In my never ending quest to motivate myself to lose this weight that I've packed on over the past too-many years, I have attempted a wide variety of methods to achieve this goal. I've praised myself, belittled myself, rewarded myself, taunted myself, made promises to myself, bribed myself, and convinced myself over and over (when all else failed) to keep trying.
I am currently on the keep-trying track.
My weight bounces around like a flubber yo-yo. I try not to mind the scale so much though I still weigh myself every day... not to be overly frustrated when it is often obviously making fun of my efforts, but to know if I'm slipping back into bad habits (or like all the women out there, to be forewarned when I'm approaching "that time of the month")
(photo courtesy of beautyembrace.tumblr.com
But I have recently encountered a few things that ARE working. And I've realized that most, if not all of them, are "outside" influences. Now, I completely commend you, dear reader, if you are the type of person to one day step on the scale and say, "Oh my, where did those 20 (30, 40, 50, etc) extra pounds come from?" and then put your mind to it to successfully lose the weight, and then ACTUALLY lose the weight. Bravo. However, if you're like me, you "try" and then "try again", and then eat an entire chocolate cake, and then "try again", and lose 10 pounds, reward yourself with martinis, gain 5 pounds back, then "try again"... you get the idea.
So here are a few motivational concepts that have actually served me well... these range from the obvious to the somewhat obscure, from accessing your inner drive to playing with external gadgets. Perhaps you will find something that speaks to you as well!
1. Shake up your world:
Try something new. In our day to day lives, boredom sets in and things become mundane and uninspiring. Find something fun to try - go rollerskating, bowling, archery, gardening, rebounding, skipping, horseback riding, hooping, tai chi, water aerobics, snorkelling, rock climbing, chair yoga, ballroom dancing... the list is endless. If you don't want to take a class and possibly make a fool out of yourself, YouTube is an amazing resource of instructional videos where you can hide away until you're good enough to show your new talents in public. Besides, you might just find your newest passion that excites you back into *wanting* to be active.
2. Get support (Strength in Numbers):
SparkPeople is an AMAZING gathering of like-minded and similar-goaled individuals. Where else are you going to find this many people all over the world that have the same purpose coming together? Be bold. Un-private your pages. Say hello to 100 new members by leaving them a welcome note. Join teams. Take part in challenges. Read and comment on blogs. Wish people happy birthday. Randomly give goodies. Reach out. You will be stunned at the amazing friends you will make. I LOVE my SP friends. They keep me honest, they encourage me, they are there when no one else is. And with a little bit of effort, you can have a cheering squad that would fill an entire stadium. My squad? It's currently 686 friends strong. And those are ALL current, active members (I've culled out of my friend list over 400 more people who have "disappeared" from SP since I've joined). And it doesn't take forever either. I spend 10-30 minutes per day doing everything I need to on SP. That includes tracking my food, fitness, reading articles, posting on pages & teams, answering SparkMail... and let me assure you that it's time very well used.
3. Set a bunch of attainable goals:
Set a goal that's not impossible and make it a firm date. Vacation? Wedding? Reunion? Party? Beach? Promise yourself that you'll go no matter what but use the time inbetween wisely. Many of us avoid public appearances when we feel we don't look our best. But, life is for living. So the goal is to feel great and enjoy life even if we haven't hit our ultimate weight goal. Currently, my next goal is 6 weeks away. We are having a "famous 80's" party in which each person attending must come dressed up as an 80's icon. I wanted to go as someone fun, iconic, and have a costume I couldn't "HIDE" in. So my choice? Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. Now, I just have to do my best to make sure I look as amazing as I can to "pull off" or rather, "pull on" that dress...
4. Reward Yourself
Set up a reward system for your weight loss efforts. It doesn't have to be monetary (as in buying stuff) but maybe there are things you feel that are special rewards in your life... pedicures? new clothes? time alone with a good book? a night out with the girls? Set yourself an appropriate reward for every 5 or 10 pound goal met... and then make sure to celebrate each milestone. I had an old list once upon a time but have no idea what I've done with it so here is my new list:
10 pound loss - buy a bouquet of fresh flowers (done!)
20 pound loss - pedicure (done!)
25 pound loss - buy a fabulous hat
30 pound loss - mani/pedi/facial
35 pound loss - round one of cleaning out closets - buy 3 new pieces for wardrobe
40 pound loss - play hookey for a whole day: relax - no work, no email, no chores
45 pound loss - mani/pedi & fabulous spa treatment
50 pound loss - throw out all old underwear, go buy new, sexy fabulous replacements
55 pound loss - play hookey for a whole day: do something fun and exciting
60 pound loss (in ONE-DERLAND) - round two of cleaning out closets - small wardrobe shopping spree
65 pound loss - day at the spa :)
70 pound loss - mini 4-day vacation, something spontaneous! Vegas anyone?
77 pound loss - GOAL MET - last round of cleaning out closets - replacement wardrobe here I come!
5. Let Others Reward You
Whether you reminisce about your girl guide/scout days and love to collect badges or actually want to be PAID to work out, (yup, you heard me right) there are a remarkable amount of gadgets, apps, and sites to really get you motivated.
I have a FitBit (see my blog at www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
for more info on this handy little tracker) which keeps me climbing stairs and walking to get my next level badge. ... I was a brownie by the way with every imaginable badge... Fitbit emails me with fun awards (see image above) when I hit an mile/height achievement and it actually does keep me going as I try to get higher and higher levels. It's also a very handy dandy tool that has not only a pedometer and an elevation counter but also a sleep tracker and a dynamic calorie calculator. Gotta love it.
I also signed up for EarndIt today after I was introduced to it in my "PureWow" email. (PureWow is a cool new daily email for women that keeps you up to date with the latest and greatest in health, style, travel, recipes, etc - sign up at www.purewow.com
) I'm not usually a "fashionista" but I have to say that I love their content so far even though most of it is based heavily towards US residents (which I am not).
EarndIt, however, is a new free site that syncs with a bunch of popular fitness trackers (including FitBit) that rewards your "good behaviour" by granting you points that you can cash in for things like gift cards and charitable donations. EarndIt works in tandem with Nike+, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, EveryTrail, BodyMedia|Fit, Foursquare and Garmin! The best thing about the site is that if you're hooked already into one of these apps, there's no extra work. The app feeds the site directly so you don't have to enter in any extra information - just join a few challenges and off you go! It's also International-friendly which is a major plus for us non-Americans.
This intro to EarndIt got me thinking... if there's one site that rewards you for working out, there must be more... and indeed there is: check this link www.lockergnome.com/soci
for information on more apps and sites that rewards you for exercising including:
GymPact - lets you basically "bet on yourself" to reach your goals in order to get cash rewards - but beware... if you don't make your goals set, you have to pay up!
Fitocracy - a social network based competition that turns "fitness into a game" where you can create groups and challenges and earn points and badges.
Switch2Health - another fitness tracking site that offers deals and rewards from major businesses across the US
Nexercise - an iPhone app that also provides real rewards and badges for activity. Also mostly USA based.
So whatever your original motivation may have been way back when, I know that it's probably wained and changed a million times over. That's okay. Find something new to motivate you...
Or better yet...