A good diet program that gets results has one downfall: It usually takes time! We’ve heard that losing 1-2 pounds a week is a good goal. And that’s if you’re doing everything perfectly!
One thing we know is that when making goals that last, it’s important to not have an “all or nothing” mentality and to give yourself some wiggle room for mistakes. You need to be okay with staying the same one week but losing 2 pounds next week.
But when slow and steady wins the race, how do you stay motivated? In a world of instant gratification, we usually want quick satisfaction in our health plan.
Here are tips for staying motivated well past seeing health results:
1. Cross my Heart and Hope to Die (Commitment)
Make a die-hard commitment to yourself and treat it like a pact with your very best friend. Of course, make this pact realistic and obtainable, but when you treat your health plan like dates on the calendar, you’re more likely to follow through. Tell yourself youWILL get to the gym 3 times a week, no exceptions. Schedule your appointments with your health coach ahead of time to keep you centered.
2. Inch-by-Inch (Have Measurable Goals)
Saying, “I’m going to eat better” or “I’m going to do yoga more often,” is a good start, but you should take it one step further to help you reach your goals. Instead of “eating better” why not say, “I will eat 3 servings of vegetables a day.” Or “I will go to yoga 2x a week.” This way you have a way to measure your success and know if you are getting closer to your goals by what you are accomplishing, not just how you think you’re doing.
3. Checkmate! (Create Check-In Points)
Once you have measurable goals, check in with yourself on a pre-set time. Maybe it’s the first of every month. Maybe it’s every Saturday. These are the days you reflect on how many vegetables you ate that week or get on the scale and see how much closer you are to your goal. When you know you will be checking in with yourself 3 days from now, you also know you can’t skip that trip to the grocery store today. Check in with yourself by keeping a journal of your progress and feelings. Maybe you have a weight loss chart. Keep it interesting for you.
4. Stair Master Plan (Create a Tiered Approach to Wellness)
Continue to set up new small goals and new check in points. If your overall goal is to lose 20 pounds, maybe you have milestones at 5, 10, 15, and 20 pounds. Or if you want to eat more green vegetables, first aim to master 1 green a day. Then aim for 2. Once you feel happy and secure there, then move to 3 servings a day. This not only makes goals less daunting, but reaching those goals more rewarding and noteworthy.
5. “I Love Your Shoes!” (Reward Yourself Whenever You Can)
When you reach each goal, reward yourself. At five pounds, a manicure. At 10 pounds, a massage. 15 is a biggie: So go for a new haircut or a weekend getaway. And at 20 pounds, use the money you’ve been saving from not eating out to get yourself a new outfit, plan a party, and really celebrate like it’s your birthday (or re-birth-day!). Don’t reward your healthy diet plan with food – overeating will make you feel bad and can undo a lot of motivation. Food is not a reward or punishment.
6. Eat Blue, Wear Red (Use Visual Cues)
Stay motivated with a vision board of your healthiest self, a constantly updated playlist, a motivational screen saver, or other little details. After all, it’s the little things that count: Not having that last bite of dinner just because you can, doing 2 extra reps to your exercise circuit. The same works for motivation. Add a new group class, eat off of a blue plate (blue is an appetite suppressant) or wear red (an energy booster). These small conscious and subconscious cue will keep you motivated for your health program.
7. “I Deserve The Best Out Of Me” (Have the Right Attitude)
Why are you doing this? Seriously, what’s the answer? Hopefully it comes from a positive and empowered place. “Because I’m sick of feeling fat and gross everyday” will only make you feel fat and gross. “Because I want to have amazing energy and feel excellent in my body” is a better mindset. Or: “Because I believe in myself and know I am capable of living my best life.” Coming from a positive place brings positive outcomes. Forgot your ipod at home? Don’t curse the whole workout.
Make it fun by appreciating the change in perspective and attention when you’re more tuned in to the gym’s playlist or the grunting noise from the meat-head next to you benching 20 pounds. Motivation is tricky, and at the end of the day comes from within you, deep down at the core of who you are and why you think a health shift is going to make a difference in your life. Once you find that, hold on to it, and find a way to transfer it to a daily reminder or a bigger reminder when you’re 2 months in and still have a while to go to turn it into a lifestyle. Also know that you are not alone, so many people are battling to make their health plan intuitive too and there are many resources available.