Good morning peeps! This is going to be a great year… I just know it!
I’ve been reading a lot of posts on Facebook and around the interwebs dedicated to new years resolutions and weight loss is the number one goal of most folks. I’ve seen a lot of friends go through the ups and downs of dieting and I’ve participated in weight loss programs myself so I wanted to take this time to talk a little bit about not just a short-term plan for weight loss but the changing of a lifestyle. The number one thing I see as I watch people (and myself) fail is not addressing the motivation behind the goal. It took me a long time to really understand that our lifestyle impacts our goals and until we address our motivation and expectations we will never reach success for the long-term. So, I decided to approach the subject of success with a helpful guideline I use pretty regularly. I’m not a professional by any means and I’ve certainly had my share of struggles… but overall I try to stay focused on my goals and give all my best to my maker. He is the one who provides me with the talent I need and the drive I have. To quote the awesome Gabby Douglas, “God has given me this awesome talent to represent Him. Glory goes up to Him, and the blessings fall down on us.” Without further adieu I’m sharing with you what I feel are the keys to success. Take from it what you will. I hope that this list inspires you to reach your goals.
Set yourself up for success with these easy to follow steps:
The first step is to START at the beginning (a very good place to start). This may sound over simplified but think about it… in order to reach our goals we must move toward them. Think about where you’ve come from and what direction you are heading. Are you heading down the right path to help you reach your goal? Do you need to change course? Really delve deep into your motivation for change and what you can do this very moment to set your goals into motion. Make that first step by writing down your thoughts and then making them a reality.
The second step is to UNDERSTAND your thoughts and motivation and use that to your advantage. Why do you want to achieve these goals? What is your motivation and where can you find inspiration? Are you looking to become a healthier you? Are you trying to impress someone? Discover what is true motivation and what is superficial motivation. Trying to impress others will never lead to success. Your goal should be to make the change for yourself. Understand what it means to make this change and the level of commitment needed. Take time to fully realize not only your sources of motivation and inspiration but your potential hurdles and things that may stand in the way of your goals. What do you need to do to make room for some changes in your life? Change is the process of becoming different. Isn’t that what we ultimately desire? To be different? To be a better version of ourselves? Understanding what motivates us to change is what will ultimately help us accomplish our goals.
Third, take some time to CONCENTRATE on your end goal and work your way backward. If learning a new language is your new goal (like mine) you need to figure out how to make that goal attainable. What do you need to make this goal a reality? I discovered that I needed to pursue the purchase of language course software to better motivate me to reach my end goal therefore we looked at our budget and worked on a way to make it possible. If you are wanting to get fit in the new year then take some time to go over your budget and decide if a gym membership and/or personal trainer is what would most help you achieve your end results. If you want to lose few pounds really examine what it is you eat on a daily basis. Keep a food diary for a bit at the beginning. Really examine your lifestyle and what changes can be made. Bringing your lunch to work each day is an easy (and cheap!) way to help you achieve your health goal. When you take time to really evaluate your goals and how to attain them you are setting yourself up for success.
Your fourth step is to have COURAGE when you are faced with difficulties. When we undergo change we are faced with many obstacles and our impulses can get us into serious trouble. When faced with a tough decision it is always best to take a step back and reassess from a different perspective. I like to use the 10 second rule when facing difficult situations. I slowly count backwards and take a deep breath. This helps me to focus on what is ultimately important and not something superficially standing in my way. Even when I’m faced with something like road rage I use this technique to help reset my frustration and give me a reality check. When you go to reach for that slice of cake at the party take a moment to analyze your motivation. Is this going to help or hinder your end result? Are you making a smart choice? It’s okay to indulge once in a while but balance is key. Sometimes just taking a deep breath will help us find the strength we need to keep moving forward. Courage is strength in the face of difficulty. Remember that you are your best champion! Sometimes we lack the fortitude to press on and when this happens we need to build ourselves up and have the courage to conquer our fears. Achieving success is more than just going through the motions. Sometimes it is about taking a leap of faith.
