How to Stay Motivated
Setting that initial goal is exciting. Just stating it can give many of us a rush of dopamine. But what happens a month or two down the road, after the initial excitement has worn off and your motivation is dwindling? Often focusing on that BIG end goal, which seems miles away, can lead to frustration. To combat this, concentrate on the small details: your mood after you've eaten a healthy meal or how you feel after working out. One important thing to remember is that motivation doesn't always come BEFORE an activity. Sometimes you must force yourself to DO the activity and then the sense of accomplishment and motivation follows. Here some more tips on how to stay motivated.
List Your Reasons
Looking (and feeling) better on the beach is a perfectly valid reason for wanting to slim down, but it might not be enough inspiration for the long haul. "Come up with a running list of all the things that are better about your life when you're at a lighter weight,". Your list might include things like being healthier, having more stamina, improving your confidence, shopping for fun fashions, keeping up with or setting a good example for your kids, or knocking something off your bucket list like hiking the Grand Canyon, which is much easier when you're fit and at a healthy weight. Once you've written your detailed list, keep it handy and read it often, especially when you're feeling particularly drained, to remind yourself why it's worth staying on track.
Some goals may take months or even years to achieve, so the risk of falling off the wagon before that day is more likely. Instead of waiting until you've reached your final weight loss goal to reward yourself, plan something amazing along the way. Have checkpoint goals on the path to success. For example, set a goal of working out three times a week for the first three months, after which your reward is a luxurious massage. You'll be less likely to quit when things get tough around the midway point.
‘Fake It Till You…’
Imagine you are already at your goal. How do you feel? What does your life look like? How do you act? By living and breathing what you want to be when you hit that goal, you are bringing it into reality. You start to embody that person. It’s only a matter of time before it’s true!
Sign up for a Competition
A little healthy competition goes a long way. Think about signing up for a local competition, such as a 5K or triathlon. A recent study published in the journal Obesity showed that team-based weight-loss competitions can help you lose up to 20 percent more weight than if you did it alone. Also interesting is that team captains shed more weight than team members. So, join a fitness or weight-loss competition with friends or coworkers and lead your team to victory!
Find Your Key
How well do you know yourself? What motivates you? Are you motivated by caring for loved ones? Or are you motivated by fun activities? Find what your true motivators are. For example, if your family inspires you, focus on how exercising will help you remain in your kid’s lives. To change your patterns of behavior, you need to recognize your patterns and why they exist. If you can redirect that motivation into a new action, such as working out or eating healthy, your goal will be much more compelling and achievable.
It may not be a lack of motivation, but rather your fears or beliefs that are holding you back. For example, if you've been trying to lose weight by exercising regularly but find yourself avoiding the gym or the outdoors, ask yourself the real reason why. Do you not want to exercise? Or are you embarrassed to show your body? To help overcome your fear, make a list of alternatives that can help, such as working out with a DVD at home or exercising with a friend in a place you feel comfortable, like a women-only gym.
Use Social Media
A Facebook or Instagram diary not only provides built-in accountability from followers, but also offers a great way to track your progress. Daily photos (like posing after a great workout or with a healthy meal you’ve created) can document the changes in your body that you may not otherwise notice. Another benefit: Think of all the people you are motivating by posting your journey.
Set up Your Environment to Win
Design your space to reflect the new you. Stock and organize the fridge with healthy, prepped foods in clear containers; leave fruit out in bowls on the counter; keep your sneakers by the front door. Creating your fitness environment to reflect your new lifestyle intentions can make it that much easier to stay on track.
Use an App
There are more fitness and weight-loss apps than ever so instant motivation is just a tap away. Whether you need motivation to cook a healthy dinner (try a healthy-recipes app), need a little support, or you're just looking for a new way to exercise, there are great apps to keep your motivation high.
Focus on Gratitude
We all have those moments of feeling uninspired or down. Instead of listening to that negative voice, try shifting your focus to appreciation and gratitude. Instead of beating yourself up for not losing a pound this week, be grateful for how your body moves and all the things it does for you. Shift your focus from what’s wrong about yourself to what’s right! Cultivating gratitude for yourself, your strengths, your perseverance, etc., can help remind you of how amazing you are. And with that, you can do anything!