I saw this today on a facebook group post that I’m a part of:
Help me! I really, truly, absolutely want to lose weight. I feel like I’ve tried EVERYTHING! Even when I’ve paid for things, I do it for a week…. and lose motivation. Help! What has actually worked for you? I am desperate!
Lots of responses to this post talk about ww (formerly weight watchers), keto diet, things like that. The coolest thing though was almost every single person talking about losing weight as a product of making small, realistic changes they were able to stick with.
For the record, my response: Absolutely 100% on making small, sustainable changes. It’s the consistency – and patience! – that actually gets results. Think you want to eat more veggies? Add a half a cup to one meal a day… It’s the stuff like that that doesn’t make it overwhelming, but you can feel successful with. The body changes will come.
On reflection though, it’s interesting that none of the responses – mine included – addressed motivation. We often look for the “how” and the “what” – and for good reason. It’s actually the easiest part. It’s the “why” that makes us work. (Check out this video for an amazingly simple-but-deep-dive into the psychology of what-how-why.)
What would I reply to this post instead, now that I’ve thought about it? It would probably go something along the lines of…
Part one: Find one or two small changes that are easy to make and easy to stick with. This will give you something to focus on while you focus on part two. Part two: Get honest, if you haven’t already. Why do you want to lose weight? What will it mean for your life? What will losing weight give you the freedom to do, or to be? This bit takes time and some mental effort. That’s why I suggest starting with some small, sustainable changes in part one – to give you time to think, while still moving forward.
For example, I could ask myself “Why do I want to get back into great shape?”. Well, I miss being super super fit. Why do I miss that? I miss being strong and being able to run. Why do I miss those things? I miss being confident in myself and feeling like I could take on the world! I do ok right now, but that feeling was amazing.
To really distill your motivation, you can ask why as many times as you need to. And take your time. This kind of thinking doesn’t often result in clear answers right away. In fact, sometimes you might need to think on it for a few days before you reach an answer that really feels right. It’s worth taking the time though. Once you have an answer, you’re well on your way to staying motivated for life.