How many times have you started off the new year with a list of resolutions in hand, which you then quickly abandoned after a few weeks?
Well, you are not the only one. We love to dream about what we want to accomplish, and we oftentimes get so excited that we want it all, without taking into consideration the time and effort required to make these objectives a reality.
Characteristics of a goal
In the entrepreneurial world, goals are often referred to as “SMART”:
Personally, I believe that such concept can be applied to any goal that we want to reach in our lives.
Having a “SMART” objective means defining a specific goal which can be measured, is attainable and relevant to your life, and that has a time limit to be reached by.
If, for example, you would like to lose some weight, it is not enough that on January 1st you say to yourself: “tomorrow I will start going to the gym to get in shape and I will lose 30 kilos in a month.”
It is highly probable that you’ll stop going to the gym within two weeks just because you’ll notice that after two weeks you haven’t been able to lose at least one kilo.
Following this same example, it is much more likely that you’ll be able to reach your objectives if you approach them in the following way:
- My goal is to be able to wear those jeans I left in the back of the closet for when I was skinny enough to wear them.
- My goal is to lose 10 kilos, 4 cm from the waist, 3 cm from the hips, and 1 cm from the arms and legs.
- My goal is not to lose 1,5 kilos per month
- My goal is relevant to my well-being and important so that I can feel at ease with my body
- I will reach my goal within 7 months, starting today.
Defining these 5 points is definitely fundamental to a successful start, but I also quickly realized that something else was needed.
What else do you need to reach your goal
1. Believe in your goal and speak positively.
If we continue referring to the above example of wanting to lose weight, speaking positively means not looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking “Man, look at all those love handles… I won’t ever be able to reach my goal.”
Since I began training, I also developed the habit of talking to my love handles.
Yep, you read right. I often tell them that I love them, but that we will have to say goodbye because by my 40th birthday, they will have to have had abandoned my body.
The truth is that they have tried to resist, but they know that the decision has been made :D.
I can give you another example of when I began my challenge. When I used to tell people what I was doing, I used to always add “I hope I do reach my goal” at the end of my sentences.
However, when I realized that that phrase only created more fear within me, I re-worded it to say “when I reach my goal… because I will.”
Keep in mind that if you are very careful about the words you choose to use, these will be your biggest allies and they will be of great help to enhance your motivations.
2. Keep your goal always present.
For practical purposes, let’s keep using the same example as above about wanting to lose weight.
Imagine that today is Friday, which would be your training day since this week you trained on Monday and Wednesday.
Your friends ask you to come hang out and drink some beers after work. Some beers which will be followed by more beers in addition to not-so-healthy food.
What would you do? Would it make you doubt what decision to make?
My advice is the following: take a moment, think about your goal and ask yourself: Why did I set this goal for myself? What objective do I want to reach?
Once you’ve visualized your goal, you can think of some options:
- Could I go to the gym before and then meet my friends for just one beer?
- Could I complete my training on the weekend instead?
- Am I sure that if I go, I won’t exaggerate with what I consume?
While you ponder on your solutions, visualize your goal once more, or re-read it if you have it written down on the notes in your cell, and think about how you will feel once you reach your aim. What matters most to you?
Repeat the process each time a situation that makes you doubt presents itself.
3. Ignore your own excuses and be consistent.
Sometimes life happens and we are unable to workout or eat healthily. We could potentially adopt the mentality of “Since I messed it up yesterday, I can just skip this whole week.”
Another common excuse is, “Since I don’t have enough time, I will never be able to reach my goal.” It’s easy to fall into temptation, especially at the beginning, when your good intentions have yet to become actual habits.
In these cases, we need to stay strong in order to not fall into our own excuses and catch us as soon as we begin sabotaging ourselves.
Keep your purpose and motivations in mind in order to create and maintain healthy habits and address your excuses with kindness, understanding the importance of being consistent in what you do.
Keep in mind that in order to reach your goals, you could use your willpower (which can run out before you even reach your aim), or better yet, change your habits.
As a matter of fact, when speaking about a goal that lasts through time, like for example being in shape, it is crucial to change your habits.
My curiosity has led me to research habits and I will share what I’ve learned in the following post.
Are you a person that is used to setting goals?
Is it hard for you to achieve them?
Tell me about it by leaving a comment below, and if you think that this post could be useful for someone you know, don’t hesitate to share this with them!
If you’d like to read more about habits, the post Habits vs obligations – the 7 whys might be of your interest.
Thank you for your visit!
Claudia Canu is a former junk and sugar addict transformed into a Health Motivator with a master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has created this website not only to share her “Journey to her Healthy Forties” but also to help other busy women with basic knowledge about nutrition and who don’t love cooking, to live a healthier life and achieve big goals.