You’ve heard me speak of the importance of setting goals. The only issue to understand now is how to get yourself motivated enough to set them and continue to achieve them! What better time than the start of the new year. The motivation behind your goals, in my opinion, is the most important factor in determining how successful you are at achieving them. It is the driving force that keeps us on our path when we reach stumbling blocks and failures.
These little bumps in the road are inevitable. It’s how we handle them and use our motivating factors that separates those of us that succeed from those that give up. Motivation levels will also change each day depending upon how you feel or how you experience certain situations. Weight loss motivation can sometimes be particularly challenging because although you may understand that weight loss, to be permanent, is a slow process, in this fast paced world we all want that ideal size NOW. Since the number one new year’s resolution has a fitness or weight loss connotation, we will focus our attention on that today.
There is actually a reason why most people start a new diet or exercise plan with very high motivation, but have difficulty maintaining it once they reach a plateau. Not one person has ever become successful without first falling short at some level. You may even consider this failing. It’s time to learn how to fail forward. In other words, when you fall short of a goal or even fail, learn the lesson life threw at you, get back up, and move forward. It’s when you learn from your shortcomings that you win!
Once your goals are set, sit down and figure out exactly WHY you have these goals. What is your driving force? This is your motivation. I have patients that will tell me they need to lose weight for their children. They want to be healthy for their kids, setting a good example. There are actually many different types of motivation for weight loss. Discovering your type will allow you added success. Maybe you are motivated by plotting graphs and keeping track of weight loss by comparing the results to previous numbers. Use weight and measurements of arms, legs and core as well as measurements of your exercise and strength training to meet this type of goal oriented motivation. Others are more motivated by relationships. You may find that programs that incorporate meetings and group motivational times will suit your needs better. If learning oriented motivation is more your style you may find that your motivation increases after you’ve done your research in understanding what weight loss can do for your life and body at a cellular level. Whatever your motivation, the point is to find it and USE it!
The strength of your weight loss motivation will help to determine how successful you are in your weight loss efforts (or any other goal for that matter). If you can first determine what really motivates you, your success rate goes up exponentially. You also need to state for yourself what your life will be like if you DO NOT reach these goals. Every time the road gets difficult, refocus on these motivating factors. Concentrating on what life is like with your goals met, and what it is like without them met. Remembering this, go easy on yourself and start fresh the next day.
I must say that another aspect of weight loss motivation is to learn to accept yourself for who you are. The most common reason people lose interest and abandon their weight loss is because they have unrealistic expectations of how much weight they will lose and how quickly they can lose it. Learn to love the person you are today and not the person you want to become. You may need to improve your health and your eating habits but your character isn’t defined by how much you weigh or what you eat. When you learn to appreciate your body you can work WITH it and not against it. To lose weight consistently, over time, the right way and keeping it off permanently is definitely doable by following your motivation and loving who you are at the same time.