In order to keep motivated, you need to first identify what your motivation was to start a program of healthy eating and exercise. Everyone’s motivation is different. It may be that you tried on your favorite outfit and found there was no way you could close the zipper or that you had a health scare. Some people find that class reunions, the holidays or weddings are incentives to get back into shape, while others just want to see the glow of pride in spouse’s and children’s eyes when they introduce them to friends.

Make sure the motivation is yours, not someone else’s.

I hear it all the time, “My spouse thinks I need to lose a few pounds.” or “My mother, sister or whoever influences your life, says I’d be better looking if I lost ten pounds.” I normally tell these people they’re doomed to fail if they don’t have a personal motivation that drives them. Getting into shape is tough and if you’re doing it for any other reason than your own desires, the follow through dwindles after a few weeks. You either see it as a benefit or you don’t. Your motivation should help set the fire under you and if it’s someone else’s desire, it won’t.

Making your doctor’s suggestion your own.

If your doctor suggests you shed pounds for your health, your motivation really isn’t that the doctor said it, but that you want to live longer and enjoy children, grandchildren and life in general. While your doctor pointed out the importance of exercise, in order to stay motivated, you need to think of all the reasons you want to be healthier and live longer. Do you want to be a burden to others? Is enjoying every minute of life to the fullest important? Living longer and healthier means having the time and energy to do more things. Focus on what you want out of life and how working out and eating healthy can help you achieve those goals.

Track the results that mean the most to you.

You do need to track the number of repetitions you do and the number of sets, but keeping statistics on weight loss isn’t important if one of your goal was just to get healthier and not necessarily to lose weight. Are you exercising for better health? What tells you that you’re fitter? Improving your strength is one way to check it, checking your endurance (like tracking how many stairs you can climb without needing to rest) or even noting your blood pressure. If a goal is to look better, take measurements once a week. Using charting can help you focus on your goal and those successes can keep you motivated when the going gets tough.

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