You’re on your 18th diet. You’ve lost weight before – many times – and you’re planning on doing it once more. You’re going to the Bahamas this spring and you want to look good.
Why do you find yourself back in this place again and again?
You had the wrong kind of motivation.
There’s short-term motivation and long-term motivation. Short-term motivation is fueled by factors outside of the goal. For example, you’re motivated to lose 15 lbs. because you want to look good for your trip to the Bahamas. “The Bahamas” is not only outside the contiguous United States, but it’s also outside of being healthy and fit. You’ll be able to take the weight off, maybe. But the weight will come back. This is because your motivation lies outside of you. It’s external.
If you want to lose 30 lbs. because you want to be more ambulatory or because you want to get off your blood pressure medication and you want to feel more energetic, then your motivation is internal and you are much, much more likely to stick with your exercise, diet and all the other healthy habits that you need to adopt for the change.
This goes for any goal you create for yourself. If you want to ensure that you make a long-lasting (permanent) change, define for yourself the internal motivation for it. The externals are easy: more money, the respect of others, prestige, etc. But the internals? These could include: new skills, peace of mind, confidence, mental strength, and physical strength.
Of course, there are consequences for hard work. You very well might make more money by gaining new work skills. You might get noticed and gain fame. You might look great on the beach. But make sure these are not part of your motivation and it’s more likely that you’ll sustain your success.
It’s the WHY, as well as the how.