Goal-Setting Leads to Faster Weight loss

Ask yourself, “would you take a road trip without mapping out a plan”?  Probably not.  When mapping out your road trip, what’s the most important thing to consider?  Your destination, of course, where are you going?  Starting a journey without a destination in mind could leave you wandering around aimless, not really getting anywhere.  Most people, however, use common sense when planning trips, events, holidays, etc., in order to ensure a desirable outcome.  Then why is it that, when it comes to our health, well-being, fitness, and exercise, we don’t apply the same prudent approach as we do when planning other important things in our lives?  Why is common sense not so common when it comes to good nutrition and exercise?  Many a times, we may have the right intentions, but somehow end up side-tracked and going against what we know to be common sense.  Why does this happen?  The answer is plain and simple – lack of focus.

Are You Fuzzy or Focused?

It has been said that successful people are successful because they are very clear about their values.    Unsuccessful people are fuzzy or unsure.  Complete failures have no real values at all.

What’s Important to You? – What do you value?

You must begin by determining what’s important to you.  Do you value your health?  Is your future well-being and quality of life important to you?  Do you value yourself enough to make healthy lifestyle habits a priority?  These are big questions that must be addressed before you can move forward to devise a plan.

Set SMART Goals

Most of us have, at some point, made resolutions to eat better, exercise more, or lose weight.  But what happens to these resolutions as time goes on?  They usually fizzle out.  Life gets in the way, and for whatever reason, our resolution fades into the background and is no longer in the forefront of our mind.

Resolutions are often just wishful thinking, and until you put it in writing, it is simply a pipe-dream. Writing out your goal makes it concrete, now it becomes a commitment, and now it can act like a map, guiding you to your destination.  Goals are not difficult to set, however, effective goal-setting involves some thinking and planning.  The most effective type of goals are SMART goals.

SMART goals are written out so they can be reviewed regularly, and thus, are less likely to be forgotten or neglected.  To turn a simple resolution into a SMART goal, you must make it:

  • Specific – State in detail exactly what you want.
  • Measurable – You must be able to measure your goal in some way in order to know when you’ve achieved it.  State specific quantity, time-frame, cost, etc., anything that can be measured.
  • Attainable – What are you willing to do to achieve your goal?  Goal must be within your control, in other words, you must be in control of whether it can be achieved or not.  The achievement of your goal should not be dependent on external factors.  By setting a goal outside your control, you are setting yourself up for failure.
  • Relevant – You must ask yourself, “Can I do this?”  If there is any doubt in your mind that you may not be able to achieve your goal, then you probably won’t put in the required effort.  A goal is unrealistic or irrelevant unless you’re confident about achieving it and are willing to give it your 100% effort.
  • Time-bound – Set a deadline for achieving your goal.  This gives you a target and creates a sense of urgency.

What is an example of a SMART goal?

Not a SMART goal:  I want to lose some weight.

SMART goal:

  • Specific:  I want to lose 20 lbs.
  • Measurable:  Weekly weigh in and recording body measurements.
  • Attainable:  Eliminating fast food and eating more veggies; exercising 30 minutes, 3-4 times per week, reducing caloric intake and increasing physical activity
  • Relevant:  Losing 1-2 lbs per week
  • Time-bound:  target can be reached in 15 weeks

Achieving success is not necessarily difficult, but not easy either.  It requires discipline, focus and a clear idea of what you want to accomplish.  Simply stating, ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to be fit’ is not good enough.  If it really were that simple, then we would already have everything we want.  Whatever your goals are, plan them out thoroughly by writing them down, and review them every single day.  This will bring focus and clarity.  Clarity is the key to success.  The clearer you are about what you really want, the more successful you will be.

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Weekly fitTip: Keep Veggies Cut-up and Ready to go

Keep a selection of cut-up veggies in a see-through container in the refrigerator.  This requires a little prep work, but it takes the guess-work out of snacking.  As soon as you open the fridge door, the first thing you’ll see are the “easy to grab” veggies.

You can do the same thing for when you’re on the go.  Keep a small container or Ziploc bag of cut-up veggies in your purse, briefcase, or desk for a healthy snack anytime.  Veggies are full or vitamins, nutrients, and fiber and contain minimal calories, so there’s no harm in over-indulging, it’s all good!

By replacing a few of your usual snacks with veggies, you can shave off hundreds of calories a day!  Combine this with a consistent workout routine, and you’re on your way to seeing some real results!  Give it a try, you’ll be amazed at how easy eating healthier can be with just a little preparation.

Get Motivated!

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” ~ Zig Ziglar

It’s going to happen!  You might as well be ready for it!

Most people struggle with their motivation when it’s regarding exercise or eating healthier.  There may be times when your motivation will seem as far-fetched as six-pack abs.  This is completely normal and anyone striving to make lifestyle changes should have a coping strategy in place  to deal with this situation when it arises.

The key to gaining better control and mastering your motivation is to understand what motivates you.

Our natural instincts move us towards pleasure and away from pain. It’s that simple.

