Everyone needs goals but very few people know how to create and track their goals. Setting a goal isn’t enough; any goal you set must be a realistic goal. You could set a goal such as, “I will lose 20 pounds this week.” This goal might be achievable for very few people but for most of us it is completely unrealistic. A much more realistic goal would be “This week I will lose 3 pounds.” This goal is realistic because with small and manageable changes this goal can be achieved. You will find that success comes faster and easier if you set “smaller” goals that are more realistic. You will experience success because as you achieve each smaller realistic weight loss goal your confidence will build and you will feel a momentum starting in your life.
Setting realistic weight loss goals will help you clearly see your priorities. The result of understanding and focusing on your goals is that you will know exactly what you must do to make today a success. You will know that a doughnut is not more important than achieving your goal. You will know that a “super sized” lunch will not move you towards your goal. By setting realistic weight loss goals your priorities will be very clear and although “temptations” are in view you will have the focus and strength to just walk past.
Your realistic goals will become the driving force in your life and you will feel them propelling you towards your new future.
Realistic goals are powerful and they become more powerful when you repeat them to yourself and even more powerful when you write them down. It only takes a few seconds every day to review your goals but the results are life changing. The reason your realistic goals become more powerful is that the idea behind the goal becomes stronger and more intense the more you read it.
When you are in doubt and feel stressed or anxious remember the following six “BE’s”:
Be Realistic: Set goals that you can achieve. Don’t set yourself up for failure by telling yourself you will lose 20 pounds in one week. Set goals that are realistic, attainable, and sustainable. DO NOT fall into the trap of trying to lose a lot of weight very quickly. The rule of “lose the weight slow to keep the weight off” is very true. A realistic goal to start with is to lose 1 – 3 pounds a week. You need to allow yourself and your body the time to adjust to your new eating patterns, lifestyle and exercise level. If you think of losing weight and dieting as a long-term lifestyle you will not feel the pressure or stress of having to lose weight quickly. When you set realistic weight loss goals you will find that success comes faster and as a result your confidence will grow.
Be Positive: Have you ever stopped and listened to what you say to yourself? Just as an experiment, write down every conversation you have with yourself today. At the end of the day read what you have written down. If you are like most people the majority of comments will be negative. To be successful at weight loss you must change these conversations. Make all your conversations positive, encourage yourself, motivate yourself, praise yourself and accept yourself. In this process you need to become your own best friend. It will take a few days but slowly you will see and feel the difference.
Be Persistent: Set your goals, write your goals down, review your goals every day and track your progress every day. When you feel yourself starting to drift away from your goals pull yourself back and review your goals. No one is perfect, you won’t always do everything right but never ever give up on yourself. Every day make it your goal to do something that moves you closer to your weight loss goals. If you do you will see great results.
Be Understanding: You are going to have bad days, you are human and everyone has them. DO NOT let a bad day derail your progress. See a bad day for what it is, a bad day and not the end of the world. Realize that you are in the middle of a process that requires discipline, focus and compassion. Every once in a while you just have to cut yourself some slack and let yourself be human. Tomorrow, get right back into the routine and begin again to move towards your goals.
Be Energetic: Yup, you have to move. I am not talking about training for the Decathlon all you need to do is increase your activity level. Try walking for 30 minutes a day. You will find that just the act of physical motion will help you concentrate and focus on your goals.
Be Focused: No matter what is going on in your life or around you DO NOT lose sight of your goals. We live in a world where we are bombarded with images of thin “beautiful” people. We are constantly comparing ourselves to the “ideal” body”, the “look” of the season, and the idealized life the “beautiful” people are supposed to have. That isn’t real life. What you do every day is all that matters and don’t let an advertising agency tell you that you are worthless if you are not a size 2. Set your goals, write them down, track your progress and move forward with confidence.
To summarize, every day identify the goal you want to achieve. Think about everything you must do to achieve that goal, write down every action, and think about every step you must take and every thought you must have to move you from where you are this morning to where you want to be at the end of the day. Remember, this is not a contest, it is not a race, it is however a process, a journey, and a realignment of priorities. Take each day as it comes, focus on what needs to be done today and before you realize it you will have achieved many goals and you will be on your way to achieving many more. Have the courage to take that first step and never look back.