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

  • I got a lot out of this article, but the business writer in me had to take a minute to say that the phrase "snacking a bit here and slacking a bit there" actually made me gasp. NICE wordplay. You should be writing poetry. Or something that pays better than poetry, like rap. - 10/1/2015 3:55:41 PM
    My nutritionist did massive deprogramming on me, much of which is in this article. A lot of which is not. I am not to know my weight and I gave my scale to my nutritionist. It was the right thing to do. If I was up in weight, I would get depressed and eat. If I was losing lots of weight, at some point I would panic and binge. I am no longer controlled by that viscous rollercoaster..

    Without a scale, I had to have new motivators and they are simple and not stressful. Things like work out at least 4 times per week, chase the grandbabies around about least twice a week, have a day of rest or a different adventure about once a week.

    Being tied to my weight, which is regulated by hormones anyway, drove me crazy. Once I no longer watched my weight every day or multiple times a day, released me from that prison. Also, I do not take measurements or at least I avoid them unless I have to get fitted for something.

    All I need to know is that I am headed in the right direction and I can tell through my clothes that I am on my way to my target and it is when it is time to drop to another size, which is very exciting.

    This whole scheme has released me from the chains of diet and weight control. I focus on fitness and healthy eating, but I don't restrict what I can eat (although I don't reach for junk food by choice) nor do I count calories anymore. I do track grams of protein though. I need to because I am a true hypoglycemic. That's all I count though.

    Say I'm crazy and nuts for buying into this because that's how I felt for the first few months, but now that I am on the other side, I cannot believe how much it controlled every waking minute of my day. I way prefer this freedom. I way prefer being normal.

    - 9/6/2015 11:33:22 AM
  • Thank you for a great article! - 5/30/2015 9:08:01 PM
  • Thanks for great tips! - 5/19/2015 8:43:10 AM
  • Weighing in almost every day is a must for me. Catching an upward trend when it's just beginning is the best way to reverse it. - 5/15/2015 1:24:58 AM
  • WYATT18
    Great article! - 5/12/2015 6:10:54 PM
  • I like the stuff I find on Spark People - I am getting "re-ignited" here - at 80 years of age some of your spark gets up and wanders off - I love you sparky people - my motivation will perhaps improve. - 5/12/2015 5:54:43 AM
  • All great advice! Thank you! - 5/12/2015 4:19:45 AM
  • I agree with the last 2 comments. In year 6 of maintenance there is NO WAY I will put the scale away. If I'm on a path to the dreaded regain I want to know quickly and not wait until I reach double digits.
    Fluctuation means up AND down. If the trend if only UP, I must reevaluate what I'm doing. If I weigh only occasionally and it happens to fall on one of those up days, that would be discouraging. Daily weight gives me the data I need so I don't worry about one fluke weight in.

    There are too many yo-yo stories out there. NSVs are great and important, but in the end I want that scale number to stay right where it is right now. - 5/2/2015 3:28:47 PM
  • Whether or how often to weigh is an intensely personal choice. I weigh myself every day, not because I have an obsession with the numbers or because I believe a number will make me a different person, but because I can see progress trends much more clearly with lots of data than with just a few points. Having daily weights smooths out the normal peaks and valleys we experience and allows a real trend line to prove that I'm continuing down the right path. I'm nearly 90 pounds lighter, fit, VERY happy (always have been) and healthy so I'm confident that my plan is working. Only YOU know whether frequent weighing is helping or hindering your efforts and achievements. - 5/1/2015 1:07:43 PM
  • I get weighed every day. Many very successful maintainers get weighed every day. You can run half marathons and not lose any weight. - 5/1/2015 6:44:06 AM
    Very good article, especially number 5. It's SO easy to get sucked into weighing yourself that it can get obsessive. Now, I weigh myself every 3 or 4 days (a couple of times a week) and I can see progress. It's also very true that setting goals are the best way to get to where you want to be. So, when I go swimming, I try to swim further and for a longer time on each visit. When I swim I find that I am very hungry. My advice is NOT to eat after swimming, it's easy to overeat and destroy all the good you achieved piling on the lengths. Instead of eating, drink plenty of water and have a very light snack. I eat a few almonds and wait until dinner to eat again. - 3/3/2015 10:41:10 AM
  • #1 and #2 are definitely ME. This is quite my attitude in most things, not just dieting etc. And I know all too well how useless this attitude is, when it comes to losing weight for example. Changing it is difficult... but I need to do it! Thanks for the inspiring article! - 1/31/2015 2:57:59 PM
  • What can I say but WOW to this article!!! Thank you for tapping into my mind with this one. I'm seriously Motivated by this article. Again Thank you! - 1/14/2015 5:06:35 PM
  • Thanks a lot for this inspiring article, I am now aware that I make most of these mistakes and will work to avoid them! - 8/31/2014 8:23:03 AM

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