Motivation Articles

5 Mind Games You Need to Stop Playing

These Common Tricks Never Motivate--Find Out Why

Mind Game #3:  Taking the Road Less Traveled
There will always be a new diet or exercise program that promise fast progress and fantastic results. Reading about the latest food fad or watching a perky personal trainer push sweat-drenched clients through an infomercial workout can definitely spark your motivation. Who wouldn’t want to try an effective 4-minute workout or slim down fast with a celebrity-backed diet supplement? Deep down, we all know the truth: People are getting paid for those advertisements and whatever motivation you’ve mustered up during the commercial break will fade fast if you don’t get those "as seen on TV" results that were so motivating to you. Trying every new fad that comes on the market may leave you broke and brokenhearted.
Motivation Makeover: If you want a plan that works long term, stick with the tried and true. Keep your eating close to the earth with whole fruits, veggies, grains and lean meats. Get up and moving with whatever activity suits your style and schedule. Remind yourself that following through with real nutrition and fitness habits is a process: It takes the proper planning and commitment that can’t be found in a book, a box or a bottle.
Mind Game #4:  Flying Under the Radar
You’re already feeling self-conscious about losing weight, so you certainly don’t want your friends and family making more of a fuss. Besides, you’re confident that you can do this all on your own! So what if your plan to be stealth has you skipping out on lunch with friends and sneaking veggies to parties in your purse? Going it alone may seem like a good idea, but it is actually counterproductive. Soon enough, you’ll be feeling lonely and left out, and that’s no way to maintain success in the long run.
Motivation Makeover: Call in the recruits! Whether it’s a neighbor down the street, a fellow play group parent or a Facebook friend, get someone to join you on your weight-loss journey. Studies in behavior science show that changes that you make in the public eye have a much better chance of sticking in the real world. Plus, sharing your weight-loss goals with friends opens you up for great personal payouts like counsel, camaraderie, and accountability from the people who know you best. SparkPeople Community, anyone?
Mind Game #5:  Staring Down the Scale
There’s a scale in your bathroom and one next to your treadmill. You check in twice a day and diligently track your weight on a chart on the fridge. Still, even though you’re eating well and exercising, some days the numbers just don’t show it! Seeing real, objective results can be super motivating but being tethered to the scale often becomes a burden. Even though you know that body weight fluctuates throughout each day and hydration (or lack thereof) is usually responsible, unpredictable digits can be deceiving and downright disheartening. If you find yourself frowning at your feet during morning weigh-ins, then your scale is likely sapping your mojo.
Motivation Makeover: Stick that scale in the closet and find inspiration in other numbers (besides your weight). Track specific behaviors to gauge your progress; how many push-ups you can do in a minute, how many miles you walk or bike each week, how many flights of stairs you take each day at work. Keep tabs on a variety of positive results and you won’t be left wanting for fitness focus.
Making use of motivational mind games can really boost your fitness morale. But sometimes, techniques that seem perfectly logical can end up leading you astray. Mastering your own motivation doesn’t have to be a crap shoot. Bet on the time-tested strategies above to get your mind right and you’ll be sure to cash in on long-term wellness!
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About The Author

Megan Coatley Megan Coatley
Megan is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with a masterís degree in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University. As a health and wellness coach, she combines her passion for nutrition and fitness with her professional talents to help others creative positive, lasting change and live healthier lives.

Member Comments

  • Great article and just what I needed to hear! Thank you! - 6/9/2014 7:17:21 AM
  • I am guilty of all of these!! I have been trying to break the starting strong one. I am so bad about that.
    Unfortunately, for me, I have reached a place with my diet/thyroid where there are no more "little changes" I can make to improve my overall health. I eat very healthy and base in on the glycemic index, but I still can't lose weight. It is pretty frustrating, but I won't quit! My body is too important. - 3/11/2014 2:27:41 PM
  • Great article - 2/11/2014 7:13:32 AM
  • Thank you! Really enjoyed this article!
    I definitely play mind games on myself.
    - 12/20/2013 9:16:18 AM
  • ******Motivator**
    ** : ) Good write!! - 8/24/2013 11:25:43 AM
  • HAIER731
    I enjoyed reading this it has given me many ideas and has shown me some reaons why I had failed in the past. - 8/6/2013 1:44:13 PM
    Great article, but I have to say I have better success when I don't talk to others about my weight loss program/plans. I'm also more of a loner, but would not give up going out with friends....I just make sure I make good choices. If I'm going out for happy hour and have a couple of glasses of wine, I'll give something else up during the day. Then I don't have to discuss what I'm doing or answer a lot of nosy questions from people. - 8/4/2013 3:07:30 PM
    My biggest downfall #5 - the scale. Glad I read this article. Will gauge doing other things. Gosh, this is such a struggle. - 7/25/2013 12:09:04 PM
  • #5 is my big problem. I go to the gym, I eat right, I focus on being healthy, and then I step on the scale, don't see the results I was hoping for and lose all motivation. So I'm looking for ways to gauge my improvements (which helps cheer me along), without setting myself up for a plateau depression. - 7/5/2013 1:06:58 PM
  • Great article. Loved it I saved it. - 7/2/2013 9:18:56 AM
  • I think this is the best article I've read on here so far! Love it! Thank you! - 6/28/2013 12:55:20 PM
  • I love this!! :) Keep em coming. - 5/31/2013 10:05:25 PM
  • Good article to reread when motivation starts to flag. Inspiring! - 5/1/2013 8:53:53 AM
    This is a great article. For years I wished for someone to find a way to bottle motivation. We all have it when we start but it does fade. I've been on many, many diets. Most were successful but maintaining the weight loss wasn't.
    Since starting my current effort a year ago, I've managed to stay motivated by changing a few things. Decided that a "diet" wasn't what was needed -- a "change in lifestyle" was what I needed was on top of the list. Believe me, I thought about that a lot.
    The second thing that helped me greatly was not weighing in on a daily or weekly basis. Sometimes I waited six weeks. This meant that I didn't look at the scale and think, I ONLY lost 2 lbs (or whatever the amount was). Instead I was thrilled -- I lost 10 or more lbs. I expected to see a good loss because my clothes were getting baggy but It was always more than anticipated and helped me feel great and stay motivated.
    One additional thing that has helped me is to drink flavored water (no cal Chrystal Light). Always wished I craved plain water but it didn't ever happen. I've read for years that people often mistake hunger for thirst. In my case it was true and adding flavor to water has been a huge help in controlling my appetite. By the way, I happen to have one of the must supportive husbands in the world and without his constant encouragement doubt I'd be writing this. I feel so fortunate.
    Good luck to all of you who are working toward a weight loss goal. It's tough. - 4/30/2013 8:18:55 PM

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