If you’re reading on this site, you probably want to lose a little weight, or perhaps even a lot. Many people want to lose weight, and many more think about it on a daily basis. However, no amount of pure desire can get the job done. Even if you’re focused on the effort, and determined enough to research effective plans and set up a weight loss program, you still need to be motivated to do the work every day. You need something that will push you to eat right, keep exercising, and generally meet your fitness goals.
Truth be told, motivation works differently for different people, and there’s not always one tip that will do the trick for you. That said, we have a few suggestions for long-term motivation in a weight loss program.
Sign Up For Something
If you sign up for something you need to be in shape for, you can almost trick your mind into thinking motivation is out of your hands. In a way, you no longer have a choice of whether or not to follow your routine; you have to, in order to be ready (be it for a marathon, half-marathon, or even participation in a given sports league or tournament). This is not to suggest that training automatically results in success. For instance, some who train for marathons find that they actually don’t lose weight – forgetting perhaps that you still need to watch what you’re eating. But setting up an event you need to be physically ready for is still generally a good way to add some motivation.
Make A Bet
Here’s a quick story that might get you motivated just by itself: a man in England just a few years ago lost 100 pounds in order to win £5,000 from a professional betting firm. The man’s first attempt at the age of 28 failed, so it’s clear that making a bet doesn’t automatically mean winning it. But doesn’t that sound like more fun than simply starting a routine because you’d like to see a different number on the scale? Whether or not you can work through a professional betting firm, you can likely find one way or another (even if it’s via a family member) to make a bet on yourself to lose a given amount of weight in a given time. It might shock you how much motivation you take from the idea.
Stage A Contest
This is almost like a combination between the last two ideas, so we won’t spend too long on it. But the idea is simple: you need only find a friend or family member who also wants to lose weight, and set up a contest. Rather than taking an all-or-nothing approach (like whoever loses 15 pounds first wins), consider going on a week-to-week basis, such that whoever can lose more weight each week is treated to a coffee or something of the like. Or perhaps each week’s “loser” puts $5 aside, and at the end of the whole contest you treat yourselves to a nice meal together, paying with the pot. There are a lot of ways to do it, but having someone to compete with can really help.
Consider Your Reasons
Sometimes the best way to motivate yourself is to do some careful reflection about why you want to lose weight in the first place. There was a fascinating article delving into this idea, specifically with regard to autonomous motivation. It defines this as more identified or intrinsically motived, and gave the example of a thirty-something woman who’d been yo-yo dieting merely for image, but who found more motivation to keep weight off once she became a mother. She wanted to be healthy and able to run around for her baby, as well as set an example. Not all of us have that kind of motivation to boost us, but if you sit and think about your reasons, beyond body image or personal challenge, you might find something that drives you more effectively.