Fifth, you should take time to ENERGIZE both your mind and your body. Endorphins make us happy! Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression. Endorphins are released when we exercise (they’re also released when we orgasm) so take advantage of this natural high and get moving. The more we move the better we feel. Not only will our health benefit from regular exercise but so will our mind. I like to try and run on the treadmill after work a few times a week to some of my favorite music. Some days it takes everything I’ve got to get my but to the gym but once I’m there, and especially when I’m finished with my workout, I feel like I could accomplish anything. The most important thing to remember is if you fall down, it’s not over, you just need to pick yourself back up. Mistakes happen. We all have an occasional lapse in judgment or something that takes over our time temporarily. For example: I took off two months of running between the wedding and holiday craziness. Does that mean I’m giving up? Hell no! I’m getting right back on that horse and achieving my long-term goal of health and happiness. In addition to trying to exercise my body I also try and exercise my mind whenever possible. I read an article that gives tips or tricks for the task I want to accomplish. I research whatever goal I’ve set and help arm myself with the tools necessary. Some times I take time to do a puzzle that pushes my intellectual boundaries. Life is not meant to be just lived but to be experienced!
The sixth step is to SIMPLIFY your daily life and activities. Are you finding your goals unattainable because you just can’t find the time to make them happen? Incorporate your kids into your exercise routine. Take them with you outside for a walk around the neighborhood or find a gym that offers daycare. You’ve heard the phrase “when mom’s on a diet the whole family is on a diet” well take that and make it reality. Diet is defined as the sum of food consumed by a person and does not have anything to do with limiting calories. Remember, to change your food habits you must change your lifestyle. I love the concept behind the new Weight Watchers 360 program. The goal should not be to starve yourself temporarily only to regain all the weight later. Our goal should be to truly adapt our lifestyle to one of health and happiness with the enjoyment of special treats as they were designed to be enjoyed once in a while not every day. Look at your schedule. Are you packing in more than you need? Reevaluate your daily activities to make time for yourself and your goals. Simplify your life to focus on what’s most important.
Finally, we reach SELF-AWARENESS. Our final goal to obtain success is to be self-aware. This is the capacity for introspection and the ability to reconcile oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals. Everything we do must be for our own benefit and not for the benefit of others. Yes, quitting smoking is something that will benefit those around you (most importantly your children) but the motivation must lie within or you will never truly be successful. It is much too easy to fall back into bad habits when the source of motivation lies externally. My goal to improve my Spanish language skills must be for my own benefit and not because it is something Craig desires otherwise I will find myself lacking the motivation to continue when the going gets rough. My desire to be trim and healthy must be my own and not a desire to impress my husband. Although I enjoy making Craig happy the goal of being happy and healthy is something that I must own so I can continue to be my own source of inspiration. Working out not only allows my husband to find me more attractive but allows me to have a long happy life with him. Self-awareness can help us identify our strengths and our opportunities for growth. One must become aware of their sense of self and identify their true motivation for success.
Once the goals are set in motion these steps will surely help to achieve the end result. Don’t forget that in order to be successful you must be sure that you are setting “smart” goals and not goals that are unrealistic. Setting a goal to win the lottery is foolish. No matter how you play the odds are never in your favor. Being specific about your desired result, making sure to track your progress, setting realistic goals that are achievable, and deciding on an appropriate time-frame will ensure that you are headed in the right direction.
SMART / SMARTER is a mnemonic to guide people when they set objectives, often called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), for example for project management, employee performance management and personal development. The letters broadly conform to the words Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive with the addition of the words Evaluate and Reevaluate used in more recent literature. The first known uses of the term occur in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.
When we make smart choices we are on the right path to success! What are your goals for the new year? What are your goals for the next 5 years? 10 years? Do you believe you can be SUCCESS-ful? Remember success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. What are you aiming to accomplish? Please leave a comment and share with us your goals. Maybe someone has already done something you’re looking to do and they can offer up some advice. Maybe you are worried that you won’t be able to finish the task you’ve set for yourself. Maybe you just completed a big goal and want to share your strategies. Let us work together as a TEAM (together everyone achieves more).
I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed physician. My advice is my own. Please consult with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.