It’s January and we all start the new year with health & fitness targets – work out more, be fitter, lose weight, eat healthier. These are all great things to aim for but you probably find they start to slip around week 3. What you need is some simple steps for achieving any goal because once your goal is set, it is far more attainable.
As yourself: Where do I want to get to? What is my immediate goal?
If you don’t have an answer then chances are your motivation is low, results are lacking and you’ll probably give up (if you haven’t already). Operating without a goal will get you nowhere. Sure, you may still be exercising regularly and eating ‘better’ but without a concrete, defined goal your efforts will yield little results. Here are some simple steps for achieving any goal.
Step 1: Setting your goal
The most common goal we hear is ‘I want to lose weight’. This goal is way too vague and shows any lack of commitment to achieve. You need to be specific. What, specifically, do you wish you had now that you don’t? Do you want to:
- Drop 2 dress sizes?
- Melt 4 inches from your waist?
- Be able to complete a 6k run without having to stop?
- Fit into your bikini for your summer holiday?
This is better: ‘I want to lose 2 stone.
Step 2: Define your timeline
Now that you’ve determined exactly what you want to achieve; tie it in with a specific timeline. When you have a timeline to measure your progress against, you’ll find that achieving your goal becomes easier as you become more focused and motivated.
- Drop 2 dress sizes by July for your holiday
- Melt 4 inches from your waist by August for a wedding
- Be able to run 6k without stopping by May for a charity 6k run
This is a time for honesty, self-reflection and precision. Your goal(s) needs to be SMART:
- Specific – what exactly do you want to achieve?
- Measurable – can you easily measure your progress?
- Achievable – is your goal realistic to you and your daily life?
- Relevant – is your goal relevant to you?
- Time Bound – give your goal a time limit
This is even better: ‘I want to lose 2 stone for my summer holiday at the beginning of July’.
Remember: people with specific SMART goals are far more likely to achieve them.
Step 3: Name your prize
It’s time to take your motivation to the next level. Now that your specific goal is set and your timeline is clearly defined, let’s add a prize. This can be anything but it is something that you’ll receive once you’ve accomplished your goal. This prize shouldn’t be anything related to your unhealthy habits – so no junk food or extra-large meals. Make the prize an item that will reinforce your weight loss achievements, like a new outfit for the August wedding.
- A new swimsuit for your July holiday
- A new outfit for your August wedding
- A new pair of running shoes for your May 6k run
Step 4: Picture it
You know what you want, when you want it by, and the reward you’ll get for achieving it. Now spend time picturing your end goal. Find a comfortable, quiet corner; close your eyes and see a mental movie – starring yourself – enjoying your reward after achieving results. Play your mental success movie several times throughout the day.
- See yourself on holiday lounging by the pool in your swimsuit
- See yourself enjoying the wedding, confident in your new outfit
- Imagine the feeling of accomplishment you’ll get as you cross the finish line
Step 5: Act as if…
This is a simple tool. Read out your goal and think to yourself:
- How would a person act who was already at my target?
- What things would they do differently to me?
- How did they achieve it and how would they maintain it?
Then you need to act like that person for the next 7 days and model yourself on them.
- How confident would they feel?
- How many meals would they eat?
- What would they compromise?
- How often would they train?
- Are they more active?
- How much would they drink?
- Are they happier about food choices?
- Do they enjoy the training for their results?
The mind is an amazing tool and by ‘acting as if‘ it will make the body catch up. There are thousands of books on psychology and positive thinking and they can’t all be wrong. Some of you might think this is a load of hippie rubbish but give this powerful tool a chance and you might just be surprised.