How to Stay Motivated when Making Lifestyle Changes [VIDEO]

Jessica Penner, RDOvereatingLeave a Comment

woman wearing sunglasses sitting at an outdoor cafe eating a fruit salad

Learn how to stay motivated to eat healthy by asking yourself these two important questions! Video and transcript included.

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Have you ever jumped into a new plan for a healthy diet only to find your motivation gone like that? (snap)

Watch this video to learn how to tap into motivation that sticks or keep reading the transcript below:


I recently saw this comic that said “My new years resolution this year…. Is to keep last year’s resolution!”

It’s funny because it’s so true.

According to Dr. Michelle Segar, a researcher who studies exercise motivation and the author of No Sweat, the problem with lost motivation is that you have the wrong why.

It’s not to say that your reason for wanting to make the change isn’t good or legit, it’s just not very motivating.

A lot of people want to make healthy eating changes for external reasons, such as preventing disease or weight loss. Studies show that when you base your “why” on external factors, your motivation to stick to your new plan isn’t going to last very long.

What’s the solution?

You need to turn your motivation inwards instead. Your motivation needs to be based on something inside of you for it to stick.

We can further break down our motivation into long and short term motivation.

Long Term Motivation

Let’s look at what’s going to keep us motivated in the long run. Motivated to not give up. You want to keep the end in mind and ask yourself “who do I want to be?” When you work towards a change that’s tied to your identity, you are more personally invested in sticking to it.

As James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits “It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.  When pride gets involved, you will fight to maintain your habits.”

Your weight and your health status have nothing to do with who you are as a person. Switch your focus to who you want to be.

Short Term Motivation

Secondly, to stay motivated every day, every meal, you need quick wins! These short term motivations need to be based on how you want to feel. So for this just ask yourself “how do I want food to make me feel?”

When you focus on how you feel, you get instant hits of dopamine, the pleasure chemical to keep going! Little hits of dopamine are what keep us motivated to want to repeat what we just did!

I know two women who decided to take up pottery. They both started by taking a class. They both had fun. They both produced beautiful pieces. But their stories have different endings. One woman stopped taking classes and thus stopped practicing. She still has her beautiful pieces on display at her house. When people inquire about them she shyly admits that she made them. But she doesn’t answer “yes, I’m the POTTER who made them.”

The other women bought a pottery wheel and kept taking classes. She kept up the habit of practicing. She has produced a ton of pieces and has started to sell them. She has become a potter.

They both started out with the same WANT and initial small wins but their continued actions led to the shaping of their identities. One become a potter. The other didn’t. It wasn’t because one was more talented than the other. It was because one decided to keep showing up, to keep practicing, to establish a HABIT.

So again, the lesson to learn here to stay motivated in making healthy eating changes has two parts:

  1.  First, decide the type of person you want to be. Focus on your identity and then….
  2.  Second, prove it to yourself with small wins based on how you feel

Apply It

Now that you’ve learned what’s needed for true and lasting motivation, it’s your turn! Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Who do I want to be?
  2. How do I want to feel?

If you know you want to make some healthy eating changes but you’re just not sure where to start, I’ve got just the thing for you! I’ve determined that there are 5 key pieces to what I call “The Healthy Eating Puzzle.” Take this quiz to find out which piece of the puzzle you need to work on the most.

Subscribe for exclusive access to my meal planning hacks ebook!
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