No journey can begin without a destination! Most people fail to get and stay motivated for weight loss because they are not clear about where they are going. The same applies to all other aspects of your life.  Goals are critical to your motivation. Once you have goals you can then make a step by step plan of action. You also have something to measure yourself against to see how you are doing.

A lot of people set goals incorrectly and this can easily lead to failure. A good goal must pass at least 3 tests – it must be specific, realistic and have a deadline. ‘Specific’ means that you state exactly what you are looking for in clear number detail. ‘Realistic’ means assessing whether you are allowing enough time to achieve the goals given your work and family commitments. A ‘Deadline’ of course means setting a date by which you will achieve the goal.

What do you want to achieve? Where are you going? If you could flick a switch and get your wish, what weight loss would you wish for? Where would you like to be more toned?

Bad goal – I want to lose weight this year – this is too vague and leads to failure. You cannot measure your success or break the goal down into little steps. Good goal – I want to lose 2 stone and 2 sizes and get my waist to 32 inches within 20 weeks from today. Here you have stated exactly what you want even specifying size and waist targets. Given the timescale it sounds realistic and you have an exact finish time.

Bad goal – I want to tone up! Good goal – In the next 12 weeks, I want to tone my lower stomach my waist by 2 inches, I want to tone the back of my arms and reduce them by 1 inch and I want to get 2 inches off each thigh – this is very specific, is realistic in 12 weeks and gives you a deadline.

So stop and think for a while and write out what your goal is, check that it is realistic but still challenging and give yourself a deadline. Then work backwards and break your goal into steps and give yourself a goal for the end of every month that will lead to this overall goal being achieved.

The next step then is to write out the tasks you will have to do on a weekly or daily basis in order to achieve your goal. You may realise that you will need to get help or advice with some of the tasks or to learn a little bit more yourself, however that is the very value in writing goals in the first place, it helps to clearly identify the steps that will finally make your successful.

Next Issue: ‘Breakthroughs’ – how the ‘thought’ of doing the task is nearly always worse than actually doing the ‘task’! Realising this and acting on it can lead to endless motivation!

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