Goals can be set at any point in our lives. I am sure most of you have goals already. These could range from; I want 1 million dollars by age 55 to I want to learn how to plant a vegetable garden in the spring.
The wonderful thing about a goal is its ability to move us in the direction we want to move towards. Goals can be very personal because they are items, we want to have one day, or things we want to learn to make us a better person or things we want to do and places we want to go.
The downside of a goal is its ability to become overwhelming and just out of reach or a daydream, especially when our lives get busy, and we start to lose focus on the goal.
Have you had that happen? You have had a goal to lose 20 lbs. this year. You started off great, going to the gym 3 to 4x’s a week, and eating foods that are good for you. But then life started to get in the way, work deadlines started taking up your time, or kids school projects and sporting events, or unfortunately you had to suddenly start caring for your aging parents. Whatever life events may have come up and there are many that I didn’t mention, the fact is you become unfocused on that goal and then maybe it just spiraled into disappointment and then just moving it to next year or simply giving up.
And although there can be very real limitations that come up in your life. There can also be great opportunities to pivot your goals.
So, let’s work with an example of setting goals and ways to achieve those goals.
So instead of saying I want to lose 50 lbs. Give it some thought. Think about it. How are you going to do that? What is involved with losing weight? What can you physically do? What diet restrictions do you have? What medications are you on? All great questions you should ask yourself and discuss with your Dr. if needed.
Create a starting point “the beginning and create the end point” which is The Goal!
It is important to establish a timeline to complete the goal. If you don’t have a time frame, then it’s hard to stay focused and motivated. You just lose your way.
So now you know you want to lose 50 lbs. but realistically how long do you think it will take?
Let us say a year. Now you have your end point.
Now let us create the steps to get there.
So, think of a child's board game, like Candy Land where you roll the dice and move your piece along the trail that is linked to that end goal. Each roll of the dice is a small or large step in the direction of the larger goal. There are goodies to collect along the way, think of those as your small celebrations or (wins) and there will be roadblocks along the way. In these situations it is important to get your mindset ready for those roadblocks. You may have to take a detour that will make your trip longer. But the point is, you still move forward even if you must take two steps back.
Create habits to achieve the goal.
The importance of creating a habit helps us contribute to personal growth and can have a positive impact on our overall well-being. They also improve our self-discipline and help with productivity. Research shows that it can take anywhere from 21 -66 days or longer for a behavior to become automatic. So be patient with yourself.
So, ask yourself: What habits will you need to create to lose 50 lbs. in a year?
Do you need to start exercising?
How many days and for how long?
Do you need to change your Diet? What needs to change?
Do you need better sleep? This affects weight gain. What habits can you incorporate to get better sleep?
Are you stressed out? This affects weight gain. What things can you do to manage stress?
Please note that you can only change 2 things about yourself at one time so don’t try to do more than that. So, exercise and eating healthy create a synergy and make sense to do together.
CONSISTENCY IS KING!
To create a habit, you must be consistent. The more consistent you are, the stronger you build the habit. I am not saying you are going to come out of the gate and be consistent right away. That is the illusion we tell ourselves and when we fail after a week we tend to give up. Remember you have bad habits you need to break while forming the new good habits. You are going to hit roadblocks and have to detour a time or two. Think of the long game not the short game.
Work on your mindset:
Ask yourself what you will do when XYZ happens. Envision a positive outcome. Visualization is such a great tool to use for creating the future we want. Athletes use it, CEO’s use it and yes normal people use it too. Take some time in the morning before getting out of bed and visualize your day. See yourself exercising and enjoying it, see yourself eating healthily all day and you are enjoying it. It’s important to associate a feeling with visualization to cement it. You are rewiring your brain in doing this. Visualization is priming the brain for the actual event. You have basically already done the thing in your head. So, practice visualizing what you will do when offered the chocolate cake. You see yourself taking a long deep breath and exhaling, then remembering how you see yourself in the future and politely declining the cake. Sometimes it’s just not going to happen, and you eat the cake. I think in this case you just move forward and the next meal you eat is healthy. You can’t change the past, but you always have the future to claim.
Track your habits.
How much weight will you lose per week?
How many inches will you lose in one month?
How much weight will you lose in one month? And so on.
Tracking your habits helps reinforce that you are moving forward toward the bigger goal. So all the habits you created in step 1 can be measured by tracking them in step 2. Celebrate the smaller goals here. You deserve it. Celebrations could be that you buy yourself something nice. If you reward yourself with food or drink, make sure it’s not so much that it becomes a setback.
Create your why.
Why do you want to lose weight?
This step is especially important to keep up your motivation. I like to put pictures up around me for a visual effect because I am a visual person and I get motivated by seeing pictures of what I want.
What gets you motivated? Having an accountability group to workout with or report to? Pictures of yummy, good food? A picture of an outfit you want to wear. A reward you give yourself for achieving the goal. And remember to reward yourself with wins for the smaller goals you have achieved.
Write down your goals in a place where you will review them every day. Get a planner that you like. They have paper planners and digital planners available. The point is with the planner, that you use it and review it every day. Make a habit to review your goals at the same time each day. I personally review my goals in the morning to prepare for the day. I look at or create my to do list for the day and I look at the week ahead, the month ahead and the year. Doing this helps me stay the course and allows me to foresee if I need to make adjustments because maybe one goal is taking longer than I thought it would. Creating habits creates your future.
1. Create the habits that are required to achieve your goals
2. Be consistent in your habits
3. Create the mindset it takes to overcome setbacks
4. Track your habits
5. Celebrate your wins and have some fun in your journey
6. Create your Why
7. Write down your goals and review them every day
Hopefully, there were some tips here that you will want to try out. See if they work for you and know that you can tweak any of these to fit what works for you best.
You know yourself better than anyone and you know deep down what it will take to achieve the goal.
You got this.
Get creative and make it happen.
If you liked this blog and want to really dive into your goal setting for 2024, I am offering a free goal setting class on January 27, 2024, at 10am. If you are local, you can attend at the studio. If not, it will be offered on-line. Just go to my website and sign up under the classes tab.