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7 Steps For Staying Motivated During Your Weight Loss Journey

It’s hard sticking to your health goals. You may feel like you’ve tried every trick in the book and nothing sticks except the weight you’re trying to get rid of. 

There is hope! 

After decades of helping people get fit and healthy, I’m familiar with the question, “now what?” What do you do to keep the weight off, keep your energy up, and keep your body healthy? How do you stay motivated enough to make a lifestyle switch and lose weight for good?

Today, I’ll walk with you through the seven steps that have kept me and many of my clients motivated. Keep reading so that you can lock in on your health goals for the long haul. 

 

1. Anchor To Your Why

Your “why” is the desire behind your health goals. Without anchoring to these deeper desires, our health goals go right out the window as soon as our spouse pulls out the chips and beer and offers us some. If you don’t know your “why,” you’ll have nothing that can compete against the desire to munch on chips all night, and you and I both know that a goal to lose weight isn’t going to stand a chance against a cold beer on a summer evening. 

Establishing your “why” and grounding yourself in it constantly will make it much easier to stay true to a healthy lifestyle. Your “why” doesn’t have to sound good, it just has to be on point for you. What are your deeper reasons for wanting to get fit? Your “why’s” might sound something like this: 

  • My daughter is getting married next summer. I want to feel confident at her wedding and just be able to enjoy the day with her instead of feeling self-conscious.
  • I’ve been having a hard time getting up and down, and I really want to be able to play with my grandkids. I want to be able to have the energy and agility to play with them, get down on the ground, and hop back up again.
  • My friends and family have been talking about traveling, but I get winded quickly. I want to make those big memories with my friends and family and be able to keep up with all the activities and adventures we could have together.
  • I’ve been having a hard time mentally focusing on work and getting everything done that I want to in a day. I want to have a sharper, clearer mind so that I can reach my career and life goals.
  • I’ve been feeling anxious, and I’m sick of it. I want those feel-good vibes that come with a healthier lifestyle so that I can enjoy my life more.

Pick a few deep “why’s” that will beat chips any day of the week. Write them down, and put them somewhere you’ll see every morning. If you keep reminding yourself of your “why’s”, these deep motivations will do most of the battle for you.

2. Pave The Path That’ll Get You There

After you’ve dialed in on your “why,” list out the health and fitness goals that will lead you there. 

What are the habits you need to establish that will get you to where you want to go? 

If you really want to feel confident at your daughter’s wedding what health goals are involved? The fitness goals that would get you to your “why” might look something like this: 

  • It’s been a while since I felt confident in a sleeveless dress, but I want to wear one to my daughter’s wedding. I want to tone up my arms so I can rock the dress.
  • I would feel a lot more confident and healthy if I lost some weight. I want to reach a healthier weight and feel great hitting the dance floor with my daughter to celebrate.
  • I don’t want to be consumed with my self-consciousness during my daughter’s big day. I want to develop a kinder view of myself and replace negative thoughts about myself with positive ones. 

Don’t get stuck here making sure your health goals are just right. Jot down all the differences you’d like to see in your health and wellness that’ll help you reach your “why.” Then, keep them updated. As time goes on, your goals will adjust, so revisit them on a weekly basis and make sure they’re up to date and applicable for that week. 

3. Identify The Action Steps You Need To Take

Once the path is clear and you know what health goals you need to take to get to your “why,” it’s time to break down your health goals into small, achievable, and manageable steps. Health goals (especially weight loss ones) can feel overwhelming. If so, break them down into manageable steps that are set at a pace you can keep up with for life. 

For example, if you want to lose a significant amount of weight, break that weight down into 5-pound increments, and give yourself enough time to reach this goal in a healthy and maintainable way. Remember, whatever you do to lose weight is what you need to do to keep it off. Skip the crash diets and stick with steps you can keep up consistently!

