What to do when you start losing motivation on your weight-loss journey?
Losing weight can be a very daunting task filled with many challenges; among those are motivational ones as well. Motivation is a strange thing. It can propel you towards your success or derail you in the wrong direction. Oxford language dictionary defines motivation as,
a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.
To lose weight, a reason for acting in a particular way needs to be strong. This is a true essence of motivation. For example, let’s deconstruct two different reasons for losing weight:
- I want to lose weight because my friends or my friends tell me I should.
- I want to lose weight for me, because I want to stop my family’s generational heart stroke line so I can be healthier, live longer and see my children grow in the upcoming years.
Which reason will act as a stronger pull towards your weight-loss goal? The first one or the second one? I think we know the answer. When your motive is deeply personal, it will pull you to lose weight.
Motivational reasons to act can be divided into two types:
- Personal or intrinsic
- Non-personal or extrinsic
Personal motivational reasons are those reasons that are strictly relevant to you. You want to accomplish something for yourself. Those reasons are selfish but much more powerful than non-personal ones.
Non-personal reasons are reasons that bring another outside element into the context. For example, I need to finish college because my father wants me to, or I need to lose weight because my sister wants me to. Each time you put something or somebody else in the statement why you need to do a particular thing, you are setting your motivation in the wrong direction.
Why do we lose motivation to accomplish things?
There are many reasons why do we lose motivation on our path to success, such are:
- We are distracted by another shiny goal
- We don’t see any progress
- Day-to-day family obligations kick in
- We start experiencing many obstacles on our path
- We start feeling stress and worry
These five reasons are just some of the reasons why we give up amid the pursuit of our goal. But what causes our motivation in the first place?
Based on the latest scientific research, we experience motivation when dopamine (a neurotransmitter that relays signals between brain cells) is released and goes to the nucleus accumbens, which is the place in the brain that mediates reward behaviour. In more laic terms, when your dopamine reaches your nucleus accumbens, it solicits feedback on whether a good or bad thing is about to happen.
So, in essence, we are motivated by a promise of a reward or punishment. Regarding reward, in your weight-loss case, you are automatically encouraged to lose weight because of the outcome and feeling you will get. In contrast, you are also motivated to lose weight by avoiding punishment in the form of consequences of not taking action (various diseases).
Three steps to keep your motivation on your weight-loss journey
Keeping the motivation on your weight-loss journey is crucial if you want to reach your goal. It’s important to realise that sometimes it will be easier to do so, and sometimes it will be harder. There will be many outside influences that will try to shoot down your motivation.
Usually, the motivation for losing weight is the strongest at the beginning. Let’s take, for example, the beginning of the year. People start, the gyms are crowded, and by the end of February, people start weeding out. They lose motivation. I realised this happens because they just didn’t have the strong personal reason to pull them forward.
Without further ado, here are the three steps you can take to keep your motivation at the highest level when losing weight:
- Step 1: Choose a deeply personal reason for losing weight, and assess your readiness.
- Step 2: Remind yourself daily why you want to lose weight and visualise your success.
- Step 3: Learn how to ditch your emotions altogether from your personalised weight-loss exercise and nutritional plan.
I mentioned that to make sure that you lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way, you need a strong personal reason to propel you forward. However, having a strong personal reason is not enough. You need to assess your readiness for losing weight as well. Here is a useful blog post to visit to learn more about how to assess your readiness: Do you have the right mindset for weight/fat loss?
Once you have a strong personal reason for losing weight and the right mindset, you can proceed to step two. Step two is all about reminding yourself daily why you want to lose weight and visualising your ultimate weight-loss success. This practice alone will keep your motivation high throughout your transformation journey.
The final step to keep your motivation on the highest level is to learn how to ignore your emotions when it comes to doing the right thing. Again, let me provide you with an example.
If you know that to lose weight, you need to move (exercise), or in other words, to expend more energy than you are taking in, but you don’t feel like exercising today, that’s called your emotions getting the best of you. Thus, this approach is not very good.
Another example is nutrition. Let’s say you know that eating that piece of cake before bed does not serve your weight-loss goal, but your emotions tell you that you need that cake to feel good. Eating that cake is again succumbing to your emotions, and you want to avoid that.
Step three is crucial, and letting your emotions drive your action to do the right thing stops many people from losing weight. So learn how to tame your emotions, and do the right thing always.
This three-step process works whenever it comes to motivation. Try it for yourself, and see your motivation keeps you going all the way to your weight-loss goal.
When you set out to lose weight, you will need to expect many sacrifices and commitment to your personalised weight-loss plan. In the process, your motivation will be tested. How you react to the test will be up to you. Will you give up, or will you keep going until the end?
Those people who give up usually don’t have a strong enough personal reason to change and a systematic approach in place.
The three steps mentioned above will help you keep your motivation high and propel you towards your success. I promise you that.
Until next writing,
Damir Pervan, Founder and CEO of TrainChampion | Online weight-loss platform