So why does this happen? Simple. Goal setting. Now… before you tell yourself “I’ve heard this before”… here me out. The one thing that has helped me personally the most has been goal setting and I believe it will make the single biggest difference between your success and failure in losing weight. Here’s what you need to do: 1) Set realistic goals with deadlines 2) Make specific plans to reach those goals, and 3) Take immediate action until you’ve reached them.
Without setting realistic goals with a deadline, it’s pointless to even try to change your behavior. The reason is because odds are overwhelmingly against you. With goals, however, you are almost guaranteed of success, in my experience. Look at it this way, you can read books on losing weight and learn all there is to know about dieting and fitness, but if you can’t set specific weight-loss goals and make a plan to accomplish them, it will be virtually impossible to enjoy lifelong weight loss.
OK, so what is goal setting? Goal setting is nothing more than thinking about where you’re at now, and visualizing exactly where you want to be at a certain point in the future. Think of an imaginary bridge that takes you from your present physical state to your ideal physical state. Goal setting is what helps take you over that bridge.
Although goal setting is a simple, easy process, most people just don’t do it. The reason is because either they don’t believe it will make a difference, out of fear of failure. The average person spends more time setting goals for going on a vacation than starting a weight loss or fitness program that could transform their bodies and lives.
There’s a famous goal setting study done by Yale University that all the motivational gurus talk about and write about. Whether it’s actually true or not is debatable, but the story goes like this:
Members of Yale’s 1953 graduating class participated in a study and were interviewed by researchers. One of the questions was whether or not they had clear, specific goals with a written plan for their achievement. Not surprisingly, less than 3% answered yes.
Twenty years later, the surviving members of the graduating class were interviewed. The 3% who had written goals and a plan for their accomplishment not only appeared to be happier and more excited/enthusiastic about their lives, but they were also worth more financially than the other 97% combined!
I don’t know it’s actually true, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.
So if you haven’t already, take some time today and write out your goals. This will stack the odds of success in your favor. Think “what by when?” And if you have a means to achieve your goal (exercise, diet program or whatever), make sure to include that in your plan of action.
In a future post, I’ll break down my personal goal setting strategy.