5 psychological tricks to motivate yourself to lose weight

April 29 2015

Do you have to convince yourself to exercise everyday? Is your willpower on the brink of snapping every time you visit the bakery aisle in the supermarket?

Motivation is the true key to losing weight. Of course, regular exercise and eating well will contribute, but at the end of the day nothing is going to change if you don’t have the desire.

Here are 5 psychological tips to ignite your passion!

Set specific goals

The notion of “being healthy” may be enough of a motivator for some people, but the ambiguity of this end goal can cause you to lose your way when cravings are high and resistance is low. Set yourself specific goals, such as “exercise for 30 minutes, 3 times a week”, rather than vague ones so you have a clear plan to stick to. Change these goals up every so often so you feel like you are overcoming a mini challenge.

Give yourself a non-food reward

We restrict our food so regularly when trying to lose weight, that when we do wish to reward ourselves, the food we are banned from eating is the first thing on our minds. This is not a good cycle to be in if you are trying to live a healthy life, absent of junk food.

Instead of using food as a reward, treat yourself to something that will encourage your healthy lifestyle, such as a new item of clothing for the gym, an album to listen to while you're working out, or a vibrant lunchbox to store your healthy snacks in at work (because let’s face it, the leftover Chinese takeaway boxes are becoming a little grubby now!).

Sign a contract

You might feel silly, but making a pledge and signing it in front of your friends will definitely encourage you to stick to your goals. The act of signing a contract also makes it seem much more formal, especially if you have to pay a penalty if you fail to stick to it. It’s wise to choose a penalty that won’t benefit others - buying the whole office a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts may be a terrible outcome for you, but it might encourage others to lead you astray!

Get competitive

Humans are naturally competitive, especially when it comes to weight loss. Recruit a friend with similar fitness goals and workout together, so that you will strive to perform better than them.
Alternatively, join a group exercise class such as GT30, spinning or Body Pump, and compete against the other members. Who will receive that all-important nod from the instructor at the end of a class?

Remember why you started in the first place

You’ll have heard this many times, but weight loss is a journey. For the first few weeks you will be filled with energy and the desire to change, yet after a few more weeks, months or even years, it may be more challenging to motivate yourself.

Give yourself daily reminders of why you started your journey, channel the emotion that drove you to making those first few steps to a new healthier life and use it to fuel your workouts. If you’re feeling a little sluggish, treat yourself to a few of your favourite songs on your iPod. Having something fresh and new to listen to can help to bring new vigour to your workout.