You know those super-charged, hyper-achieving, personal-power, Tony-Robbins-disciple types whose sources of motivation seem about as bottomless as Donald Trump’s bank accounts? Do you ever wonder how they do it? How they just keep going and going, running towards their goals like there’s no tomorrow? Do you find yourself thinking: "It’d be so much easier to lose weight if I were as motivated as they are"?
While such zealous enthusiasm is not necessary, you can always learn better ways to get motivated and stay motivated. With sustained motivation, you are far more likely to reach your weight-loss goals. So get your pen and paper ready – this is going to be a motivational workout!
Three questions to get it
Motivation is all about understanding what’s important to you. Is it your health and longevity? Is it how good you look in a little black dress? (Right, probably not if you’re a guy). Is it how much energy you have? Is it something else? If you can’t find strong motivational reasons for losing weight, food will continue to have control over you. Your taste buds and the psychological, physiological, and social satisfaction of eating will all unite to keep you from your weight-loss goals.
To help you with your motivational soul searching, there are three key questions you should ask yourself: What do I want? Why do I want it? And what am I willing to do to get it? The best way to follow through these questions is by writing your responses down – that way you’ll have something to remind you why you're doing what you're doing, next time your motivation wanes.
So grab a pen and paper, read through the questions, and brainstorm some answers – write them in your journal if you use one. By the end of the article, you should have a pretty good idea of what really motivates you, and you can use that to spur you on your way to weight loss.
What do I want?
The answer to this is probably pretty simple: You want to lose weight. But to direct your motivation more effectively, you need to get more specific. Do you want to be a size ten, or a size two? Do you want to change your lifestyle, or just a few unhealthy habits? Do you want to be able to run a marathon, or are you happy with a walk around the block?
You also need to double-check that your wants are realistic. Do you want to look like Heidi Klum? Is that realistic? If not, don’t throw in the towel completely; just want what’s possible, not what’s impossible.
Take a few minutes now to think about what is really important to you and get an idea of what "I want to lose weight" really means for you. Consciously realizing what you want will help you to stay on target. It’s logical: If you can see where you’re going, you're more likely to get there!
Write it down! List five things you want that relate to weight loss and health.
Why do I want it?
It's not enough to say, "I want to be a size 10," you also need to understand why – you need to get to the emotion behind the desire.
The best way to do this is to analyze your motivations. Ask yourself these questions: What are the specific benefits or rewards of weight loss for you? What are the consequences of not changing? What will be different when you do change? What will you be able to do that you can't do now? There are a thousand reasons people have for wanting to lose weight – what are yours? Here are some common ones:
- For better health and longevity
- To look more attractive
- To improve self-esteem
- To develop better self-control
- So I can play ball with the kids
- To look good on my wedding day!
- To have more energy
If you can understand more specifically why you want to lose weight, you will find that your goals are clearer and your motivation is stronger and more enduring.
Write it down! List five reasons why you want to lose weight.
What am I willing to do?
Once you know what you want and why you want it, the next step is to assess what you are willing to do to succeed. Are you willing to eat smaller portions? Will you eat healthier foods? Are you going to increase your activity levels consistently? No one can answer these questions but you.
Remember that what you want should correspond to what you are willing to do to get it. If you are not willing to do what it takes, then you have to accept that you won’t get to your dream weight. It’s as simple as that. On the other hand, if you are willing, and can keep in mind what you want and why you want it, then you've got motivation – well done! Now, how to keep it… (see Motivation for Weight Loss: Keep it! - you'll find a link to it at the end of this article).
Write it down! Write down five things you need and are willing to do to achieve your goals.