Keep your motivation going strong

When starting a new project, most of us vow to keep our enthusiasm full throttle, with the goal of seeing our project through to the end. Indeed, desire and motivation are a dynamite duo. The former gets us going, the latter keeps us on track.

Yet after the initial inspiration, motivation sometimes loses steam. This is especially true when difficult times throw you off track or roadblocks appear.

Motivational speaker Jeff Keller agrees that maintaining staying power can be tough. "No matter what the task, there's usually some obstacle or temptation to keep us from our goal," says Keller. "That's why it's so important to stay positive."

Top Ten Attitude Enhancers

Keep your mind focused on your goals. Here's how:

1. Celebrate the here and now - As long as you're committed to your plan today, you're succeeding because you're taking charge of your life. Focusing on goals that are far in the future can sap motivation.

2. Change your language - Keller suggests scratching negative phrases from your vocabulary. Instead of saying "No," "I can't" or "I'll try," substitute the positive. Say: "Yes!" "I can" and "I will."

3. Create visual inspiration - Find a photo of yourself before you started your weight-loss plan. Tack it on the refrigerator, a bedroom or bathroom mirror or inside the food cupboard. As you reach new goals, take new pictures, visually marking your progress.

4. Weigh in - Weigh in at your weekly meeting, and keep a chart of the results. Look at your overall progress and visualize that chart whenever you're tempted by less-than-healthy choices.

5. Believe in buddy power - Exercising with friends is always more fun. Schedule days to meet with your buddy, and if one of you tries to bow out, act as the other's conscience. Find someone to work out with on Weight Watchers Fitness Challenge board.

6. Steer clear of sabotage - Avoid people who put you down for trying to lose weight, or who encourage you to eat too much. Often these folks feel threatened by your weight loss.

7. Set mini goals - Start with aiming to lose 10 percent of your body weight. "By setting realistic goals, you're more likely to reach them, feel successful and move on from there," says Keller.

8. Reward yourself - When you've reached a goal (and remember to keep them small), you deserve a treat. Buy a new outfit, small piece of jewelry, a book or a diary, or take yourself to a play or movie.

9. Keep reminders in plain sight - Treadmills, bicycles, weights, even sneakers and exercise outfits should be left where you can see them. Don't store your exercise gear under the bed or in the basement. That will only hide the fact that you need to exercise.

10. Read success stories - Inspiration often comes from reading about the way others have found success. Just think: "One day the story is going to be mine!"