1. Analyze This! – Body fat analyzer
Get yourself an Omron handheld body fat analyzer or something comparable. Do you know how discouraging it can be to excitedly jump on the scale at the end of a week of hard work only to see the same number from last week? It’s devastating. BUT you probably didn’t account for body fat loss vs muscle gain. You can lose body fat and still end up weighing the same or more! That’s why a body fat analyzer is so important. It helps you see your REAL progress (drop in body fat). Body fat % is a much better parameter to monitor for “weight loss.” What you really want is body transformation.
2. Visualization – Pin it up!
Not on Pinterest though! Okay fine, you can pin some motivational photos on Pinterest too but using a real bulletin board or just posting pictures to a wall is better. What motivates you? Think of things that visually represent these and pin them on a wall. Clip things out of magazines or print out images from a Google search. Pin up a photo of a fit person you can visualize yourself transforming into. Post your favorite motivational quote, a photo of your most inspiring health and fitness celebrity, photos of the clothes you will be wearing, etc.
3. App it UP – Fitness smart phone apps rock!
Smart phone apps can be HUGE in helping you reaching your goals. Some of the best apps available are FREE too. There’s My Fitness Pal for calorie counting and diet tracking, Runtastic which uses GPS and other technology to track your time, distance, speed, elevation, burned calories and more and My Diet Coach (for women) gives you tips, motivational messages, tracks weight loss and includes many other powerful tools. There’s plenty more great apps out there too!
4. Get Fierce – The power of competition
Competition is an excellent motivator for just about everyone. A competition puts you in a community with people that share the same goal. They help inspire you to work harder than you would by yourself. There are often weight loss competitions at your local gym. You can also join an online weight loss competition. If getting in shape and beating out your competition wasn’t enough motivation for you there’s also money! Most of these contests have very lucrative cash prizes. You usually have to pay an entry fee that creates the pool of money for the winners but this serves to make you financially invested in your goal!
5. Reward – Choose a reward for when you achieve your goal
Vacation to Maui? Fancy dinner out? New fitness gear? Think of something you can reward yourself with and promise yourself you can only reward yourself with it if you accomplish your weight loss goal. Find a picture or an object to represent your reward and put it somewhere you will see everyday to keep you focused and motivated.
6. Rally the Troops – Create a support network
Create a support network of your family and friends. Maybe convince a friend or few friends to join you in your weight loss crusade. Tell your friends and family your goals and to help you keep them and not tempt you with things that could spoil your success. However, almost everyone has that one friend that seems to enjoy tempting and torturing you to eat that pizza or skip your workout. Anticipate that and use it to make your personal resolve even stronger.
7. Accountability – Have a friend hold you accountable
Choose a friend to be your weight loss confidant and accountability technician. Your keeper. Ask them if they will take on this responsibility (and honor). Explain your weight loss, nutrition and fitness goals to them and how they are going to hold you accountable. When you hang out or talk on the phone they will ask, “Did you run today like you said you were? You staying out of the brownie mix?” Or whatever else you deem appropriate.
8. OCD Free – Resist weighing yourself too much
Avoid the temptation of weighing yourself 3 times a day. Your weight fluctuates for 100 different reasons and small differences from hour-to-hour or day-to-day aren’t accurate representations of your progress and will serve to confuse and upset you. Promise yourself that you will only weigh and body fat analyze once a WEEK. If you can’t relinquish that much control, at least settle for 3 days or greater. The anticipation of waiting a week also makes you work harder!
9. Incentive – Hanging up your special “skinny outfit”
Go shopping for a snappy (guys) or spicy (ladies) outfit you can wear out once you shed that extra weight you’re dedicating the next few months to. If you have a favorite outfit you can’t fit into anymore use that. Hang this “skinny outfit” up somewhere where you can see everyday. Visualize yourself in it. This will keep your eye on the prize.
10. Find Me in the Club – Find a fun workout class
That’s a 50 Cent reference if you didn’t catch it. Go shorty. Okay, I’ll stop. What I’m trying to get at, is you should find some sort of class offered at your local gym or fitness club that you’d enjoy. Get a friend to sign up with you. You get to know the regulars at the class and usually make friends or acquaintances. They’ll start holding you accountable. If you don’t show up, there will be the guilt factor and having to answer, “Where were you Wednesday?” So yeah, pick a class. Try a hip hop class, a cycling class… shoot, why not kickboxing?
11. Music Playlist – Increase athletic performance
It should go unsaid that you should not be listening to Yanni’s greatest hits or your favorite string quartet during your workouts. Music is a GREAT motivator and helps you stay amped up during your workout. Choose something with high beats per minute (fast paced music). If angry or aggressive sounding music gets you jacked up than listen to that. Research shows music has a powerful influence over your athletic performance. You want a song that has a faster beat or a high bpm (beats per minute) because your heart naturally wants to match it. Example? Think Mr. Brightside by The Killers at 150 bpm. Need ideas? Check out 55 Top Hits – Workout Mixes on Amazon. It lists 55 songs you can download individually for 99 cents each. The bpm is listed and you can listen to a sample of each song.
12. Event Preparation – Triathalon, marathon, fun-run
Pick one. Sign up. Pay the entry fee. This creates a financial investment and a time commitment. Prepare yourself for this race and use the preparation as a source of motivation. You don’t want to make a fool of yourself. You want to show up on Game Day with the “Eye of the Tiger,” ready to shred it up. You will feel so good at the end of the race. You’ll have a great sense of completion, accomplishment and personal pride. Better yet, get a friend to do it with you!
13. Put me in Coach! – Getting a health coach
Get yourself a health coach that can whip your butt into shape and keep pumping you full of motivation and optimism. Even if you can’t find a coach to work 1-on-1 with you in person, you can always find a coach or counselor to work with you over the phone. It’s a little bit like your friends supporting you and holding you accountable for your weight loss goals, except you are paying this person for it. Your financial investment makes you more invested in your health and the coach is going to make sure you get your money’s worth and see a return on that investment.
14. Pen, Paper & Clarity – Write down concrete goals
Statistics show that people who write their goals down (pen and paper, people) have a higher success rate at achieving them. Make your goals clearly defined. Don’t write down “I want to lose weight.” Make your goals as specific as possible. “I want to lose 20 lbs, knock off 10% of my body fat, lose 6 inches from my waist, drop 2 pants sizes, be able to run 3 miles without stopping, etc.” Reread them frequently. Add and modify.
15. Baby Steps – Breaking big goals into little ones
Lose 20 lbs? Break it down. You might have a goal to lose 20 pounds in 2 months but when that’s the only thing you have in mind for two months its hard to stay focused and motivated. Break up your big-picture goal into weekly goals. Goals that are healthy and you know you can accomplish. Don’t set the bar too high. Really. The important thing is reaching those mini goals. Each min-goal you complete instills a sense of accomplishment and programs your mind for success. It’s also easier to stay focused and work harder going after short term goals. There’s a reason people need deadlines!
16. Cashing In – Saving some green $$
Healthy weight loss, fitness and good nutrition are like an apple a day… they keep the doctor away. Your immune system will be stronger and you’ll get less colds and flus. Your blood work will be better so you won’t have to worry about taking costly medications to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. You will be mentally sharper and therefore more productive at work and that could lead to a promotion or other opportunities. Being fit and healthy will keep more green in your pocket, for sure.