There’s no doubt about it: Changing habits is hard. So if you’ve had weight-loss disappoints in the past, it’s understandable that your confidence in making lasting changes might be low. However, the stronger your belief is that you can accomplish a goal or change a behavior, the better your chances of success are. Behavioral experts call this self-efficacy. And it can make or break your weight-loss efforts.
Think about how you view yourself. Are you struggling to believe in your ability to lose weight? It’s normal to feel apprehensive in the beginning. But with practice you can improve your sense of self-efficacy and boost your confidence. Try these strategies:
- Set realistic expectations. Do you expect immediate results? It’s common to set goals that aren’t realistic. For example, you may set yourself up for failure if you go from not exercising at all to trying to work out for an hour every day. Instead, focus on small, achievable changes, such as walking for at least 10 minutes daily, so you can experience feelings of success every week. As you achieve small goals, your self-confidence will improve and you can build up to larger changes.
- Recognize success. Take time to celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Did you take the stairs instead of the escalator one day? Eat a healthy breakfast three days in a row? Give yourself a pat on the back. You may not usually acknowledge the small things, but doing so will help you stay positive and confident.
- Maintain a learning mindset. Accept that setbacks will occur. How you deal with obstacles impacts your confidence and will to keep going. Approach challenges with an open mind. Refrain from judging yourself, and reflect on the experience by using it as an opportunity to grow. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?”
- Practice positive self-talk. Self-talk is your inner dialogue — what you say to yourself in any given moment. With practice, you can begin to change negative thoughts into positive ones. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll never reach my weight-loss goal,” try, “Reaching my goal weight takes time, but I can do it if I stick to it.”
- Find healthy support. The people closest to you may feel intimidated by your desire to make healthy changes. Tell them how important their support is and what they can do to encourage you. Be sure to connect with others who have similar goals. If you see others achieving similar goals, you’re more likely to believe you can accomplish your goals, too.