When you’re beginning to make changes, staying motivated isn’t hard. You’re excited about all the great things that reaching your goal will get you.
However, after you’ve had some time to adjust to the changes and realize how much work they’re going to take, it’s pretty easy to lose that initial energy and want to go back to the way things used to be.
Here are some great ways to keep your motivation burning strong:
If your final goal is so far in the distance you can’t see it, it can be difficult to keep working toward it. So, the best thing you can do is create some milestones along the way to help you remember that you’re heading in the right direction.
For example, if you want to lose 40 pounds, that can feel like a lot. However, if you break it down into increments of ten, it will seem not quite so daunting. Yes, you’ll have to lose ten pounds four times, but doesn’t that sound easier than losing 40 pounds?
Not only does it feel better to think of smaller increments, it also helps keep you motivated when you are reaching goals along the way to your final goal. Every time you reach a set-point you reaffirm that you can do it!
What good is a goal if it doesn’t have a reward? You don’t have to do anything big, just something small will do (unless it’s a big goal that you’ve hit). The key is to find a reward that makes you want to work to achieve it.
Since everyone is unique, what motivates you might not motivate someone else. For that reason, you want to come up with your own rewards. Here are some ideas you may want to consider:
Some people use food as a reward. Should you? If allowing yourself to eat a chocolate bar will keep you on the straight and narrow the rest of the time, then go for it. But, if it could start a deadly downward spiral of unhealthy eating, you’re best to pick non-food options instead.
Face Your Inner Motivation
What is it about weight loss that truly motivates you? Sure, maybe you want health or you’d like to wear those jeans you wore in high school, and if you do then great. But is that all?
Although contrary to popular belief, it’s okay to want to lose weight to make an ex regret walking away. And, if you want to be the one that has all eyes on you when you walk in the room or be considered the hottest person on the block, then so what? If that’s what you want, then go out and get it!
Not sure what your true motivator is? One way to figure it out is to imagine the future you. Picture yourself once you’ve hit your goal. What do you notice about the future you that is different from the you that you are right now?
Are you more self-confident? Maybe you’re more comfortable setting boundaries with other people so they don’t walk all over you? Or, perhaps you have more energy to play with your kids or grandkids.
Once you pin-point the differences, you’ll know what it is that you’re attempting to achieve. And, it’s these things that are going to keep you going when the going gets tough, which it will from time to time.
Research suggests that people who write their food down lose higher amounts of weight both short and long term. According to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, those who journaled lost around six more pounds than the participants that didn’t.
Journals don’t have to be just for food either. You can also track your feelings, thoughts, concerns and celebrations.
The great thing about journals is that they can help you see patterns. For example, you may notice that you’re hungrier after drinking a diet soda than when you drink regular water.
Don’t forget to write down your upcoming rewards. Keeping your eye on the prize will help you stay motivated when you’re ready to give in.
Ask for Help
If you’re struggling, there’s no shame in asking someone to help you. Remember, it takes more strength to go to someone for guidance than it does to fight your battles alone.
One of the best places to find help is online. There are forums, Facebook pages and all sorts of groups you can connect with. It may be daunting if you’re a little introverted, but remember that other people struggle too. And, by you stepping up and talking about it, you may be helping others just as much as you’re helping yourself.
When you’re part of a network of people who have similar goals, it helps you stay accountable. On top of that, you just might make a friend or two!
Get Your Sleep
Although not normally associated with weight loss, sleep is imperative when it comes to dropping those excess pounds. How so?
Advantages of Peaceful Slumber
Just as your body loses more weight when it has enough water, the same can be said for when it gets enough sleep. When you get adequate shut-eye, you handle stress more effectively. This is especially important because stress causes your body to release cortisol – a major weight gain hormone!
Remember that food didn’t used to be as plentiful as it is nowadays. So, when people didn’t have the necessary food they needed, it created stress on their body. In an effort to conserve energy, their body boosted its cortisol production so they could survive famines.
Now we have different stressors. We’re trying to juggle work and home. We face financial and family problems. Even though the stress is different, our body responds the same way it did years ago – cortisol production goes up, taking our weight right with it.
So, when you sleep, your body isn’t in that stressed state. Instead, it starts to relax and produce endorphins instead of cortisol. Endorphins make you feel better and promote weight loss instead of weight gain.
Sleep is also the best time for your muscles to heal after those intense strength training workouts. That’s exactly what you want to happen so they grow big and strong and push your calorie burn higher than ever before!
Although we know it’s good for us, sleep is often pushed aside as unnecessary. However, research suggests that if you don’t get the minimum requirement of 7-10 hours nightly, you’ll likely have more fat.
Perform a Personal Sleep Inventory
Take a look at your sleep habits. Are you spending enough time in bed, or should you be spending more? What can you do to get yourself in bed earlier if it is an issue?
There are definitely times in our lives that we’re more sleep deprived, such as with an infant or when work is crazy. However, other things impact our shut-eye time too, such as late night video games, drinking and worrying about things beyond our control.
Improve Your Sleep
One of the best ways to sleep better at night is to de-stress your body. Keep your body active, spend some time in the sun and limit your caffeine intake. If you have a lot on your mind, write it in a diary or share your concerns with a friend. You can also do some form of yoga or meditation to relieve some stress.
Try to avoid taking medications as they can become addictive. If you want to take something, try melatonin supplements.
If you live in an apartment or have noisy neighbors, use earplugs or get a white noise machine. Also, trim down the light in your room by getting curtains that darken the room or turning the display on your alarm clock so it faces away from you.
Create a feeling of serenity by relaxing before bed. Drink something warm, like a nice cup of tea. Take a hot bath or cuddle up with a blanket or book.
When you get good sleep, you’ll find it easier to handle life. And, since you’re going to be changing yours a little bit with healthier behavior, why not set yourself up for success?
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