Bravo to everyone who makes the decision to lose weight in order to be healthier! It’s no small thing to commit to the work ahead, knowing you will have days when you just want to throw in the towel. But if you know how to stay motivated to lose weight, the journey can lead you to more than just a smaller number on the scale.

Most of us would be a healthier, happier version of ourselves if we dropped a few pounds. Studies show that, for those who have weight to lose, even a 5% drop can have significant health benefits. Joints get a reprieve, cholesterol and blood pressure take a turn for the better, and medications may become less necessary.

That promising fact alone should be a great start on how to stay motivated to lose weight. Whether you start or finish your weight loss program with health in mind, it will ultimately be the health incentive that is the most sustainable motivation.

If you are like most people, you have more than just a better check-up in mind when you think about losing weight. Perhaps you have been avoiding the mirror (or “sucking in” when you pass one) because you know you have let your physique go. Perhaps you just don’t have the energy to keep up with your kids, grandkids or active dog anymore.

Whatever triggered your decision to burn the pounds, spending some time with your “why” is essential for strategizing how to stay motivated to lose weight. Write down all your reasons, from the obvious to the not-so-obvious, and read them daily.

Ask yourself, “How will my life be different on a daily, yearly and long-term basis if I lose this weight? How much more will I accomplish? How much money will I save on doctors and medications? What can my family and I do with that money? How much better will I feel physically and emotionally?”

While starting off on a weight-loss journey can be invigorating, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Sometimes you have to reel in your enthusiasm enough to create a sustainable balance. Think long-term. The healthiest weight loss comes from a slow burn. One to two pounds per week is a good gauge. Those who lose weight at this pace are more likely to maintain their accomplishment.

Once you have realistic expectations, it’s time to set specific goals. It’s difficult to know how to stay motivated to lose weight if you don’t have a plan. “Exercise more…eat a heart-healthy diet…get enough sleep…buy organic for the ‘dirty dozen’…cut portion sizes…meditate….” Those generalizations are great when you’re looking at the big picture. But when you wake up in the morning, you need to know specifically what to do, right?

Having a proven plan for your nutrition, exercise and support will free up your mental energy to simply focus on executing the plan…and celebrating your successes. In the SprintSet Energizing Weight Loss System, a plan is created for you. And you have everything you need right at your fingertips — including support from experts and other people on their own journeys.

We work the program together. When the tough days hit (and they will), we are there to show you how to stay motivated to lose weight. We understand the emotional connection to food and the innate tendency to sabotage one’s own best interests. The SprintSet System is designed to help you embrace the journey so your emotions work for you, not against you.

We also celebrate together because celebrating the little successes is as important as celebrating the big ones when it comes to staying motivated. There is no “final outcome” because the objective is to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Finally, by focusing on the process and not just the outcome, you will be much more likely to stay in the game. Fifty pounds can seem a long way off at two pounds a week! Documenting your progress — your diet, exercise, measurements, weight, BMI, moods, energy — will deepen your connection to the journey. It will also give you something verifiable to look back on when you forget how far you have come.

If you have made the decision that it’s time to shift your habits toward health, congratulations! You are about to find out just how much you have to gain by losing weight!