Goals help drive us, motivate us and give us the focus and determination we need to succeed. So why do so many people neglect the goal setting process before starting a new diet or fitness program?
When you make a lifestyle change it’s all too easy to focus on the ‘how’. Unfortunately, the name of your diet, or the fitness program you want to start aren’t going to motivate you when the going gets tough – for that you need a clearly defined, inspiring goal.
How to Set the Right Goals
If you are about to start a new diet or fitness regime, or even if you’ve already begun, sit down with a piece of paper and give some serious thought to your goal. Now, I’m willing to bet that the first thing you want to write is ‘I want to lose weight’. While this is a good start, this isn’t a good enough goal.
For a goal to function and play a motivating role it needs to be SMART. That is: Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic and Time Limited.
So, ‘I want to lose weight’ falls at the first hurdle. It’s just not specific enough to offer any real motivation. Something like ‘I want to lose 10kg in 2 months’ is a much clearer, far more practical goal. It’s specific, measurable, promotes action, is realistic and limited by a very definite deadline.
If you are serious about achieving your goal, you shouldn’t just leave it there. Prepare for success. Why not create a spreadsheet to track your progress? You could even use a specific social event to aim for. This can often give you the extra pressure, focus and motivation you need to succeed.
Another very useful technique is to use a number of different goals which compliment each other and help you move closer to your ultimate goal. If your goal is to ‘lose 10kg in 2 months‘ you might also set yourself the challenge of running 10k by a certain date. These two goals will perfectly compliment each other. As you get lighter and fitter you will be able to run further and running more will help you lose weight quicker! With two goals which you are slowly working towards, your motivation will double!
Effective goal setting is a skill that will help you in anything from learning a new language to running a marathon and is particularly useful if you are trying to lose weight or get fitter.
Unfortunately, it’s a task which most people overlook.
Why not do it now? Sit down with a piece of paper and give some thought to your goals. You never know, it could be the key to success!
Victoria Wills is one of the UK’s foremost weight loss experts. She is also the owner and founder of NuBeginnings, a boutique health, wellbeing and weight loss retreat with centers in the UK and France.