Do you struggle with staying consistent, yo-yo dieting, and cycling between gaining and losing fat? Here's the simple fix that will increase your consistency and lead to extraordinary fat loss results!
There's something exciting about getting started on a new weight loss plan. Your motivation is high, and you feel like this...THIS is the time when you'll finally be successful with losing weight.
But you don't want to have to wait–you want to start seeing results as quickly as possible!
So you do everything you can think of to lose weight fast...
- Cut out carbs
- Eliminate sugar
- Eat a measly ~1,200 calories per day
- Start doing cardio 2 hours a day, every day.
- Stay in on the weekends to avoid temptation. ("but it's okay ‘cause it'll be worth it, right?!")
You make all of these drastic changes in hopes that you’ll lose weight and get the body you’ve always wanted.
And for the first couple of weeks, it works! You're down a couple of pounds, you still have plenty of energy (for now), and you don't see how anything can stop you.
Then you enter Week 3…
Hunger is beginning to set in, your food cravings are starting to get out of control, and your energy is plummeting as the week goes on. Not only that, now you are deal with the stress of dieting on top of your hectic work and family life schedule.
Essentially, life sucks, and the changes you’ve made are just too unsustainable to follow through on.
Next thing you know, you're out with friends on Friday night and halfway through your 6th slice of pizza you call it quits on the diet… at least till Monday.
And vicious cycle of unsustainable dieting continues...
There’s a powerful rush of excitement and motivation that comes along with getting started on a new weight loss plan.
But, while this motivation is great for getting started, we often use it up within the first few weeks through making extreme diet and exercise changes that are ultimately unsustainable.
The result is a burnout in energy, motivation, and a few too many slices of peanut butter cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory.
So, how can you avoid this motivation "burnout" and the vicious cycle of dieting?
The key is to make small changes that help you achieve milestone goals, "mini wins," and create healthy habits–all of which will lead to long-term & extraordinary fat loss results!
In this article you’ll learn:
- How to Create Smaller Milestone Goals
- How to Use “Mini Wins” to Build Momentum
- How Small Changes and “Mini Wins” Lead to Extraordinary Results
- 4 Small Changes You Can Make Today That Will Help You Achieve Extraordinary Fat Loss Results
How to Create Smaller Milestone Goals
The majority of folks losing weight have an end goal in mind.
For some people, it's losing 100 pounds. For others, it might be fitting into their old high school jeans.
Whatever it is, this "Ultimate Goal" tends to be an accomplishment that’s months or even years of hard work down the road.
This ultimate goal can be motivating in the beginning, but the issue comes with staying committed to the daily grind of dieting and exercising with nothing more than the vision of your end-point as the sole motivator for keeping you going.
The reality is that most people don't have that kind of delayed gratification.
There's good news, though - there’s a simple fix for this that will keep your motivation high while working towards your long-term goals.
Here’s what you need to do: Take your ultimate goal and slice it down into smaller “milestone” goals.
For example, If your ultimate goal is to lose 100 pounds, slice that into five smaller milestone goals of losing 20 pounds.
One reason this works so well is that it only requires a few small changes at a time to accomplish each new milestone goal. What's more is that each time you reach a new milestone, you can celebrate with a small reward of going out to eat with your family or buying yourself a gift.
(In my opinion, the best gift is something that works towards your fitness goal. An example would be buying a Fitbit or new workout clothes.)
Smaller milestone goals will also feed the mindset that you can accomplish what you set out to do.
You’ve lost 20 pounds once, who’s to say you can do it again?
This mindset repeats itself each time you hit a new milestone, and before you know it, you're over halfway towards achieving your ultimate goal!
You see, there is a big difference between believing you can do something and knowing you can do it. When you know that something is possible because you’ve done it before, you don’t have to worry about if you are doing things right or not.
You've already succeeded once before, so you can do it again, and you do.
The Bottom Line: Instead of relying on one ultimate goal, break it down into smaller milestone goals. They will be easier to accomplish and provide a steady flow of motivation along your journey.
Using “Mini-Wins” to Build Momentum
The reason most dieters fail after the first few weeks is from losing their initial drive that got them started.
You see, losing weight is easy (and can even be fun) when your “motivational fuel tank” is topped off. But after a few weeks of dieting–particularly when hunger levels rise and fatigue sets in–your motivation levels wither away, and you're left running on fumes.
However, when you slice up your ultimate goal into multiple milestone goals, you set yourself up for "mini-wins."
A mini-win refers to when you achieve a new milestone goal, and they are essential for long-term weight loss success for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, having multiple mini-wins is a fantastic way to keep a steady level of motivation going throughout your weight loss journey.
