Imagine this – it’s summer and you feel excited and full of motivation to lose weight for summer. You have an amazing party dress and are feeling excited about fitting into it.
So you start your day with a healthy breakfast and a walk, and you’re feeling pretty good right now.
Pumped, in fact.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Finding it hard to resist temptation?
Then morning tea time comes at work and someone has bought in a birthday cake.
You decide it’s too good to resist and help yourself to a little slice….which becomes a second slice…and now you’re starting to feel dejected, like all your good work has gone down the tubes.
Motivation can be a tough gig to maintain, but I’m going to share five tips to help you find it when the going gets tough.
1. Ask yourself why
Why do you want to lose weight? If you have a really good reason, you’re more likely to be successful. If needed, ask yourself why in several different ways so you can uncover your deeper values.
Some sample ‘why-type’ questions include: “why is this important to me?” “How will my life be different if I can do this?” “What else would change if I succeed?”
2. Connect with your motivators
Once you understand your values and know your deeper reasons for change, make time to anchor yourself in those values each day, to help you stay on track. This can set a positive and enthusiastic tone for each day.
Example: Each morning when you wake up, visualise yourself looking and feeling amazing – see it, hear it, feel it, smell it – connect all senses with your image of success.
3. Create Support
We all have barriers to success and sometimes you need support to get over or around them. Use support to help you stay focused.
Example: Enlist a friend to go food shopping or to cook with, or to exercise with. Or use cues to help you achieve things – like alarms, a to-do list, or leaving your exercise clothes out in a visible place each night.
4. Develop strategies
As creatures of habit, we tend to respond automatically to life’s cues each day. If you notice yourself slipping into an automatic, unhealthy habit (like munching crisps while watching TV) then it’s time for a new approach.
Brainstorming strategies in advance can help you rewire those unhealthy automatic thoughts. And more importantly, it gives you a sense of control – one of the important factors in developing motivation.
Example: Write down any typical daily activities that trigger unhealthy habits. Then, write down 2 – 5 alternative things you can do when that trigger comes up. Experiment with different strategies to see what works best.
Setting a goal to lose 5kg won’t work. Why? Because it tells you the outcome, not what you need to do to get there. And different people might need to do different things to lose 5kg – drink less alcohol, or exercise more, or eat less, or eat less sugar. Everyone will need a different approach.
Being specific in goals – and making sure they’re achievable – are two of the most important factors in your success. When you commit to something, act then succeed, you create a sense of mastery or competence which is an essential part of creating motivation.
Example: write down three very specific, new habits that will take you to the outcome you want. Be sure to add dates, times, or specific conditions so you can schedule these habits in to your diary.
For weight loss, it might be things like:
– I will be exercising 4x per week for at least 30 minutes, after work during the week;
– I will eat from a small plate on 5 nights per week
– I will drink alcohol on one night per week, a maximum of three glasses.
Studies show that the more specific a goal is, the more likely you are to achieve it. So the best goals are ones that describe regular behaviours, and how often/much you will do them.
The goals I’ve listed above are probably good mid-term goals to work towards. So you would start small, and build up – to build confidence.
This week, you might start like this:
– exercise on one day for 30 minutes
– buy a small plate on Thursday when I go shopping
– drink alcohol on 3 nights instead of your usual 5.
Summing it up
If you can spend an hour making a plan around these five things, you are giving yourself the best chance of success. This is exactly the way a coach works with you to help you make lasting change.
Now over to you – when could you sit and write down your plan this week?
Connect with Expert Melanie White.
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