Finding success means understanding what really motivates you. As sad as it is, simply being healthy isn’t typically enough of an incentive to make a person be successful with their health related goals – if it were, we wouldn’t need to do it as a resolution. The author of the article realized that and decided to look at other solutions to properly motivate his success rate. The reward had to be greater than his desire to eat his favorite high calorie foods. As an adult, this is obviously trickier because we can generally buy what we want, and other people will buy us things for the holidays and birthdays. To find the right incentives, he spent the last couple of weeks of the year thinking of things that would be great rewards, then made a list including the costs of those items. The more costly or time consuming something was, the more weight he had to lose to get that reward at the year’s end.
He then monitored his weight loss over the year, becoming much more aware of how different forms of exercise or foods affected what he would see on the scale. Since dieting and trying to stop eating desirable foods had not worked in the past, this method gave him the necessary incentive to avoid certain foods or to be more moderate in how much of them he ate because he knew how the scale would be affected – instead of having to track numbers of calories. Over the year, he adjusted the prize system to keep the incentive up – trying to be careful to be healthy is something that has to be done daily, and getting a reward at the end of the year doesn’t provide an incentive to get through a full 52 week.
Over the years, it was easier to stick to being healthier without having to be so constantly mindful of food or exercise. It wasn’t as much about denying himself, but of restraining himself to get something better. After enjoying some great food over the holiday, he was still able to lose 25 lbs, which was in his level 4 weight range loss. The flexibility of multiple range goals made it easier to not only stick with being active in working to lose weight over the year, it made it easier to stay healthier over the next year. Since he had reached Level 4, it was more about maintenance – as long as he kept the weight off, he didn’t have to lose any more weight to get the Level 4 prize at the year’s end.
To see what you can do to increase the odds of being successful in your weight loss goals (or any other resolution), give The ‘Know Thyself” Weight Loss Resolution a read.