4 Ways to Build Motivation

“I’ve been putting this off for too long. I need to lose weight, but I can’t find the motivation. What’s wrong with me?”

There are only two reasons we do anything:

  1.     Because we want to
  2.     Because someone else wants us to

If you’re trying to lose weight because someone else wants you to…step back and reconsider whether this is something you really want to do. If it is, but you’re struggling to stay motivated, here are 4 steps you can take:

#1 Be specific as to why you want to achieve your goal.

Let’s look at two examples: 

Bob wants to have more energy. That’s good, but why does he want more energy? To hike to the top of Mount San Gorgonio, like he use to do as a teenager.

Betty wants to lose 50 pounds. That’s great, but why? She wants to be around to enjoy her new grandbaby.

When setting a goal, be clear on why achieving it is important to you. The clearer you are, the more motivated you’ll be.

#2 Focus on what you need to do right now.

If Bob and Betty only focus on their big goals: getting to the top of the mountain or losing 50 pounds, they might give up in discouragement. It will be more productive for them to focus on what they can do today, like walking a mile or eating an extra serving of vegetables at lunch. 

#3 Picture yourself overcoming the obstacles…not just the end result. 

Of course Bob will feel on top of the world when he summits Mount San Gorgonio. So will Betty when she steps on the scale and discovers she’s lost the 50 pounds. But they’ll be more likely to achieve their goals if they also picture themselves OVERCOMING the rainy mornings and office parties they’re likely to face along the way.  

#4 Have backup plans.

Those who have backup plans are more likely to stay motivated than those who don’t. For example:

Bob: “When it’s raining outside, then I will walk on the treadmill.”

Betty: “When I’m discouraged about my lack of progress, then I will call my friend Julie.” 

Having backup plans will increase your confidence, even if you never have to use them.

Now it’s your turn 

As you can see, motivation is not just something you have or don’t have. It’s something you develop. Click here for a worksheet to help you build motivation.






Full Plate Living is a small-step approach with big health outcomes. It's provided as a free service of Ardmore Institute of Health.

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