STRAIGHT up Motivation! Get Motivated & Stay there!

Losing weight is hard work. You may find it hard to stay focused everyday on eating right and exercising. But losing your focus can mean a plateau or even regaining the weight you have lost. Here are some easy steps to follow to help you stay motivated and on track.

Create daily short-term goals
Long-term goals are important to give you a target, but they can be discouraging if they are your only focus. Make short-term goals that you can achieve on a daily basis, such as "I will run for 30 minutes on my lunch break 3 days this week". Short-term goals allow you to feel a daily sense of achievement and the confidence that you can continue to lose weight.

Surround yourself with motivators
In a 2007 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine researchers Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and James H. Fowler, Ph.D found that a person will be more likely to lose weight if he has friends who have successfully shed pounds. If you spend a lot of time with people who are also trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will have more resolve to stick with your healthy habits.

Reward yourself
Don't wait until you have lost all the weight to treat yourself well. A new skirt or pair of pants that can be tailored as you lose more weight will make you feel good about yourself right now. Treat yourself to a massage after you have run your first 5k. Hire a baby-sitter and enjoy a romantic dinner with your spouse after a hectic week.

Seek out new challenges
It is hard to stay motivated doing activities that you have mastered. Keep your workouts challenging. Invest in a heart rate monitor to make sure you are working out in the proper heart rate range. Try a new class at your gym. Keep your meals exciting by signing up for a healthy cooking class. A challenge will keep you mentally engaged and take the boredom out of your routine.

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