Continuing with our wedding analogy, your action steps might look like this:

  • To get those toned arms, I can complete two upper body workouts a week.
  • To lose some weight, I can fill my diet with healthy and whole foods, find a physical activity I enjoy and hit it 2-3 times a week, increase my water intake, improve my sleeping habits, or join the LEAN program!
  • To shrug off self-conscious thoughts, I can tell myself one positive thing about my body every morning. 

Write down the action steps that will help you reach your goals and put them somewhere you’ll see every day. Remind yourself of what you need to do today in order to reach your goals and, ultimately, achieve those deeper “why’s.”

4. Clear Away Any Obstacles

Make the journey a lot easier by eliminating obstacles that you think might get in your way or stop your progress. While an all-or-nothing mindset is too heavy for any of us to carry, give yourself your best shot at success by clearing the path so that you’ll easily be able to establish healthy habits. 

If you can’t stand upper body workouts but want to feel confident in a sleeveless dress, note this obstacle. Find a solution now that’ll make that shoulder-toning goal easier and more enjoyable for you. Here’s how you could write it out:

  • I’ve rarely enjoyed an upper body workout and, in the past, I’ve only done it to check it off the list and get it over with. Getting the toned arms that’ll help me rock the dress confidently sounds a lot more achievable to me if I skipped the curl bar at the gym and instead:
    • Tried my arms at a pushup challenge
    • Signed up for a pilates class at my gym
    • Did my upper body workouts with a friend
    • Completed two upper body yoga workouts instead
    • Completed my workout on the rowing machine instead of the free weights area

Think ahead and set yourself up for success by eliminating potential obstacles that’ll get in the way. Make it as easy as possible for yourself to achieve your goals and reach that “why.”

5. Set Up A Reward System That Works For You

Ever tried out a diet that has strict rules on the weekdays but gives you an “off” day on Saturday? No one has the self-control to restrict themselves for days and then make healthy decisions that are good for their health on an “off” day. Instead of setting up a system that’ll have you working against yourself, think of little rewards that will simultaneously move you towards your health goals. 

Let’s get specific. If you’re trying to lose excess weight for good, you could set up these rewards that’ll keep you motivated and moving forward: 

  • If I meal prep for four weeks, I get to order a meal prep service for one week.
  • If I go to the gym twice a week for a month, I get to buy a new pair of workout pants.
  • If I tell myself one positive thing about my body each morning for a month, I get to schedule a massage.
  • At my halfway mark in my health goals, I’ll take a day off work.

Pick rewards that work for you instead of against you. Brainstorm your favorite self-care ideas, like getting a new haircut, going out with friends for mani-pedis, hiking with your pup on a new trail, taking that hot yoga class with a friend, trying out a float tank, or having a spa day.

Whatever gets you motivated will do the trick, but don’t treat yourself like you would a dog. Skip the scooby snacks and stick with non-food rewards that’ll set you up for success next week.

6. Be Consistent, But Don’t Be Perfect

Reaching our health goals certainly does not require perfection. There are times when our days are just that busy or our focus is needed elsewhere. If you’re a new mom, maybe all the time you can spare towards your health is to prioritize getting enough sleep and water each day. Rather than reaching for perfection, reflect on your goals and make sure they’re realistic enough to keep up with consistently. 

If you’re overwhelmed and struggling to get everything done at once, it might be time to take a break. Be realistic about where you are right now so that you don’t crash and burn later. Don’t let off the gas and give up completely. When you start to feel like you’ve taken on too much, step back, reassess your goals, and keep moving forward at a more reasonable pace.

7. Surround Yourself With Support

Don’t take on the journey solo. Daily support and accountability with others is one of the most powerful motivators I see people getting out of the LEAN program. Join a LEAN session where you can be with other people who are fighting the same battle with you. 

Follow these seven steps. Fill your bathroom mirror with sticky notes about your “why’s,” your goals, your action steps, any obstacles, and healthy rewards. Skip perfection, and watch your motivation grow along your health journey. 

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