge that you completed, it can be easy to lose momentum or slip back into past habits, which can dim the euphoric feeling — and results — you just obtained. To help prevent this, we asked Lindsay Ogden, CPT, a Dynamic Personal Trainer and nutrition coach at Life Time in Eden Prairie, Minn., for her tips on maximizing motivation post-challenge and moving forward with confidence.

1. Focus on what worked.

A challenge is a set number of days for a reason — it allows you to commit to healthy habits, but it’s not usually meant to last forever. For example, Life Time’s Dynamic 30 Challenge is a 30-day intensive program designed to jump-start your healthy-living goals. Once the 30 days are up, you can then narrow in on the aspects of the challenge that worked for you.

“Think back on your challenge and ask yourself a few key questions,” Ogden advises. “Of the new healthy habits you tried, which ones did you find most beneficial? Which ones did you find the easiest to sustain? Try to continue being consistent with a few of those. If you adopt just one new healthy habit into your regular routine, that’s a win!”

2. Avoid falling into an “all-or-nothing” mindset.

Fitness challenges often emphasize the importance of consistency — think exercising for a certain number of minutes each day or consuming 30 grams of protein at each meal. During the challenge, it can be easy to think of these as make-or-break habits, but even if you miss a day here and there, you’re still on track to make progress.

“All-or-nothing thinking usually leads to . . . nothing,” says Ogden. “Instead, I encourage you to adopt an ‘all-or-something’ mindset. Progress is progress, even if it seems small. Doing one thing for your health or fitness is better than the alternative of nothing.”

3. Find your community.

Many of us go into a fitness challenge seeking accountability and end up finding it in the form of a coach or supportive friends. To stay inspired and motivated after a challenge, Ogden suggests surrounding yourself with people who support your goals.

“We’re social creatures,” explains Ogden. “Belonging to a community, especially one of like-minded individuals with similar goals, makes living a healthier life easier. Seek communities where habits you’re looking to be consistent with are the norm versus the exception. External accountability is always helpful when transitioning after a challenge.”

For those who could use guidance as they take the next steps in their fitness journey or might benefit from the accountability of working one-on-one with someone, a Dynamic Personal Trainer can be a helpful person to include in your community.

4. Take time to reflect before jumping into the next challenge.

Before you take on your next fitness challenge, Ogden suggests debriefing on the one you just finished. “There’s a time and place for a ‘fresh start’ or ‘kickoff,’ but the goal is to make the healthy habits you learn an established part of your lifestyle,” says Ogden.

“If you find yourself seeking challenges or programs often, I encourage you to reflect on why you weren’t able to continue with the habits you formed in the previous challenge,” she continues. “Take out what isn’t sustainable for you and focus on the behaviors you can see yourself doing both today and a year or more from now.”

Keep the conversation going.

Leave a comment, ask a question, or see what others are talking about in the Life Time Health Facebook group.

Emily Ewen

Emily Ewen is a senior writer and content editor at Life Time.

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