How to Stay Committed to Your Exercise and Weight Loss Goals

It's normal to have days when you really don't want to exercise or look at another salad. But before you pick up a fork and dig into sugary frosting or write off the gym, try this idea that JJ Virgin, the author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, says is personal kryptonite against program destroyers.

Let's be honest here. You will need something concrete to really motivate you when times get hard. There will come a day when you have a big fight with your mother on the phone or your boss is really demanding. Maybe the car won't start and your kids are screaming. Suddenly the idea of motivation is out the window and all you want is a Snickers bar.

Or you didn't work out, and suddenly it's eight o'clock on a cold winter night. You're exhausted because it has been such a long day. You figure that it wouldn't be the end of the world if you just skipped one night of exercise. Then you remember that you already skipped another night . . . and another.

How can you keep from derailing your program? You need something that kicks you in the can when times get hard and all you want to say is "&^%$ it!"

Believe me, at some point you will say, "&*^% it, I want that piece of cake." Or "I'm a little too tired to put on my athletic shoes and move." It happens to all of us. But before you pick up a fork and dig into fatty, sugary frosting or write off the gym, I have an idea that's personal kryptonite against program destroyers.

The Power of Projection
I've found one of the best motivators is simply projecting your ideal body. It may seem silly, but really, I want you to do the following "before" and "after" exercise. I promise it will keep you mentally motivated during even the toughest and most challenging moments.

Hit the magazines and find a picture of an actress or athlete you dream of looking like after completing this program. Maybe you love Hilary Swank's strong, sinewy arms. Perhaps your ideal body currently belongs to Halle Berry, Heidi Klum, or our first lady, Michelle Obama. Who it is doesn't matter one bit. The point is to choose someone who makes you stop each time you see her picture and think, If only . . .

Now take a picture of your face, roughly the size of the face of the woman in the photo, and paste your head on the celebrity's body. Make several copies of your creation because you will need them. Put one copy smack in the middle of your fridge, and keep another on you at all times, whether in a purse, wallet, or bag.

Keep one on your nightstand and one on your bathroom mirror, and one each in your desk at work and your car. Now when you're running around and just want to say, "Forget it, I'm going to grab a slice of pizza for lunch," you can pull out the picture and renew your commitment.

This photo will be your emergency release valve. When you look at it, what you're really asking yourself is: is this really worth it? Is it really worth it to eat that bag of cookies? Is that dried-out coffee store muffin really worth it? Is that tempting breadbasket worth it? Is it worth it to skip the gym to take a nap? Is it worth it to slog through my cardio burst training giving only half an effort? Half an effort will not result in Hilary Swank-ness. Half an effort won't Klum your body. You can't go all Halle Berry on everyone if you make burger your king or dairy your queen.

This mental photo trick is for every time you even think, Screw it. It will help remind you why you started this program in the first place. Now, before you point the car in the direction of the mall instead of where you work out, ask yourself, "Did my goals change? Did I suddenly wake up this morning and think, 'I don't really want to look that good anymore'?" If the answer is no, then you will stop yourself and not toss in the towel. Yes, you still want to have the body of Ms. Cameron Diaz, and that photo of your head on her body has your attention.

It's completely normal to have days when your motivation lags and you really don't want to exercise or look at another salad. It's perfectly valid to be tired -- no, make that exhausted -- after trudging through a day during these stressful times. I too have days where I'd rather go to a spa and eat cake -- not necessarily in that order -- rather than go outside and do my burst training session (more on that in the exercise chapter). The thing that gets me through the cake day is looking at my motivator photo and cementing the idea (again) of why I want to stick with the program.

Discover the no-fail program that will trim, tone, and transform your arms into your hottest accessory with Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy.

JJ Virgin, author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy: The 5-Step Plan to Sleek, Strong, and Sculpted Arms (Copyright © 2010 by JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc.), has successfully coached Hollywood elite, rock stars, heavyweight champions, Olympians, and CEOs into shape using her powerful weight loss program. She is an on-camera nutrition and fitness expert, writer, professional speaker, and radio personality on nationally syndicated shows, including two seasons as the nutrition expert on Dr. Phil. A board-certified 25-year veteran of the health and fitness industry, she lives in Palm Desert, California.

Related Links: