Avoid this common mistake when starting your weight loss journey


Nothing will derail you faster from your goal if you don’t have a good answer for why you want to lose weight, eat healthier or get fit.

Does your answer sound like any of these?

  • My doctor said I should.
  • My spouse (life partner, significant other, etc.) wants to do it and is making me do it too.
  • It seems like a good idea.
  • We have a bet at work for who will last the longest.

The problem with these reasons is they’re not personal to you.  You really don’t have a stake in the outcome, because it’s not your idea or passion to do it.

The only way you’ll be successful reaching your ideal weight, eating better or getting fit is if you’re motivated to do it.  You need to have a strong personal reason why you want to make these changes in your life.

Despite what fad diets or fitness programs say about how push-button easy they’ve made getting fit or losing weight, the truth is it’s anything but easy.  It takes work.  It takes commitment.  It takes desire to follow through until you reach the point your new habits are a solid lifestyle.

Find your reason why

Logic only gets you so far.  The final factor is determined by the emotion you feel toward something.

If you’re not swayed emotionally, there is no why, there is no motivation.

Is there a way to create this emotion if it’s not there?  Possibly.

Fear as a motivator

fearOne of the strongest emotions we feel is fear.  Fear of something is a great motivator.  You can use that to your advantage.

Make a list of things you’re afraid will happen if you don’t make these changes.  Don’t censor yourself or judge any of the items you put down.  They can seem silly or be extreme.

We might as well start with the most extreme, which is the same for everyone; death.  In what ways could not taking action cause you to die?

Have you already been told you have high blood pressure?  High cholesterol?  Pre-diabetes?  Do you have any other condition you’ve been told could be controlled with diet and exercise?

What will happen if you don’t take action?

Maybe you had a friend or loved one struggle for a long time or die of a certain disease, and you see yourself heading down the same path.  How can you use your experience and knowledge of what happened to them to change your behavior?

If you don’t have any health issues going on, thinking morbid thoughts about death and disease might not seem realistic to you.  What other fears could you tap into for motivation?

Perhaps you hope to take a trip that involves public transportation or a lot of physical activity.  Are you afraid you won’t fit comfortably in the seats public transportation provides (this could be a bus, jet, train, etc.)?  Are you afraid you won’t be able to do all the walking involved or climb lots of stairs or any other physical demand you know your trip will involve?

Maybe you’re going to the beach and you’re afraid to put on a bathing suit.

Again, there’s nothing too extreme or too shallow when making this list.  If your fear, whatever it happens to be, motivates you to make a change, you need to identify it so you can use it to your advantage.

Benefits as a motivator

benefitsJust as strong are the emotions of love and caring.  This can be love and caring for yourself or for others.  If fears are the things that push you toward your goals, love and caring can be the things that pull you toward them.

What personal benefits will you experience by adopting healthier habits?  Here are some general examples:

  • More energy to play tag with your kids
  • Live longer to enjoy grandchildren
  • Remain healthier longer so you’re not a burden to your children later in life
  • Remain independent in your own home instead of needing to live in a nursing home
  • Lower health costs by not needing medications or persistent testing
  • Able to enjoy your retirement years by being active

These ideas might get you started or not mean anything to you.  That’s why it’s so important to take time to create your own list.

Your fear list and benefits list don’t need to be done in just one sitting either.  Keep them handy for a week or two and as ideas or thoughts pop into your head, add them to your list.

What’s in it for me?

whatThe things you choose to do in life are directly related to seeing something in it for you.  That may seem self-centered, but it’s true.

By creating a list of fears to push you and a list of benefits to pull you, you’re identifying what’s in it for you.  You’re figuring out why you should care or want to take on the task of reducing your weight, changing how you eat, or getting physically active.

When you have a strong reason why and are emotionally driven by it, you’re much more likely to succeed in creating the lifestyle you need to achieve your goals.

Your turn

Are you trying to lose weight because you want to or because somebody said you should?  What’s your reason why for losing weight?  Please share in the comments below!

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  1. cj says:

    Marvy article, Lori! Just trying to shape some flab. Love the graphics in your post too!

    • Lori Stalter says:

      lol Thanks CJ! Graphics seemed like an easy solution for visuals this time around.

      I can’t wait for the your abs unveiling. 😉