When we think about fat loss, we typically think about a number: “I want to wear a size 6” or “I want to weigh 130 lbs” or “I want to lose 5% body fat.” These are all well and great, but many times having exact number that we are aiming for can leave us frustrated and disappointed when we don’t reach them fast enough or maybe even at all. So should we even bother with a goal?
Of course! But think about doing it in a way that actually means something. Wearing a size 6 is fine, but if you are still not satisfied when you reach it, then what is the point? Isn’t the point to feel healthy and HAPPY? The satisfied person who has 30 lbs to lose will always be happier than the leanest person who is still disappointed.
So, why have a goal and how do you go about setting one?
1) Think about the END RESULT that you want. Begin with the end in mind. When you say, “I want to weigh 120 lbs,” that really doesn’t mean anything by itself. It’s what “120 lbs” represents to you. Does it represent happiness? Or satisfaction? Or self-worth? We could argue that you can be happy, satisfied or worthy at any weight, no? So think about what the ultimate goal is. It’s not 120 lbs, it’s what 120 lbs means. And the goal should be working on THAT.
2) People on a journey towards something bigger are happier. Plucked directly from the world of positive psychology, the act of focusing on a project, goal or journey makes us feel fulfilled. The attainment of the goal is a bonus. But research shows that the journey is what’s most rewarding to people. This is why many who are preparing for a show feel a sense of control and wellbeing. It is the path and focus, not necessarily the attainment.
3) Goals are great, but not if they are moving you in the WRONG direction. To choose a goal just for the sake of having one is not ideal. For example, if you are currently thinking of going back to school to get a graduate simply because you think you should, and it is not in an area of study about which you are passionate, then the goal means very little. Goals need to be in line with your higher purpose and passion. “You can row faster and faster, but if you are going in the wrong direction, it simply takes you further away from your goal faster.” Take time to truly understand the WHY behind your efforts.
4) Break goals down so they are not so overwhelming. This is basic—say, for example you want to lose 50 lbs. Resist the urge to attempt to tackle every new behavior all at once—it will ultimately lead to frustration and failure. In order to make a BIG change, you need to make small changes first. The biggest achievements aren’t attained through a single all-encompassing massive action. They are attained through small steps taken consistently over time. Choose ONE single behavior to begin now, and practice it daily until it takes little mental effort (usually 2-6 weeks). Then start on the next behavior.
5) Don’t wait. Time will never be “just right.” Waiting for the right time is a crutch. A façade. Something you made up to stall yourself from having to take action. Talking about starting is so much more exciting than actually doing. Yet, it gets us nowhere. But remember, the bottom line is this: with even the smallest step, you are now in motion—and lapping everyone who is still on the couch. Stop waiting, start doing.
6) Once you start on your journey, stay flexible. A goal is only worthy if it remains in line with your passion. If you set a goal a year ago, reevaluate to ascertain if you are in the same headspace now. Allow your goals to grow, change and morph along with your abilities, insights and interests. Just because you need to adjust does not mean you give up! Commitment is forever, even if the direction changes.
So…what are you waiting for? READY…FIRE…AIM! :) Good luck! ox Jill