Reaching for the stars is great, but always remember that the bigger the goal, the longer the road to success. Most of us have a hard time finding the right motivation when the goal is set far ahead, which is why short-term goals and small successes are more effective. If the plan is to lose 60 pounds, a set of smaller objectives could be sticking with the weekly meal program or 30 minutes of daily exercise. As you can see, these small achievements don’t explicitly revolve around weight loss. The ultimate goal will come naturally through a process designed to keep frustration at bay.
The two or three goals to focus on at a time must be:
-Easygoing (after all, we’re not machines and far from perfect).
‘Working out’, for instance, is too generic a term—no one knows exactly what it means—while ‘running a marathon a week’ isn’t exactly realistic. A far better idea is to tell yourself “I’m going to go out for a 15-minute walk every afternoon for the next two weeks”. Such a plan is not only measurable, it’s doable.
Don’t forget that it’s the small changes that turn into habits which achieve the big, long-term results. Each little milestone will make you feel proud of your progress and motivate you to keep going. Unachieved, unrealistic goals will only lead to failure and frustration.
Being realistic also implies accepting delays and setbacks (not sticking with the plan for whatever reason, such as a party, a busy workload or an important personal matter) as natural parts of the process. When they do arrive, don’t break down, accept the situation, and then move on as quickly as possible. Also, try to think about how to do things differently the next time around and, therefore, avoid any possible setbacks.
However, you must also bear in mind that people are different, what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another. The fact that your neighbor lost all that weight just by running may not turn out so well for you, perhaps because you find it terribly boring: you’d probably quit after only a week, and end up feeling disappointed and frustrated all over again. Try out the different alternatives offered by the program and find the right ones for your lifestyle. Choose those activities that are the most fun and easygoing to improve your odds of success.