Have you ever started a diet or exercise program and a few days in, you’re dreading the workouts or hating the food?
Did it put you in a bad mood?
How long did you stick with that program?
Probably not very long. Negativity is a terrible motivator. Whether it is going to the gym to “punish” yourself for eating something “bad” or choking down “healthy” food that doesn’t taste good when you’d rather be eating pizza, doing something that makes you feel bad isn’t great for long-term success.
Let me offer an alternative to the traditional weight loss methods of adding workouts and removing foods. Here are four unconventional ways to achieve success with weight loss.
1. Instead of taking something away, add something new
- When we take things away we can feel deprived and resentful. Adding something new creates a little bit of excitement. It feels “fresh.”
- The energy of gaining instead of losing creates momentum and that makes getting started easier.
- Example: rather than ditching the can of soda, add a daily glass of water.
2. Instead of stopping a habit start a new one
- Our brains are hard-wired against change. It is easier to learn something new than un-learn something we’ve been doing for ages.
- Again, the excitement of something new and different creates energy and momentum.
- Example: instead of trying to stop late night snacking while watching TV, start reading a book before bed.
3. Instead of following a plan try creating a chain
- Having a plan to follow seems like the best path to success, except that it doesn’t leave much room for reality. Life happens and we can’t always stick to a plan.
- Create a chain by tracking your good habits or changes. This gives us visual proof of the work we’ve put in. Once you’ve created a chain of several days, it will help keep you going because you don’t want to break the chain.
- Example: Set a daily goal, then on a calendar, mark off each day you successfully executed that goal. (I recommend the Commit30 Planner.) Focus all your energy on building then not breaking that chain.
4. Rather than focusing on what you have to do, celebrate what’s done.
- Only thinking about how far you are from your goal can make you feel discouraged and down. This might lead to giving up.
- Even small progress is worth recognizing! Each time you successfully execute your daily goal, get to the gym or even turn down a cupcake that’s a win.
- Example: every time you workout, track how much weight you lifted or how many reps you could do of an exercise such as push-ups. Then look over it a few weeks or months later to see how much progress you’ve made. Buy yourself something nice as a reward!
The best way to achieve long-term results is to find something that makes you feel good so that you want to keep doing it. Not every workout or diet has to look the same. Focus on the positive and doing what you enjoy (within reason, we all would eat cookies every day if we could, amiright?!). Negativity is a terrible motivator. Find the positivity and you’ll be more likely to achieve results.