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Getting motivated isn't too difficult, just the fact that you made a SparkPeople account is proof of the fact that you got motivated to reach the goals that you want to reach. Staying dedicated is a different matter, especially when the accomplishments you want to have don't seem to come as fast as you'd want them to.

Here's some tips on how to stay motivated to reach your goals.

- Set small(er) goals for yourself.
Even if the final goal is a big one, try to reach that goal by taking steps towards that goal. For example: If you need to lose 30 pounds, set a 10 pound weight loss goal at first. You'll reach your 10 pound goal quicker and you will get a sense of accomplishment, the great feeling that you get by reaching that initial goal will be enough to keep you dedicated to move on, and you'll be less likely to lose your focus as you go for the 30 pound goal.

- Create your own motivational pictures or blog.
When I started my weight loss journey, I took some "before" pictures, and just taking those pictures motivated me to reach the point where I could take "after" pictures as well. You could also write a blog about how your lifestyle used to be and describe what you want to change, not only will this help motivate you to make those changes, it will also make it easier to set your goals as you'll have more of an in-depth look at what you need to change.

- Half a workout is still better than no workout.
There will be days where you should exercise but you don't seem to have the energy, on days like this you should still try to get your workout done for the day. Often you will find that your energy level goes up once you started your workout. But even when it doesn't, half a workout is still better than no workout at all. And by working out, even if its less than usual, you'll be able to stay in your weekly routine and you're less likely to skip the next workout. Just keep going, and you'll keep going strong.

- Keep the streak alive
Using SparkStreaks or another method to keep track of your streaks will keep you motivated to keep those streaks alive, I find this a very easy method of staying dedicated to my goals, just tracking my progress of the "8 cups of water a day" streak has helped me drink plenty of water which was difficult for me at first. But tracking my progress on a daily basis and pushing myself to keep that streak alive has made it easy for me to drink those 8 cups a day.

- Don't let a setback take you down.
Hitting that bump in the road is likely to happen to anyone, it's important to deal with this setback in a positive manner. Setbacks are temporary issues and they won't really hurt a long term goal if you stay dedicated. I hit two setbacks in my long term weight loss goal, during those setbacks I would not lose any weight for a week, it might seem like a 'wasted week' but it was actually a perfect time to reevaluate my goals and rethink my method to reach those goals. Some SparkPeople articles mention the phrase "two steps forward, one step back" which is exactly how you should think about setbacks, even if you just had that "step back" happen to you, overall you've still moved forward, even if it's a little slower than usual.

Quote out of a SparkPeople article about setbacks:
"So how can you react when something doesnít turn out as youíve expected? First, be objective. Step back and look at the situation. Take responsibility where it is due, but donít place blame on others. Is your setback really that significant, or will it just require a little extra exertion on your part? Come to terms with it and then start planning your next move. Ask for help. Donít be afraid or ashamed to do this. Oftentimes, people are more than willing to give you support and advice, maybe even after being in a similar situation. You donít have to be perfect; after all, nobody else is."

- Talk to people about your progress!
Whether it's in a blog, a SparkTeam, or outside of Sparkpeople.com, talking to people about your progress will make you feel good about what you're doing, especially once the people you're talking to are noticing the positive changes that you've made for yourself. Everyone likes compliments, and the fact that you're working towards a better lifestyle will be enough to get some positive responses from the people that you talk to. Once you've started to reach your first goals, people will notice the progress that you've made before you even got a chance to talk about them, and that feeling is absolutely amazing. ;)


SparkPeople Motivation article: Reasons to stay motivated

SparkPeople Motivation article: How to deal with setbacks

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