I’m pleased to share with you a guest piece by Winston Henderson at 5 Years 2 Mastery, where he shares with us some tips on how to stick with our weight loss goals! These are really actionable tips that anyone can take to stick with their goals!
Raise your hand if you know this to be true.
You set a weight loss goal at the beginning of the year, promising than this time you’re definitely going to stick with it. You’re excited for the first few days, until you remember the taste of that delectable dessert that you’re probably craving now as we speak.
It’s difficult to stick with your goals isn’t it? Especially when there are so many things around to distract you from really going after it and being consistent with your activity to make it happen.
I know the feelings it creates. Feelings of disappointment, of discouragement. Beating yourself up because you just couldn’t get it done yet another time you tried. Feelings that you aren’t good enough, not worthy enough. It lowers your self-esteem and destroys your self-confidence. I know because I’ve been there.
Though I’ve never struggled with being overweight, I do know how it feels to feel like a failure because you couldn’t stick with another goal you set for yourself. My greatest hope is that I can help you to finally stick with your weight loss goal this year (even if you’ve already given up on them).
Now let me be clear, this isn’t a puff piece, nor is it an article on motivation. This isn’t me telling you that you need to quit whining and get up, put the plate down, and get your butt in the gym. Nor am I going to self-pity you in the hopes that it will get you going. My goal with this article is to give you actionable techniques that I have personally used to remain consistent with my own workout routine. Techniques that you can take, implement into your life right away, and start to see small progress in your life. The beauty with this technique is it will work for you whether you are just starting your weight loss journey, or whether you’ve fallen off track and want to get back into it, this technique will work just the same.
Before getting into the technique let’s shed some light on your situation.
Why You Struggle to stick with your weight loss goal
Awareness is the most important of any goal. I have found that often times it’s not that we don’t know what to do to achieve our goals, but we aren’t aware of the things that stops us or hinders us.
In working with others to help them stick with their goals (not just weight loss), I’ve realized there are 3 main reasons why you may not have stuck with your goals:
- You haven’t set the standard and expectation for yourself. What I mean by this is you haven’t set a standard of what you are unwilling to compromise when it comes to your weight loss goals. Also, what you’re unwilling to settle for, and what you expect from yourself when it comes to achieving your goal. In other words you haven’t made a conscious and verbal commitment that you intend to stick with this goal no matter what happens. Not just saying it in words, but actually committing to it through action. For the moment it may just be something that you think is nice to achieve, but not something that is of the highest priority for you.
- You haven’t identified why it’s a MUST for you. In other words what’s the main reason why this goal is so important to you? Why are you going to put yourself through the daily pain and process of losing this weight? Whatever your reason is, it has to be something that is so emotionally compelling to you, it will drive you to take action even on the days you don’t feel like doing it. Noticed I used the word ‘MUST’ which means something that is non-negotiable, something that you won’t give up on no matter what. Make this reason your motivation, instead of the goal of achieving a set weight loss number
- The consequence for not following through isn’t severe enough. Many people think that fear is a bad thing, and it can be if you allow it. However, if you know how to use fear to your advantage, as a driving force to get you into action and remain consistent, then you will find it easier to stick with your weight loss goals. Think about what you stand to lose, and what pain you will experience as a result of not sticking with your weight loss goal. Is it a feeling of unworthiness? Is it a health condition that you may be affected by and so will your family? Will it take away from living a life of fulfilment in some way? Whatever the reason is ensure it is something that is painful enough (the more the better). This pain or the fear of what will happen if you don’t stick with your weight loss goals will trigger you to get into action, and stay in action.
There are other subsets of these 3 why most people don’t stick with their goals, but this should be enough to get you moving.
The Technique to Finally Help You Stick With Your Goals
The technique I am referring to is one I’ve personally developed through my own experience of struggling with inconsistency and lacking commitment for over 31 years. I call it The S.T.A.R.S. TechniqueTM.
Let’s break it down.
Standard & Expectation
The first thing you want to do is set the Standard and Expectation of what you are unwilling to compromise and what you expect from yourself. As mentioned above you want to verbally express this to yourself.
The phrase I used when I was working on sticking with my workout routine was “I am someone who never misses a day working out”. I would repeat that in the morning hours before I was even ready to exercise. It helped to condition my mind to make it happen when the time came, and set the tone as to what I am to expect from myself.
The Trigger is what is used to let your brain know it’s time to perform the action. The action in this case doesn’t have to be exercising. It could be something as simple as drinking a glass of water, or eating a salad plate or fruit.
Think of the Trigger as a message notification on your phone. When you receive a new message or email typically your phone will flash a light, vibrate, or make a ping sound to let you know that you received a new message. The action that follows would then be you checking your phone. So in the case of your weight loss goal the Trigger would be whatever you put in place to let you know to take a particular action.
The next step is the actual action. Now when starting out or getting back into your routine, it’s very important not to try to do too much too soon. The reason being is it will make you overwhelmed easily, and soon burnout, get discouraged, then you’ll eventually quit on your goal.
What you want to do is start small and simple. Make the action step so easy that it would be ridiculous for you not to stick with your weight loss goal. Consistent, small steps, lead to big results.
The reward is what you give yourself for taking action. Now the reward I use is not external reward such as being able to watch my favourite television program. My reward is internal, which is celebrating and congratulating myself for taking action. I have found that this approach is more effective in long term habit formation
Self-Affirmation and Reinforcement
Finally you want to reinforce your Standard and Expectation statement. By doing this you are reminding yourself and bringing it into focus that you are developing and becoming someone who will stick with their goals.
So repeat what you said but in second person this time. Say “[insert your name] you truly are someone who never misses a day to work out!” There’s a psychology behind this when it comes to developing your Identity that is powerful!
To learn more about the S.T.A.R.S. TechniqueTM I created a training video on it where I go into greater depth on this technique.
To close let me just briefly share some quick tips that will help you on your weight loss journey.
Quick Tips to Help You Stick With It
- Choose an environment that will increase the chances you will stick with your weight loss goals, and remove anything from your environment such as foods that will hurt that goal
- Associate with other people who are ahead of you in the weight loss journey, it will give you something to inspire towards
- If you are working out choose a time based on your temperament. So if you are more a morning person do it then, night person choose that time. It will increase the likelihood of you taking action and sticking with your goal
- ALWAYS celebrate and congratulate yourself after taking action, no matter how small the action is
To your success my friends!
Author: Winston Henderson is a Break Through and Consistency Mentor at 5 Years 2 Mastery, who helps others to break through and overcome the mental barriers and limiting beliefs holding them back from taking action towards their goals, and helps them remain consistent towards achieving those goals.