“It’s not motivation you lack; it’s just that you have the wrong priorities.”
Although you may not be aware of it, your mind right now is doing exactly what it thinks is best for you. Yes, there is a part of you that wants to lose weight and change your lifestyle, but you have a lot more thoughts that tell you it’s OK to carry on living the way you are. Too many of these types of thoughts are part of the reason for you being overweight. This same principle applies to every aspect of our lives.
To demonstrate just how this works, ask yourself this question, “Why do you want to lose weight?”
If you have a pen and some paper, write down all the reasons why you want to lose weight, or you can just list them in your mind.
Usually when I ask people this question, and it doesn’t matter what the goal is, they can list five to ten reasons and normally those reasons are extrinsic, which means they are external, material goals rather than something that will change how they think and feel internally and improve them as a person.
For instance, when someone is asked why they want to be rich, the list of reasons is usually something like; so they can buy a new car, buy a new house, go on more holidays, buy their parents a home, help other people, feel happier and less stressed, and look after their family. People normally falter before they can list ten strong reasons and few of these reasons will be to improve themselves intrinsically.
Research by the leading experts on destructive habits, Professor James Prochaska and Professor Carlos DiClemente, shows that to build the motivation you need to maintain a challenging habit, like weight loss, your reasons to succeed need to far outweigh the reasons, or excuses, that you give yourself not to stick to the habit, and the more reasons you have the greater your chances of success.
The reasons to succeed and the excuses you give yourself, which we cover in the chapter Smash the Excuses, are two of the fundamental elements of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavioural Change, developed in the 1980’s by Prochaska and DiClemente. Their model of change has a proven 60-75% success rate for helping people find the motivation they need to give up life challenging habits, such as smoking, taking drugs, and overeating. Impressive statistics, especially considering the doctors never ask the participants involved to stop smoking, taking drugs, or go on a diet.
The objective of this exercise is to create a list of reasons why you need to, want to, and have to lose weight and keep it off for the long term. This will add Value to the Motivation Equation and reduce the Delay.
Take some time to list every benefit you can think of to achieve your weight loss goal and maintain the habit of a healthy lifestyle thereafter. Remember, it’s important to try and list intrinsic as well as extrinsic reasons.
Here are some questions to get you thinking:
How will it affect your health?
- Reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis
- Improve bowel regularity
- Experience fewer illnesses
- Reduce the risk of diabetes
- Improved resilience to Covid-19
How will it affect you financially?
- Become more productive
- Have fewer days off work
- Improves chances of promotion at work
- It could help save money
How will it affect your family?
- Be around longer for family
- Less worry for loved ones
- Encourage other family members to eat healthier
- Reduce or stop snoring
How will it affect you socially?
- More confidence when going out on dates
- Gain pride and admiration from friends
- More able to take part in new activities
- Feel happier around other people
How will it affect you emotionally?
- Feel happier
- Increased confidence
- Feel less nervous or anxious
- Spend less time worrying about food consumed
Even if your habit is well established and you’ve been doing it for a while, it’s still good practice to keep adding to your list of reasons to succeed to bolster your resolve for the future and for when life throws you a curve ball.
50 reasons or more would be a good number to work towards for your list. It may seem a lot, however, when people list the reasons and excuses they give themselves for NOT doing something, most people can quickly list 20 or more right off the top of their head. Listing 50 or more reasons to succeed isn’t too difficult when you start to think about it, and the research clearly shows that the reasons to succeed need to far outweigh the reasons not to succeed in order to achieve success.
Here are a few other reasons to succeed:
- Avoid consuming chemical laden foods
- Decrease pressure in your joints
- Decrease your risk of clogged blood vessels
- Improved emotional well-being
- Experience fewer colds
- Feel better about yourself
- Feel like you’re taking the best possible care of yourself
- Feel more relaxed and at ease
- Food can taste better
- Have better fitting clothes
- Have more energy
- Healthier for the environment
- Help your body use insulin
- Improve immune system function
- Improve your appearance
- Improve your blood flow
- Improve your mood
- Improve your quality of life
- Improve your self-worth
- Improve your sex life
- Keep you more in tune with feelings of fullness
- Learn new ways to cope with distress
- Lower the risk of erectile dysfunction
- Lower your health care costs
- Make your skin look better
- Manage your stress better
- May improve your breathing
- May lower your blood pressure
- Promote feelings of control
- Reduce health care costs for you and society
- Reduce joint pain
- Reduce pain
- Reduce risk of high blood sugar
- Reduce triglycerides
- Reduce your body fat
- Reduce your risk of breast cancer
- Reduce your risk of colon cancer
- Reduce your risk of endometrial cancer
- Reduce your risk of gaining weight
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Reduce your risk of kidney cancer
- Reduce your risk of obesity
- Reduce your risk of oesophageal cancer
- Reduce your risk of pancreatic cancer
- Reduce your risk of prostate cancer
- Reduce your risk of sleep apnoea
- Reduce your risk of stroke
- Reduced susceptibility to allergies
- You may not sweat as much
- You may reduce the number of medications you take
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
~ Joseph Campbell