We’ve reached the middle of March we’re guessing there may be some of you feeling some New Year’s weight loss resolution burnout. It’s a natural phenomenon, particularly as the practicalities of everyday life attempt to sap every ounce of motivation we may have felt as the ball dropped at midnight.
On the other hand, maybe this is the year to think differently. The truth is that you don’t have to fall back into habits that are unproductive to your weight loss efforts. Plenty of people have figured out the trick to sustaining motivation each and every day to reach their goals. Now it’s time for you to fall into those ranks. Here are five great tips that can keep your motivation engines humming for the rest of your life.
1. Reframe weight loss success
Of course the ultimate definition of weight loss is seeing fewer pounds register on the scale, but it’s not the only measure. In fact, how about looking at your progress by the amount of energy you have? Or by a smaller pants size? Or by less pain in your joints? All of these successes may actually come about as a result of increasing your muscle mass while reducing fat percentage, which are somewhat independent of your total body weight. To keep your motivation up, it’s worth it to look at your weight in multiple dimensions rather than fixating on one number.
2. Think really small
This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s a critical skill of people who are able to lose weight and keep it off. It means accomplishing very, very small goals every single day that add up to big time positive results instead of setting one huge goal that will almost certainly end in disappointment. For instance, if you have started to add exercise to your weight loss plan, you may be tempted to think of it in terms of how many calories you need to burn each time you do it. But thinking along those lines may actually backfire because the undertaking seems too big. If you’re not a competitive athlete, it’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself, and you may ultimately find excuses to back out of it. But if you break your exercise routine down into its tiny components, you’ll find that the amazing feeling of accomplishing those small steps will propel you to complete your activity. This may literally break down into steps like: 1) check exercise class schedule, 2) put workout clothes on, 3) get into your car and drive towards the gym, and 4) go to class. Whether you burn your target calories is up to you, but the point is that your small goals have gotten you to the place you need to be. And that is much better than doing nothing.
3. Find like-minded people
Multiple research studies back up the notion that weight management success is bolstered by having people in your life who support your healthy habits. Ultimately this is really just common sense. If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds, it’s probably not a great idea to spend a lot of time with your cousin who likes to eat late-night large sausage pizzas. It’s very hard to resist sharing in that experience. But if you’re hanging with a crowd that keeps sugary foods to a minimum and likes to keep active, chances are you’ll feel more motivated doing that too.
4. Give yourself a daily break
It’s not easy living in a society that seems to demand perfection in almost every aspect of life. We’re barraged by images of ultra attractive, fit people working in the perfect job with the perfect family (including the perfect dog). The unintended consequence of that imagery is self-sabotage and a defeatist attitude. “I’ll never be that, so what’s the use?” We can tell you right now to STOP IT. First, those images are for the most part manipulated (use of Photoshop is prevalent) and second, you are only human! You need to let yourself off the hook and acknowledge that you are doing the best you can with what you have. As long as you know that you are making an earnest effort, you are all good.
5. Visualize the future
Speaking of imagery, one of the most productive uses of it is in your own mind. You have the power to create visions of any kind, which means you have the ultimate choice of creating negative or positive images. This is an easy one! Always, always, always choose positive. Picture yourself in a healthy body, happy in your own skin. Make that image stick. Seeing is believing. And if you can see it in your mind, it will increase your chances of making it happen in real life.
Remember, managing your weight is a lifelong effort that requires maintaining a minimum level of motivation to “keep on keeping on.” Incorporate these tips into your routine and you’ll see just how easy it can be to keep that motivation flowing.