Pave the Way for Persistence

When it comes to permanent weight loss, persistence is where the tire meets the road. There will be many ups and downs along this road, and you'll have to keep yourself going even when things get tough. If you’ve been working the previous eight steps in this plan, you have already done much of the preparation necessary to cultivate and support persistence. You’ve developed some knowledge and skills to help you overcome common stumbling blocks. And you’ve articulated your vision, found your inspiration, chosen your direction, designed some specific goals and strategies, and given your beliefs and attitudes a good reality check.

The next step is practice—developing a set of daily practices or situations that promote persistence. Here are some key elements you’ll want to include in your daily practice:

Surround yourself with excellence.
  • Find success stories that inspire you and read them often.
  • Associate yourself with people who are actively pursuing positive goals similar to yours.
  • Share your Vision Statement with a few people you can trust to be supportive, and ask them to give you a good kick in the butt when they think you need it.
  • Give yourself permission to demote non-supportive friends to “I’ll check in with you later” status.
Give your physical environment a persistence-building makeover.
The old cliché “out of sight, out of mind” is really true for human beings, as is its opposite, “in sight, in mind.” Your ability to persist to your final weight-loss goal will be much greater when you make sure that the places you spend most of your time are full of positive cues, such as objects, photos, inspiring quotes, and other visual reminders of your vision and your goals. You can also spare yourself a lot of grief by having several “go-to” strategies and tools for handling stress readily available: music to soothe the emotional eating beast, meditation, a journal to write in, candles, oils and scents for a relaxing hot bath, and so on.

Finally, make sure you eliminate as many negative cues and triggers as you can. Don’t keep foods you don’t want to eat in plain sight, put the exercise bike right in front of the TV so you have to sit on it to see the TV, etc. You get the idea.

Go public.
The more people who know about your goals, the more support you’ll get, and the harder it will be to find places where you feel comfortable NOT doing what you’ve said you want to do. Sometimes, embarrassment and peer pressure can be your friends.

Reward success, but don't punish yourself for failures.
Find small, enjoyable rewards for yourself when you do well. And keep in mind that doing well means doing your part well—healthy eating, exercise and self-care—not just seeing a change on the scale. When you don’t do so well, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of beating yourself up. Just get back on track. Find someone else who’s having a bad day and see if there’s something you can say or do to help them out. That works like a charm for getting yourself out of your own negative state of mind when all else fails.

For more persistence-building ideas, see:

Sharing Is Achieving
Goal Buddies Are Golden
Weight Loss Journals: Hands-On Inspiration

This article is Step 9 in SparkPeople's Mind Over Body series, a 10-step program to ending emotional eating and creating a permanent healthy lifestyle. View the full series here or continue to the next step.
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Member Comments

The food photos that advertise SP recipes on both pages of this article do not make it easy for my goal setting. Report
Thank you for the article. Report
I saved this one for a recheck! Great Article. I agree that you should have your exercise equipment out where you can see it! I have mine right next to my computer and my TV where I can see them and use them often. Report
Heed especially the part about putting the exercise bike in front of the TV, or any other exercise equipment you have. DO NOT put exercise equipment in a "spare room", garage, basement, or a room seldom used. Place it front and center where you spend the most time, and for many people, it's the darned tv. Don't pay attention to visitors who don't like it there, they don't live with you!! Report
I saved it for future look back. Report
This article is very helpful and I plan to refer to it often. Report
Reading previous comments since 2008-Coach Dean's Information is just as helpful and current today. Report
Very insightful Report
What a fabulous way to true inspiration and experiencing success in our daily efforts to succeed. I was very happy to see the suggestion that we reward success, but don't punish failure. This is a keeper.

Thank you,Coach Dean,
Renie Report
Dean always makes so much sense!! thanks for bringing the details to light to guide me in both my weight loss journey as well as other areas of my life! Report
I LOVE anything I have read by Coach Dean. He cuts through the jungle of myths and trite assumptions and gets to the astute, wise solution. What a treasure he is. Report
When I lose my way on my journey for better health, I always look for articles written by Dean. His "common sense-no nonsense" way of speaking always sees me thru the most difficult of times! Thanks Dean!! Report
I love these serie of articles!
A shame that tomorrow is the last one, it helped me a lot to focus on my goals and i know now what i need to do! Report
This was a great article. I adopted the motto "Show Up and Don't Give Up" a while ago and it has made a big difference in how I approach everything, not just getting myself into a healthy lifestyle.

I've also started playing soothing, relaxing music in my kitchen. I spend a lot of time in there and it does seem to help me get my mind off of eating everything in sight when I am stressed out. Report
I love what you have shared with us here. It all makes so much sense, and is all very helpful. Thank you for helping me...I am going to try my best! I have added most to my favorites, and will use them to go back to often!

Thanks so much again.

Lisa Report


About The Author

Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.
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