Anyone that’s ever tried to lose a few pounds has had a lapse in motivation along the way. Sometimes it’s a temporary road block, and sometimes it permanently derails your goals. A one day loss of motivation can evolve into a month long “rest”. Once that train derails, it can be hard to get back on track.
There are some psychological tricks you can use to influence motivation, and form long lasting habits when it comes to weight loss.
The Power Of Habits
Everyone’s familiar with the negative habits that are so incredibly hard to break. They range from physical addiction to repetitive behavior patterns. Smoking, alcohol, cursing, spitting, eating while watching tv — we all have our own bad habits, and they’re hard to break.
What’s interesting is how most people don’t utilize these patterns for the good stuff. At least not consciously, anyway.
Routines and repetitive behavior patterns, good and bad, are habit forming. Our brain wants and needs these things to happen. It becomes a necessary function of your daily life.
Use this to influence the good stuff, not just the bad.
Eat your meals at the same time everyday. If you’re going to workout, be consistent and make a daily habit at the same time as often as possible.
Someone once asked me how I stay motivated to get up and exercise so early in the morning everyday.
I had gone eighteen consecutive months without missing a morning workout. It was so odd, when I thought about it.
“I don’t know, it’s just what I do now”, I said.
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Usually when someone is trying to get into shape it’s either to look better or feel better. These types of goals are either hard to quantify, or the correlation between results and effort leave you disappointed.
If the mirror is the primary judge of progress, you’ll feel like the saddest panda in the world after every workout. It takes time to get results, and your hard work won’t immediately be evident in your reflection.
What about the scale? You can quantify results with raw poundage, right? This is so harshly cruel, that it’s almost funny. Almost.
When you’re on a diet, trying to lose weight, your weight is going to fluctuate. Up and down. There will be times where you’re being super diligent with your meals, exercising regularly and at the end of the week you gain weight.
There are so many variables with body weight, that it’s hard to maintain a perpetual and consistent weight. Instead, you stay in a weight range of a few pounds. No big deal unless your goal is for the scale is to go down, and only down.
So what can you do?
Try to quantify progress in a different way. Monitor incremental changes in what you’re able to do, not just how you look.
When you first started exercising maybe you were only able to run on a treadmill for two minutes. Fast forward three months and you’re at a full sprint for four minutes.
That’s progress. That’s something to be proud of.
These types of progress measurements are easy to quantify with weight training, or distance running, but if you look hard enough you’ll see the progress in everything you’ve put that hard work into.
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Up Your Workout Energy
This final bit of advice is more of a cheat, to will yourself to get off your ass when you don’t want to. Everyone’s been in a situation when they have the time, and they know they’re supposed to exercise.
You got your new workout clothes on, laces tied up — You look the part.
But you just don’t want to. You lounge around and waste your workout hour watching youtube, learning how to make useless crafts out of toilet paper.
How do you avoid this pitfall?
“Drink the drink.”, that’s my mantra to get out of this zone.
Twenty minutes before I even change into workout clothes, I take a high energy pre-workout drink. Whether it’s psychological, or all the caffeine in those things, I’m not sure.
But I know, with every fiber of my being, if I drink that drink I don’t have a choice. I’m going to be so hopped up on stimulants that I’m going to be bouncing off the walls.
Sometimes I hit that snooze button too many times. I’m tempted to hide under the covers, and sleep in. But I know, I don’t have to convince myself to exercise. I don’t have to talk myself into lifting heavy weights, or running and sweating.
All I have to do is talk myself into one thing, “Drink the drink”. The rest will take care of itself.
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