“I want to lose weight” or “I need to lose about 50 lbs” are common lines that I hear often. In our fast-paced, fix-it quick society, we want a answer right away or a solution right away. And why – oh why – is it SO hard to lose 5-10 lbs, but SO easy to gain 5-10 lbs? Literally, you can gain 5-10 lbs. in a weekend, but how long will it take you to take it off? It’s so frustrating. The weight-loss battle.
I work every day with women who are in this battle. I teach them how to workout with weights, how to have an effective cardio workout and most of all, how to incorporate a nutrition plan into their daily life. And then come the goals. Setting goals is so important, not only when it comes to weight loss, but in every aspect of your life. Some people set goals for work. Some people set goals for their children. But do you set goals for your healthy lifestyle? And please don’t confuse a log for goals, like a workout log or a nutrition log. I’m not talking about tracking your progress, even your weight loss progress. I’m talking about looking into the future and setting and reaching goals for your health.
I am a huge goal-setter. I love setting goals! Even more, I love achieving goals! Goals can motivate you. Goals can keep you on-track. Goals can make you feel like you’re getting something done. So how do you set goals?
First things first, what do you want to accomplish in your health life? Are you a competitive person? Do you need to lose weight? If so, how much? Goals when it comes to health and fitness can be about a certain number – weight, bodyfat %, clothing size. Goals can also be about a competition – a race in running, biking or other sport. Goals can also be more general and can involve others – helping your family eat healthy, helping an obese child to lose weight, trying a new sport. Write it down! Or as I tell my clients WRITE the desires of your heart. What you truly want to do or see your body doing.
Once you know your goal, then set ways to accomplish that goal, including a timeframe and help needed. If you want to lose 10 lbs, and you know a healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs a week, then you would set your time frame at 6-10 weeks. If you want to run a race in 12 weeks, then write down the dates and set your time frame at 12 weeks. If you want to improve the health of your family, also set a timeframe which could include trying something new each week for the next two months.
NAME your goal. When I sit down to write my goals and how I am going to reach them, I take notes and really think about what I want to accomplish. Once I get a timeframe, then I name that goal. It could be something straight forward or something silly. It could be something clever. For example, I usually have a period of time in the Spring, a 8-10 week program that I always call “Beach Body”. That’s the name of my goal program. My goal is to be beach ready by June, so I know to start in April and I use that name to keep me motivated. Another goal I had was in July-August. I had an event in mid-August where I was going to be meeting a mentor of mine, Dr. Jack Barnathan, and I wanted to be sure I was in tip-top shape, so I called it “Meet Dr. Jack”, or MDJ for short. When there was a chance of me slipping during that time, I always had “MDJ” in the back of my mind. It kept me going when I wanted ice cream or when I didn’t want to workout. MDJ. It kept me motivated. Name your goal and use that name. Look at it every day so you know what your goal is and you do what is necessary to make it.
Finally, celebrate your accomplishments. That’s the fun part. I am a competitive person and I love to race, so when I finish a race, whether running or triathlon, I celebrate with my family. My favorite thing to do is have a bison burger from Ted’s and then go to Coldstone’s for dessert – chocolate devotion of course. Allow for a celebration, then take a break, not a long one, but a break from routine which can be a few days or a week. Giving you time to recover, breathe and think about what you want to do next.
Setting goals is a great way to get your weight loss dreams accomplished. It’s a great way to make progress, when you feel like you are stuck. It’s a great way to motivate you to take action and keep taking action until you get it done. What are your goals? And what are you going to do about them?