Are you struggling to lose weight? Do you find yourself committing to change your diet and exercise, but then fail to follow through? Have you wondered why you’re able to achieve success in other areas of your life, but weight loss success continues to elude you? The answer to your weight loss struggles may come from incorporating the same strategies you use to succeed in other areas of your life.
Building Rewards and Consequences into Your Weight Loss Plan
Think about the last thing that you achieved. Perhaps you got a promotion at work. Maybe you successfully planned a family event. Or maybe you finished a big project that required a lot of decision making, planning, and follow-through. Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve been able to achieve something – big or small – that you set your mind to. How did you do it?
You set goals.
Outside of our weight loss efforts, many of us set goals in our lives in the form of deadlines. Your boss tells you when a project needs to be completed. The calendar tells you how long you have to plan a party. These goals help tell you how quickly you need to work in order to achieve results on time and help keep you on track when you might not feel like making progress. This same principle can help you lose weight.
Take some time to write down specific goals for yourself. Decide exactly what you want to accomplish – maybe losing a certain number of pounds or reducing your body weight by 10% – and give yourself a deadline.
You work for a reward.
It’s human nature to work for a reward. You complete the project at work in order to receive a paycheck, promotion, or your boss’s approval. You follow through on the planning for a family event because you enjoy the reward of making your loved ones happy.
What’s the reward for committing to a diet and exercise program? Try to be specific. Instead of thinking about losing weight, think about the benefits of losing weight. You’ll feel better. You’ll look great on your vacation. Some people find it helpful to give themselves extra rewards, like promising to buy themselves a special treat once they reach a certain weight loss goal.
You work hard to avoid consequences.
Many times, we don’t just work to receive a reward; we work to avoid the consequences of not reaching our goals. For example, maybe you work hard at your job to avoid being fired. Have you thought about the consequences of not losing weight?
There are very real health consequences that come from being overweight or obese. Unfortunately, those health consequences can often feel irrelevant or too far removed from our current situation to really be motivating. Consider creating more pressing consequences to keep you working toward your weight loss goals every day. Maybe you’ll put money in a jar every day you don’t go to the gym. If your reward is important enough to you, perhaps the idea of not enjoying that reward will feel like a consequence.