Have you ever had the experience of setting a goal one year, only to be setting the same goal the next? Do you feel like you have trouble staying on track and end up giving up?
This is a common problem, particularly with health goals (and weight loss in particular). If I had the magic answer to the reason
The steps below are what the successful goal achievers have nailed down. If you implement these tips you will vastly increase your chances of achieving what you’ve set out to, even if you have failed in the past.
Know Your Why
This is a very important part of the work. However, it is the step that is most often skipped or not even considered.
You might want to lose weight, but it’s more important to know the reason why. Because once the excitement of a new program wears off and your willpower is gone, you’re going to need more than just a wish. Did you know that you can use up your willpower checking emails? Great!
As part of this process, you will need to dig deeper than just answering why you wish to lose weight. You will need to ask why to your answer and then why to that answer and so on until you have dug down deep to the real reason. Once you have your “why” nailed, this answer is what will give you the energy you need to persevere when it gets challenging.
Use SMART goals
There are various definitions of the term “SMART” goal, but a good one includes:
I have found that the more specific you are about the change you want, how you will measure your success and by what date you want it completed, the better. Setting your goal in this way provides you with a framework to break it up into daily tasks over a specific time period.
This type of structured task framework is freeing since you don’t have to debate what to do or make choices. All of these decision-making activities cause a drain in willpower too. When you eliminate any decision making, you can then just follow your own plan without thinking about it (i.e. by habit).
Only set goals that you believe you can achieve. Sounds simple right?
However, if you are setting the same weight loss or lifestyle goal that you have in the past, you’re not as likely to believe that you will be successful this time. If you have failed once, it’s very hard to believe that things will be different this time.
In this case, it’s important to try achieving it using a different method. If just telling yourself that you will hit the gym every morning or avoid refined sugar didn’t work last time, it’s not going to work this time either. You need to make a shift in your methods. Although this shift might not have to be as dramatic as you think.
It might mean that you need to:
- Get yourself an accountability partner or coach
- Hack your habits (i.e. sleep in your gym clothes so you are more likely to go when you wake up!)
- Set a smaller goal (see baby steps below)
This tip goes back to making sure your goal is attainable. Or rather, that you believe it is, which is all that matters. The simpler and smaller the goal, the more you will believe that you can do it. For example, you might not believe that you can completely give up sugar, but you could probably give up sugary soft drinks.
That second goal is simpler, more realistic and very specific making it more likely that you will succeed.
Trying something out for a limited duration to test it out can also be helpful. It can give you a kick start and help you decide where you want to take your goal from there.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting drastic sweeping change to happen easily. Habit change is hard and is only sustainable if you integrate the changes into your current lifestyle. And there is incredible power in small incremental changes done consistently over time.
Book a free call with me here to discuss your goals and determine if we are a good fit to work together to help you achieve them.