“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”
-Mark Twain

Motivation is the desire to do things. It's the difference between waking up before dawn to pound the pavement and lazing around the house all day. It's the crucial element in setting and attaining goals, and research shows you can influence your levels of motivation and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the obstacles, and start being who you want to be.

Obesity costs $270 billion annually, more than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 60 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. Each year, millions of people set weight loss goals for themselves. Yet, most people fail to reach them. Although some people manage to lose a few pounds initially, most can't maintain their weight loss, and end up quickly gaining it back. People who have struggled with weight problems for a long time tend to feel helpless, unable to break the cycle of being overweight or chronic obesity.

Many people get caught up in the latest fad diet. Americans spend more than $64 billion a year on weight loss plans and diets, which is not included in the annual costs of obesity. Ultimately losing weight, like any other challenge, is about changing your:

  1. personal beliefs
  2. lifestyle
  3. daily habits

Unless you change the way that you think about yourself, your health, and your quality of life, you can't make the changes necessary for effective weight loss.

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

To create your new healthy lifestyle, first you must be willing to create a new mindset and self-image focused around your physical health. You will need to change your habits, but most importantly you will need to change your mental attitude. Redesigning your mindset by yourself is no easy task. For this reason, I highly recommend finding some sort of outside structure such as a coach or online weight loss program. People who go on a weight loss plan with social support lose more weight than people who go on a weight loss plan by themselves, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburg. Having a person or community to keep you on track will motivate you to develop new habits faster.

Making daily healthy choices starts with a deep, burning desire to live better. The decision to be healthier, more fit, and feel more alive can't be based on guilt, shame or the fact that your pants feel too tight. Your motivation to live well must be based on a desire for a healthier life. When you have the right mindset, you're able to look at exercise in a new light. It becomes something that you look forward to rather than as a punishment. You understand you won't get instant results, because you're focused on your emotional relationship to the goal.

We all have moments when we desperately want to lose weight, but desperation doesn't lead to lasting motivation, it is more likely to defeat you. Ask yourself what you really want. Make your goal very clear. Set smart goals that are realistic and well-supported by a good weight loss plan and social support.

Smart goals are:

Specific – make your goals as clear and concise as possible
Measurable – establish concrete benchmarks to measure your progress
Attainable – Develop the attitudes, abilities, skills to make your goal a reality
Realistic – You must be willing and able to complete your goal
Timely – Set a time frame to create a sense of urgency

Avoid negative people. Get beyond smaller thighs or a thinner waist, and ask yourself, what do you really want from your life? Do you want more energy? Do you want to feel happier? Do you want to be more successful in your relationships? How much weight do you want to lose? Why do you want to lose this weight? Write these things down and read them daily to reinforce your determination to have what you really want.

"The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment."
- Earl Nightingale

All of us can learn how to make healthy choices. Overcome your unwillingness or overwhelming thoughts by practicing one new healthy choice each day, no matter how small it is. Have an extra glass of water or take a walk. These choices can help get you started on the road to successful weight loss and a far better life.

You aren't your habits. You're bigger than they are. Learn how to use these Weight Loss Motivation Skills to permanently lose weight and keep it off, and live the life you've always dreamed of.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Locklear is a researcher and consultant with 30 years experience, studying health, nutrition, and human behavior. He has been president of the Global Peace Project since 1986, and he administrates the website www.Natural-Remedies-for-Total-Health.com as part of the Global Peace Project Educational Outreach Program. You can also find him on The Total Health Blog.