If you’ve experienced the joy of losing weight and then the guilt of putting it back on again it can be very difficult to get motivated to make a change again; no matter how frustrated you are by your situation.

My advice is to take it slowly, keep it simple and begin by swapping the stick for the carrot.

Swap the stick for the carrot

Did you know that we can be motivated to take action in different ways? The two big external drivers are either the stick approach or the carrot approach.

Stick motivation is all about pushing you away from pain. It’s usually the point at which the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of perceived change. That is, you’re motivated to change because you can no longer bear staying as you are.

Typical Stick thoughts might be “I’m fed up of feeling like the fat and frumpy one in my group of my friends” or “I can’t stand how tight my work clothes have become. They make me feel slow and uncomfortable.”

Stick motivation is actually really good for getting you started on a healthy weight loss plan but it’s not great for maintaining your new behaviours. That’s because as soon as you shed a few pounds and start feeling better about yourself, the pain that made you take action in the first place fades, as does the motivation to keep you on track.

A much more effective way to motivate yourself is the carrot approach, where you’re pulled towards something pleasurable and joyful.

Typical Carrot thoughts might be, “I can’t wait to show myself off in that fabulous size 12 teal blue dress at my best friend’s birthday celebrations. I’m going to be slim, healthy and happy and I’m going to stay that way” or “I’m so looking forward to feeling comfortable, smart and confident in my work clothes. I’ll be focused on my work not my waistline and I’m going to get that promotion.”

If you’re looking for sustainable change, carrot motivation is much more effective than stick motivation because you’re propelling yourself towards an exciting and energizing vision of how your life could be. The desire to reach that joyful place and live that wonderful life is what compels you to take consistent, lasting action.

What’s your carrot motivation? Message me, I’d love to hear from you.