By Bob Greene for TheBestLife.com
I get asked a lot of questions about weight loss, fitness and diet, but the topic most people want to know about is motivation—how can I find the drive to get going? How can I maintain it once I get started? How do I get back on track after a setback? It’s such a common question that I even wrote a book about it, The Life You Want. In my years of experience as a personal trainer and health expert, I’ve learned that it helps to:
Dig deep. Quick, what’s your reason for wanting to lose weight or live healthier? If it’s to fit into those old jeans or to look good for an upcoming event (like a wedding or reunion), you may struggle to maintain your motivation in the long term. That’s because these are surface goals—they’re superficial and fleeting. To ensure lasting success, you need to find a more meaningful reason to make lifestyle changes, such as wanting to be around for your grandchildren or to be a more active participant in your life. (I recently shared my own motivation secrets on my blog.) Take some time to think about how losing weight can change and improve your life and reflect on these reasons when your motivation wanes.
Ask yourself one key question every day. How can I improve today? People who stay motivated know that living a healthy and fulfilled life is a choice they make on a daily basis. They accept that there will be off days, but try to eat smarter, exercise a little harder or work on creating healthy relationships each and every day.
Expect setbacks. Setbacks are going to happen—they’re simply part of the process. If you can stay on track and succeed in spite of them, you have shown true strength, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel as a result will only fuel your drive.
Strike a balance. It’s a simple fact: Weight loss can be all-consuming. While it’s great to be focused on your goals, paying attention to your diet and fitness at the exclusion of the rest of your life (your relationships, your work, your hobbies) can set you up for trouble.
To make sure you’re addressing all the areas of your life, including the ones that might not be going as well as you’d like, you can use The Circle of Life, an effective self-help exercise that I recommend to all my clients.
Celebrate every small victory. Sure, losing weight is great, but health and happiness go beyond the scale. Each improvement you make—sleeping better, increasing your strength, reducing your stress levels, feeling more energetic—is worth acknowledging and praising yourself for. Focusing on these aspects can help you maintain your motivation.
How do you maintain your motivation?
female feet on scale image via BigStockPhoto.com