Many people who sign up for gym memberships do so for one reason above all else. They do not like the number they see when they step on their bathroom scales in the morning. However, while weight loss is a worthwhile goal, it’s not always sustainable as a motivator. This may explain why 90 percent of people quit their gyms by March or even sooner, according to fitness, wellness and health consultant Paul Elsass. So what can you do to achieve your weight loss goals? Read on to learn how looking beyond weight loss can help you stay motivated for the long haul.
Connect With Your Motivations
While weight loss may be your primary goal for joining a gym, odds are it’s only one of many reasons you’re prioritizing your health and wellness. Whether you’re hoping to increase your stamina and agility so you can keep up with your kids, aiming to get off of your prescription meds, or just want to feel better about yourself, embracing fitness can help you improve much more than your weight.
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Then there is the sad reality that too many people who have an “off” week and gain a pound or two end up throwing in the towel completely. Understanding and acknowledging all of your motivations beyond the number on the scale can help you avoid this scenario and instead stay focused on the big picture. Once you’ve compiled a list of your motivations, write them down and commit to reviewing them regularly.
Take Baby Steps
If you have a lot of weight to lose, chipping away at it from week to week can quickly become discouraging. On the other hand, if you have a small amount of weight to lose, the pounds may drop off very slowly. Unfortunately, many people get frustrated and give up before they can start to see and feel the cumulative payoffs. Rather than basing your goal around the total number of pounds you hope to lose, identify incremental goals instead. Whether you commit to going to the gym five days a week or to sign up for that yoga class you’ve been wanting to try, baby steps quickly lead to bigger ones. Conversely, by starting with a huge goal from the onset, you set yourself up to fail the second you cheat on your diet or miss a workout. Remember, weight loss is a journey, not a destination. You will occasionally venture off track. Accepting that slip-ups are part of the process can help you avoid quitting when the going gets tough.
Manage Your Mindset
For the millions of people who’ve tried to lose weight and failed, thoughts of weight loss are inherently linked with negative feelings. Rather than focusing on how much weight you have to lose and/or how tortuous the process is, embrace the opportunities in front of you instead. Think of an activity you enjoy and integrate that into your fitness routine. Always loved to dance? Take a Zumba class. Looking to spend more time with a cherished friend? Schedule gym visits together. Curious about water aerobics? Sign up for an aquatic session. According to Time magazine, success ultimately has less to do with overcoming perceived obstacles, and more to do with “adjusting our mindset so that healthy choices feel right, and don’t feel like deprivation, hard work, or punishment.” Managing your mindset may also mean moving away from the desire for instant gratification and toward acceptance of a slower and steadier approach. Proposes Time, “When it comes to weight loss, that mindset will win the race. The choices we make over time, not one day or one hour, dictate the way that our bodies will look, feel and act.” You’re hardly alone if you’re wondering how to get motivated to work out or to stick with your weight loss goals. The good news? Millions of people do both every day, not by obsessing over the number on a scale, but by exploring their underlying motivations, making realistic plans, and re-framing their mindsets. Ready to start today? Sign up for a trial pass to take your first step toward a healthier, happier life.