Psychology Article:

Top 10 Ways to Motivate Yourself for a Lifestyle Change

by Linda Lovejoy, M.A., Licensed Mental Health Counselor

This psychology article provides the top 10 ways to motivate yourself for lifestyle changes necessary to help you lower your cholesterol.

Motivating yourself to make a major lifestyle change can be a daunting task. These tips will help you in your lifestyle change whether it is to diet, exercise, become more organized, or live within your means.

1. Focus on the benefits of the desired lifestyle change.

List as many benefits of the desired lifestyle change as possible. Spend time each day using mental imagery to internalize how happy and content you will be when you successfully incorporate this lifestyle change into your life. This will motivate you to move forward!

2. Make your environment supportive of your lifestyle change.

If you are dieting, clear your refrigerator and cupboards of junk food and other unhealthy temptations.

If you want to exercise more, park in the back of the parking lot so you naturally incorporate more exercise into your normal routine. Develop a habit of stopping by the gym on the way home, rather than going home first to avoid the risk of finding something else to do.

3. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

If you’re trying to lose weight, join Weight Watchers or other similar group. Spend more time with friends that also are health conscious. You want friends that are going to encourage you rather than sabotage your efforts.

4. Educate yourself on the topic.

Read articles, books, subscribe to magazines, and surf the net for websites dedicated to your area of interest. Magazines are great, since you get a monthly reminder of your desired lifestyle change goal.

5. Use anchors to motivate you.

Anchors are anything that reminds you of your goal and motivates you to persist in your efforts. It could be motivational posters, quotes, or sayings posted around your home and work environment.

6. Setup rewards for making progress in your lifestyle changes.

Be sure to pick rewards that support rather than sabotage your lifestyle change efforts. For example:

Buy new clothes in a smaller size. This reward supports your goal of losing weight.

Buying a bike supports your goal of incorporating more exercise in your life.

Splurge on purchases that help you stay organized, when you clean out the garage, closet, or desk.

Treat yourself to a relaxing day at the local park complete with a home-packed picnic basket as a reward for giving up eating at fancy restaurants to support your goal of living within your means.

7. Take a proactive approach to handling barriers to success.

Avoid people, places, or things that sabotage your efforts to incorporate the desired lifestyle change. Develop strategies to take the place of former destructive habit. For example, purchase healthy foods and snacks to replace your junk food favorites.

8. Setup routine accountability for reaching your goal.

It could be a weekly weigh-in at Weight Watchers or a weekly call from your accountability partner.

Accountability partners are those people you routinely report your progress and setbacks in attaining your goal. They are supportive, yet firm enough not to let you give up your desired lifestyle change.

9. Develop a mindset that allows you to persist even after you’ve had a setback.

Adopting a mindset of “progress not perfection” or “if at first you don’t succeed, TRY, TRY, AGAIN” or “tomorrow is a new day”, will keep you going when that inevitable slip occurs.

10. Be persistent and never give up.

Commit to getting back on track one more time than you slip-up and you are sure to achieve your goal in due time.

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This page was last updated on 12/24/05.