In times when motivation is fleeting, you'll be able to look back on your journey and all that you've accomplished, which provides reassurance that you are making progress.
And as long as you keep making progress, you will eventually reach your goal–It's not a matter of "if" but rather "when" you accomplish it.
Secondly, mini-wins will build on each other and create a snowball-like effect. In other words, It'll get easier and easier to make progress because you've built up confidence and perfected the process.
The Bottom Line: Accomplishing milestone goals will lead to mini-wins, which you can look back on when times get tough. Instead of losing motivation, you’ll be able to keep a steady stream of it throughout the duration of your weight loss journey.
How Small Changes Lead to Extraordinary Results
I have a friend who swears by collecting coins to save money.
Part of his routine when he gets home is to empty his pockets and drop the handful of coins he has jingling around in his pocket into a big glass jar.
For the longest time, I'd make fun of him for it. I would watch as he dropped a few pennies in and ask, "Do you really think that's going to add up one day?"
Well, the joke on me, because after about 8-10 months of doing this, he ended up cashing in for around $100!
While a few pennies, nickels, or dimes didn't mean much on a daily level, the consistency of making these small changes and additions added up over time into a nice payoff.
Especially for something that would otherwise end up on the floor of your car seat or in the gutter somewhere.
You see, it wasn't one day of saving that made a difference. It was the accumulated days of saving done with consistently, and that's where small changes really start to shine...
Here’s how: By making small incremental changes over time, you will create and form new, healthy habits (such as exercising, eating whole foods, and drinking water).
These healthy habits are what ultimately lead to long-term fat loss success.
Think about it...
Unhealthy habits (such as overeating, late night snacking, inactivity, etc.) are what caused your unwanted fat gain, so it makes sense that new and healthy habits will work in the other direction–they'll help you lose fat, and keep it off.
Small changes are perfect for creating new habits because habits are best formed when the tasks are small and precise.
The small act my friend made of dropping pocket change into a glass jar was an incredibly easy change to make. As a result, It became a habit.
A more fitness-oriented example would be, "trying to create a habit of eating healthy." Saying you want to start "eating healthy" is way too broad, and can mean 20 different things to 20 different people...
What foods are considered healthy?
How many meals do you eat?
Are you eating enough protein?
Is too much protein a bad thing?
So, similar to how you broke down your ultimate weight loss goal into multiple milestone goals, you should also break up your desired habit of "eating healthy" into several smaller tasks.
For instance, You might start out by subbing water for one of your sodas every day. After you master that (and can do it without much effort), you can move on to the next small change towards eating healthy.
The best part about making these small changes is that the new habits they form will stick because you planned and executed them one at a time. These build on each other and lead to… you guessed it:
Extraordinary Fat Loss Results
And it doesn't matter how slow you are going–you are still making progress.
As long as you are moving forward and working to be "better" than you were yesterday, you're getting closer to your ultimate goal.
The Bottom Line: The small changes you make towards accomplishing your milestone goals will become healthy habits. Once these habits are formed, it becomes incredibly easy to execute on them consistently, leading to long-term weight loss success.
4 Small Changes You Can Make Today That Lead to Extraordinary Results
Now that you know about the importance of making small changes, creating milestone goals, and building up mini-wins, You may be wondering, “where’s the best place to start?”
What small changes will give you the most bang for your buck ?
I’ve spent a lot of time–both with myself and with online coaching clients–planning out small changes and these four are definitely the best ones to get started with.
They are super-easy to implement, and you can start executing on them the second you finish reading this article!
1. Have a Morning Routine
You have around 25,000 mornings in your adult life, give or take a few.
Most people spend their mornings hitting the snooze, waking up late, stumbling out of bed, throwing on whatever clothes they can find, grabbing a quick coffee, and rushing out the door...
Not much structure at all.
This is unfortunate, because a morning routine is one of the best ways to start the day off right. It allows for a few mini-wins that lead to better choices throughout the rest of the day.
Your morning routine doesn't have to be anything extravagant either. In fact, the best way to implement one is to start with a few tasks that are so incredibly simple to perform that you'll do them without fail.
For example, the first three things I do in the morning are:
- Make my bed (first victory of the day)
- Perform a quick 5-minute mobility routine (specifically a few sets of wall slides)
- Spend 10-15 minutes walking on a treadmill and reading my kindle.
It only takes me around 18-22 minutes to do all of this, and the benefit it adds to my day is well worth waking up a little earlier.
