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My Favorite Motivational Techniques

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Well, I've been working at losing 50 lbs for the past four months, and have lost 30 lbs so far. Sometimes it feels like it's gone past so quickly, and other times it feels like eternity. Today, I'm thinking about what has worked for me in the past to keep me motivated. Here's a quick list (in no particular order) of my favorites:

* My absolute favorite has been setting up mini-goals with rewards. For every ten pounds I lose, I reward myself with something (NOT food); and the rewards keep getting better as I go along. The best so far was giving my son some money to go out and buy/wrap a surprise gift. I couldn't wait to open it, and it will always be extra special knowing that it marked a milestone in my life and was thoughtfully chosen by someone I love.

* One of my toughest challenges is getting myself moving to exercise. I've discovered that, if I leave it until the evening (after a long day of work), it's just too hard to push myself to do it. So, lately, I've been forcing myself to exercise as soon as I get up (even before I brush my teeth). I always feel proud of myself after I've done it, and then I don't have to worry about it for the rest of the day.

* Even once I've started exercising, I sometimes just want to stop. When I start feeling that way, I chant to myself, "Pain is temporary; quitting is forever!" It may sound silly, but it works for me. I also try to break my workouts up into "chunks" in my mind (e.g. just two more sprints to go).

* Another real help has been my motivational montage. You can see a small sample of it as the background of my Spark Page, but my real one spans the two computer monitors that I use as I work all day. I chose pictures of myself when I was at my goal weight around six years ago; because I wanted to envision MYSELF as I want to look and know I can, not a model who's 30 years younger than me and has been air-brushed. I also filled it full of pictures from active vacations with the people I love - hiking up Mt. Vesuvius, kayaking in the Caribbean, scuba diving, etc. I did this to remind me of how strong I was and of the adventures to come if I can get back to that.

* I've also started telling people about my weight loss goals (including making my blogs public for the first time). I find it particularly helpful to tell people about meeting my 10 lb mini-goals; because, once I've told people I've met a goal, I don't want to slip back and have to say, "Well, I did make that goal, but I messed up and now I have to get back there again."

I hope this blog helps someone else to find motivational techniques that help them. Even if my techniques don't work for you, maybe they'll get you thinking about what you can do to keep yourself motivated.
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