According to the experts, motivation starts with action, not the other way around.1

You can read more about exercise and motivation here.

The first action you should take to help your motivation is to ask yourself why do I want to lose weight? Is it to look better? Be healthier? Approaching a major event such as a wedding or vacation? Or you’re trying to keep up with children or grandchildren.

One of Australia’s leading scientific research organisations, the CSIRO, had the following to say: “It’s very difficult to focus on a goal if you don’t fully recognise the benefits of achieving that goal.”1

The author also went on to suggest that in addition to inspiring you in the first place, it helps keep you going when times get tough.1

Goals vs outcomes

Another ‘secret’ of successful motivation is to learn to differentiate between goals and outcomes.

You might set a target weight in kg to aim for, but that can erode the motivation.2 A better way is to view your weight loss as the outcome, but the goals that can help get you there are:

  • Walk for 45 minutes 3 times a week
  • Reduce calorie intake by 400 per day by not having a soft drink at lunchtime
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift
  • Walk over to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing them

Each of these mini goals will contribute to your weight loss outcome.

Be realistic

Many people set unrealistic weight loss targets. Healthcare professionals usually recommend a target of 500g to 1kg per week.2 If you set a target of more than that, you are setting yourself up for failure. The first week you don’t achieve that loss will damage your motivation.

Keep track

Keeping track of what you eat can help motivation. Research has found that people who track their food intake are more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss.2,3 Knowing that you’re recording what you eat makes it less likely that you’ll sneak that large piece of cake.

A fitness tracker is a great way to keep you hitting exercise goals too. Experts suggest they help by acting as an ‘accountability partner’ – just like having a personal trainer on your wrist.5  Check out the very affordable Quantum Fit Health Tracker here.

Public commitment

Telling others about your weight loss and associated goals helps you stay accountable. Research shows that by making your commitment to change public, you’re more likely to achieve your goals,2 so make that Social Media post, tell your friends, family and colleagues all about it and make yourself accountable. You never know, you could inspire another person in your social circle to join in on the action.   

The 20 second rule

This can work in two ways:

  1. Shawn Anchor, a positive psychology expert suggested that building good habits (like regular exercise) could be achieved by making something easier, simply by shaving 20 seconds off the time required to get started.4 So, place your walking/running/swimming/cycling or gym clothes and shoes next to the bed. Wake up, put on the gear and you’re good to go. Fill your drink bottle the night before and put it next to the door or your place of exercise if you have a home ‘gym’.
  2. You can also ‘reverse’ the 20 second rule and make things 20 seconds harder. Put those tempting snacks further away or in a cupboard.

Make it more enjoyable

Don’t go hungry. You’re more likely to lose motivation. Just choose wisely. Eat fibre-containing vegetables and legumes that fill you up – they’ll also deliver a lot of other health benefits.

From an exercise point of view, make that more enjoyable too. Grab some wireless earphones and listen to your favourite motivational music. There are lots of motivational playlists on the music streaming services or make your own. Try and choose tracks in which the beat matches your activity. And make a few playlists to alleviate the boredom. Finally, make the tracks short and sweet, to divide and conquer the workout, walk or running session. One long track seems to make things drag on. Check out the great quality and feature-packed Quantum Sonic True Wireless Earphones here.