2. Eat More Lean Protein & Veggies
If you know much about my approach to dieting, then you know I am a huge proponent of counting calories and macronutrients (specifically protein). It is, without a doubt, the best way to guarantee quick and consistent fat loss.
But whether you are trying to lose weight by tracking your calories and macros or simply wanting to find a way to naturally drop a few pounds, this small change to your daily life will benefit your fat loss results.
For one, lean protein and veggies are both very satiating. By eating more of them throughout the day, you'll experience less hunger, likely eat less food, and drop weight in the process.
Another reason to include more lean protein and veggies into your diet is that they provide various health benefits for your body.
For instance, protein is essential for building and retaining lean muscle while dieting, and veggies contain a ton of fiber and micronutrients which are needed for proper digestion and overall health.
The simplest way to implement this change is to start by adding a lean protein source (such as chicken breast, turkey breast, tuna, or lean steak) and low-calorie veggies (such as steamed veggies or salad) to one meal a day.
Then, you can start slowly working your way up to including them with all or most of your meals.
3. Double Your Steps per Day
We all know that the typical American diet is crap. However, most people are making things even worse by living incredibly sedentary lifestyles.
The average U.S. adult only takes around 5,900 steps per day, and some people get even less - around 4,000 steps per day (specifically desk workers). This puny amount of daily activity is a major reason why many dieters complain about having a "sluggish metabolism."
It's not necessarily due to bad genetics, but rather that they don't move enough to require the need to eat more calories.
Luckily, there's a simple two-word fix for this: Move More!
A good number of steps to shoot for is 10-15k, which equates to around 5-7 miles of walking per day.
It doesn't use up much effort throughout the day either. If you take 3-4 15-minute walking breaks during your day, you'll easily hit the 10k mark.
(this is one reason why I include walking in my morning routine, I start the day off with around 2,000 steps which makes hitting my goal of 10-15k steps easy-peasy)
There are a ton of beneficial reasons for moving more, but some of the big ones being:
- Faster metabolism
- More energy
- Better sleep quality
If you don't own a Fitbit or other activity tracker to “track” your steps, just focus on taking a few walking breaks throughout the day, and you'll get all of the benefits.
4. Get At Least 7-9 Hours of Sleep per Night
Sleep is incredibly important for our health (duhhh), but especially so for losing weight.
There's a long list of reasons why you should be getting more high-quality sleep, but here are two of the biggies:
1. Poor sleep leads to increased cravings, worse mood, and lower energy.
Being sleep deprived and tired creates a double-edged sword by increasing cravings and decreasing willpower.
Think about it - we don't make unhealthy food choices when we're energetic and alert during the day. Instead, we tend to binge on sweets late at night when we're tired and exhausted after a long day of work.
It makes sense that our bodies crave high-sugar energy treats such as pretzels, chips, candy, and cookies to refuel. Plus, there is the whole psychological component of “comfort foods” that gets mixed into the equation…
The simple fact is this: inadequate sleep is going to increase your risk of overeating and gaining weight.
2. Poor sleep can lead to increased stress and water retention
Being in a calorie deficit and dieting is stressful enough. Neglecting your sleep will only cause more stress and make things harder on yourself.
Too much stress is bad for a number of reasons, but its biggest effect on weight loss is water retention.
While water retention doesn’t inhibit your ability to lose fat, it can cause weight fluctuations that inaccurately reflect your hard work, decreasing your motivation to continue dieting.
To ensure this doesn't happen, I recommend getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
If you have trouble getting to sleep in the evening, here are some tips that will help you out:
- Have a nightly routine that primes your body to fall asleep - similar to a morning routine, a nightly routine should include a few habits that are easy to execute on, such as brushing your teeth, stretching, reading, etc.
- Ban electronics from the bedroom, or 1 hour before bed - blue light from your phone and computer screen mess with your body's natural circadian rhythm. Essentially, it associates the blue light with daylight and keeps you awake.
- Black out your sleeping quarters - The darker your room, the easier it will be to fall asleep. If you live in the city with a lot of street lights, it's probably worth investing in some black-out curtains.
It’s obvious to me why people make big changes from the start, I made the same mistake when I was getting started!
Who wouldn’t get excited and motivated from seeing fast weight loss progress on the scale?
The problem, though, is that these big changes we make are ultimately unsustainable.
Instead, focus on making small changes using the strategies I've outlined in this article. You'll still make progress, but you'll ALSO continue making progress many months and years down the road.
And if there is only one thing you take away from this article, it should be this:
Lasting weight loss success doesn't come from making big & unsustainable changes, it'll come from making many small changes and setting milestone goals that lead to mini-wins and the creation of new healthy habits.
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