'Finding' the motivation to lose weight
January is a month full of good intentions and people trying to find the motivation to stick to their goals. Sounds easy but how do you 'find motivation'?
It's an important question. Achieving your goals is not about a beautifully crafted SMART goal. It's about having the inclination to keep going even when times feel tough. Here are eight ways you can give yourself the motivation you need:
Know your 'why'
I say this a lot but you'd be surprised how few people have thoroughly thought out the purpose of their goal. Losing weight isn't the purpose, it's a process. What is it you want to feel do or have after you have lost the weight? Having a clear sense of purpose will give you direction even in tough times.
Focus on what you want (not what you don't)
I prefer the term 'slimming' but most people use the term 'losing weight'. Usually because you only focus on it when you have too much and want to get rid of it. This is a focus on what you don't want which isn't very motivating because it's feels rubbish. As a result you'll stop when you no longer feel bad. Also having a focus on what you do want instead feels nicer and a lot more motivating. It will pull you towards your goal as well as push you away from what you don't.
What will you give up?
So by now you should be working towards something you really want. But how much do you want it? If losing weight (or slimming) is really important to you then you need to make it a priority above other things. This means focusing time, money, energy and other resources currently used for other things on your goal. You can't do everything, if you try to you'll quit eventually. What will you give up? Is that OK? If not explore what holds you back.
It's part of human nature that we need to see short term reward for our efforts to stay motivated. If a task feels insurmountable we soon feel deflated. With weight loss you wont see the weight fall away in the first few days or even weeks. Set short term goals as well as the long ones and celebrate the little victories as you go.
Rely on yourself
Working towards a goal with others is motivating and can make the process fun. However, your core motivation must come from you alone. If you rely on others to motivate you, what happens when they quit? What if they set the bar lower than you? If your motivation is compliments, what happens when they stop coming? Do you keep going? You must be your own judge. Do it for you. It's nice to share the journey but your goal can't depend on others.
Tell yourself different stories
The stories we tell ourselves probably have more impact on our motivation than anything else.
- Does the voice in your head chastise you for being overweight or congratulate you on taking action?
- Do you get cross with yourself for slipping up or get curious about what you needed in that moment?
- Is slimming an act of self hate or an act of self care?
- Do you tell yourself "I can't have that" or "I could if I wanted to, but I'm choosing not to"
- Do you tell yourself that other things and people make losing weight hard or do you tell yourself that you are in control?
The choice is yours.
Get up when you slip up
Everyone has a off-day. Make sure you don't let it be an off-weekend, an off-week or an off-month. When you slip up, forgive yourself, draw a line under it and refocus. A mistake does not undo all your hard work. It doesn't mean you are 'not cut out for this'. It's just a slip. Keep going. If your good days outweigh the bad you'll get there eventually.
Make it enjoyable
You need to find a way to make the process enjoyable. I don't mean rewarding yourself, I mean the actual process of losing weight needs to be fun.
Like cooking? Then focus on creating healthy recipes. Like the outdoors? Spend more time walking and enjoying nature. Competitive? Set yourself a challenge. Pick anything, what do you enjoy?
Want to understand your motivations?
So what motivates you?
Understanding what drives your behaviour is the first step to changing the habits which get in the way of your goals. Over the next few weeks I'll be running group coaching sessions where we explore why we sabotage our efforts, what holds us back and how we can overcome our blockers. In the group we'll give time to helping you identify your personal challenges and motivations and support each other along the way. Find out more here: