Losing weight and getting in shape are usually high up on people’s lists for New Years Resolutions, but how do we stay motivated? Many people start out the New Year fantastically and then suddenly they find themselves plopped on the couch in front of the television, envious of the people on the health club commercials. In order to lose weight and get in shape we need to stay motivated. While some people are motivated simply by seeing how much they weigh, others might become depressed by this number and end up losing motivation quickly. One of the biggest motivation squelchers is not seeing any results. Everyone hits a plateau at some time or another and the only way to get around it is to keep pushing on. After trying several different methods to stay motivated I have compiled a list of three effective approaches.
1. Keep a daily log of what you eat, how much you exercise and how you feel. When you write it down, or type it in, you realize exactly what is going in your body and what you are doing to burn it off. By logging how you feel you can reread it and remember how good you felt the day you ate healthy and worked out which will help motivate you to keep going.
It may be hard to keep track of everything, but http://www.livestrong.com has a feature called “The Daily Plate”. Within this feature you can keep track of the food you ate and how much you have exercised. Their directory has just about every food you can think of, and if what you ate is not there, you can add it in. There is also a list of how many calories you burn per hour, based on your weight, doing every exercise imaginable, from running to playing the flute, from yoga to arguing, and everything in between. There are tools such as graphs to track your weight loss and calculators to compute everything you need to know about your body. The site seems overwhelming at first, but don’t be discouraged. Once you enter in your information you can play around with all of the different tools and it won’t affect your outcome as you can change anything at anytime. If you want a more in depth look at how to use the site go to, http://www.livestrong.com/forums/. The people there are friendly and helpful, remember, everyone there is working towards the same goal of becoming healthier and getting in shape.
2. Create connections with other people working towards the same goal. This may mean a spouse, a child, a parent, a coworker, a friend or even a buddy online. While I don’t recommend meeting up with someone you meet online, it is great to have someone you can type to about your progress.
Having someone you can exercise with helps to increase your success rate. There is someone you have to be accountable to besides yourself. I would encourage you to find more than one person to meet up with. Too many times I have seen people stop working out because their partner stopped and they themselves lost motivation as a result. Besides coordinating workouts with a group, you could set up a few different days during the week with different people. This way, if someone cancels, you still get your exercise on the days with other people.
3. Join a Gym. By paying for work out time, many people stay motivated to go. What’s the point in paying for something you don’t use? Joining gyms can be expensive, but many towns have local gyms that offer packages at a fraction of the price bigger chain gyms charge. Gyms offer instructor led classes that are usually free with monthly memberships and allow you to find what you enjoy doing.
If a long-term gym membership is not something you are interested in, take advantage of the seven day free passes many gyms offer. During the trial week you could try out the different machines and figure out which one gives you the best exercise that you don’t mind using. Then, invest in that type of machine. Over time, add new machines to your inventory and after a while you will have your own gym at home.
The key to staying motivated is keeping track of what you are doing so you can see your progress, finding people to support you so you have someone to be accountable to and to figure out what works for you and what you enjoy doing. Remember, everyone struggles to reach goals, but the hard work makes the results more satisfying.