By human nature, we will do more to avoid pain. It’s a fact that most people react rather than act, meaning, they first need a wake-up call or some sort of “pain” (ex:  heart attack, diabetes, etc.) before moving into action.

Motivational experts skillfully associate pain and pleasure and use them in behavior modification.  Whether it’s the words they use, the thoughts they think, the images they visualize, or the actions they take … they stack up pain deliberately to discourage undesirable behaviors, and they promote pleasure to encourage new desirable behaviors, or to reinforce good habits.

Here are 8 Strategies you can use to keep yourself motivated and on the track to getting real results.

1. Find Your Reasons Why

You need to figure out a compelling purpose.  For example, if your goal is to lose 25 lbs, you need to identify WHY that’s important to you.  Is it to feel sexier for your spouse, fit into that old pair jeans, or feel more confident?  Once you identify your initial reason, keep asking “why?” to dig deeper and finally come up with true reason that will motivate you!

2. Connect to Your Core Values

This is the ultimate secret. If you can connect the process (ex. exercise and eat healthier) to your core values, even in small ways, you can change your game.  For instance, some core values might include freedom, happiness, love, connection, family, or growth.  Figure out what matters most to you and work from there.

3. Change Your Mindset

You can instantly find more enjoyment in exercising by shifting your mindset from “having to workout” to “getting to workout”.  Often, people say, “I’ve got to workout!”.  This phrase leaves the person feeling compelled and thus less empowered.  Instead, consider adopting the phrase, “I get to workout!”.  Now, all of a sudden, this puts the person in a state of gratitude instead of obligation. Big difference!

4. Find your Happy Place

Remember how good it feels after you’ve had a great workout session or you’ve eaten a healthy meal.  Find a way to anchor that feeling within yourself so that anytime the going gets tough, you can easily revert back to your “happy place” to remind yourself why you do this.

5. Use Reference Points From Past Successes

Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed or unsure of your ability to achieve a good workout or prepare a healthy meal.  However, if you can think back to similar situations in the past where you were successful, then you can realize that it’s possible to do again. For example, if you were once able to do 12 push ups in a row, then draw from that experience and reassure yourself that you can or will be able to do it again.

6. Find a Visual Reminder

A visual tool such as a photograph or a piece of clothing can serve as a reminder of your weight-loss goals and your progress.  Find something that reminds you of why you began this journey and put it somewhere you can see it everyday.  This visual reminder can be a motivational phrase written on a piece of paper, a magazine photo of your ideal body, a photo of yourself when you were in better shape, a bikini or dress or pair of jeans you’d like to eventually fit into.  Whatever you choose, the important thing to keep in mind is that this visual tool must be realistic.  When the going gets tough, use this tool to pull yourself back on track.

7. The Buddy System

Pair up with someone who shares similar fitness goals as you and together, you can support and help each other through the rough spots. This is one of the greatest advantages of partner-training.  Training with a friend can take your workouts to a whole new level and save you both $$.

8. Take Action and Reward Yourself

Here’s a secret that once you know it and apply it, can change your life.

Action comes before motivation.

Instead of waiting to feel motivated to get started, go ahead and take action, the motivation will follow, especially if you have a reward waiting yourself.  You might not always look forward to your workouts and I’m sure there are a zillion excuses you could make for skipping out, but if you can push aside those negative thoughts and just get started, not only will you feel great about getting your workout done, but you’ll feel empowered and more confident for not giving in.  Once your workout is done, reward yourself with something that makes you feel good – and preferably not a piece of chocolate cake!

Try these Motivation Strategies and see how  they can empower you to take action and stick to it!  And remember, take it one day at a time.  Good Luck!

“Success is in the sum of small efforts repeated day in & day out” ~ Robert Collier

Exercise fitTip: Consistency is Key

Whether you workout 3 days a week, or 6 days a week, the important thing is to keep it consistent.  Consistency is to keep the momentum going, keep plugging away at your routine diligently because eventually you will reach that pinnacle where the “magic” happens.  That’s the point when you will start to see real results taking shape!  Without consistency, you will never reach that pinnacle.  Breaking the routine can set you back further and make it difficult to get back on track.

Consistency creates habits.  Habits make the difference between success or failure.  Habits can be positive or negative.  Did you know that “quitting” or “slacking” is a habit?  Every time you slack off or make excuses, you are creating a habit that sends a message to your subconscious that you are helpless and this could potentially damage your self-esteem.  When we quit or slack, we usually don’t feel good about it or about ourselves.  On the other hand, if you take action every time you feel like quitting, you will gain confidence and feel stronger.  This strength will help you to remain consistent.

Life happens and sometimes, the routine demands of life will overload you, or unexpected events will blow in from nowhere and threaten to drive you off track.  When such things happen, confront the urge to give up.  There may be times, you’ll be tempted to rationalize, “Well, I’ll quit for now, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow or next week”.  Don’t do it!  Instead, take immediate action by plugging away toward your goals before the temptation to quit gets too strong.

The person who takes action every single day toward the attainment of their goal will always triumph over those who do it every once in a while.