Pave the Way for Persistence

When it comes to permanent weight loss, persistence is where the tire meets the road. There will be many ups and downs along this road, and you'll have to keep yourself going even when things get tough. If you’ve been working the previous eight steps in this plan, you have already done much of the preparation necessary to cultivate and support persistence. You’ve developed some knowledge and skills to help you overcome common stumbling blocks. And you’ve articulated your vision, found your inspiration, chosen your direction, designed some specific goals and strategies, and given your beliefs and attitudes a good reality check.

The next step is practice—developing a set of daily practices or situations that promote persistence. Here are some key elements you’ll want to include in your daily practice:

Surround yourself with excellence.
  • Find success stories that inspire you and read them often.
  • Associate yourself with people who are actively pursuing positive goals similar to yours.
  • Share your Vision Statement with a few people you can trust to be supportive, and ask them to give you a good kick in the butt when they think you need it.
  • Give yourself permission to demote non-supportive friends to “I’ll check in with you later” status.
Give your physical environment a persistence-building makeover.
The old cliché “out of sight, out of mind” is really true for human beings, as is its opposite, “in sight, in mind.” Your ability to persist to your final weight-loss goal will be much greater when you make sure that the places you spend most of your time are full of positive cues, such as objects, photos, inspiring quotes, and other visual reminders of your vision and your goals. You can also spare yourself a lot of grief by having several “go-to” strategies and tools for handling stress readily available: music to soothe the emotional eating beast, meditation, a journal to write in, candles, oils and scents for a relaxing hot bath, and so on.

Finally, make sure you eliminate as many negative cues and triggers as you can. Don’t keep foods you don’t want to eat in plain sight, put the exercise bike right in front of the TV so you have to sit on it to see the TV, etc. You get the idea.

Go public.
The more people who know about your goals, the more support you’ll get, and the harder it will be to find places where you feel comfortable NOT doing what you’ve said you want to do. Sometimes, embarrassment and peer pressure can be your friends.

Reward success, but don't punish yourself for failures.
Find small, enjoyable rewards for yourself when you do well. And keep in mind that doing well means doing your part well—healthy eating, exercise and self-care—not just seeing a change on the scale. When you don’t do so well, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of beating yourself up. Just get back on track. Find someone else who’s having a bad day and see if there’s something you can say or do to help them out. That works like a charm for getting yourself out of your own negative state of mind when all else fails.

For more persistence-building ideas, see:

Sharing Is Achieving
Goal Buddies Are Golden
Weight Loss Journals: Hands-On Inspiration

This article is Step 9 in SparkPeople's Mind Over Body series, a 10-step program to ending emotional eating and creating a permanent healthy lifestyle. View the full series here or continue to the next step.
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Member Comments

Start again every day Report
This is good information to remember. I saved the article in my favs Report
thanks Report
The last time I told my family I was working on losing weight, they made so many jokes it wasn't funny. I couldn't loose fast enough for them. Last time I told them anything important until afterward. Report
Good need-to-know information, thanks! Report
Great article! Report
Great article! Report
Good read, thank you! Report
thanks Report
Very helpful article Report
Good article. Report
In trying to be more present I'm steering away from watching tv and heading more towards doing productive activities. Not only is it gratifying to complete "back-burner" projects, I find it it distracts me from all those food commercials. Instead of a pitty party for not having enough calories to eat whatever is being advertised, I'm feeling proud of myself for avoiding temptation and getting things done. Day 19 and down 9.5 lbs (yea). Thank you for such wonderful resources. Report
MOOMSHINE
One-size-fits-all doesn't work for me -- Fortunately, there is a ton of good information, and Challenges to help us reach our Personal Best(s)! IT can be done! Report
The food photos that advertise SP recipes on both pages of this article do not make it easy for my goal setting. Report
SUZENNA
Thank you for the article. Report


 

About The Author

Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson
Dean Anderson has master's degrees in human services (behavioral psychology/stress management) and liberal studies. His interest in healthy living began at the age of 50 when he confronted his own morbid obesity and health issues. He joined SparkPeople and lost 150 pounds and regained his health. Dean has earned a personal training certification from ACE and received training as a lifestyle and weight management consultant. See all of Dean's articles.