The same applies when you're trying to help someone change their lifestyle, or change your own. I guess what I'm really talking about here is motivation, your passion and desire to achieve your goals. You'll never succeed until you're really motivated, and I'm not talking about a vague notion in your head that you'd like to drop body fat/gain muscle or whatever it may be, but it's that moment where you think 'F*ck this... I really badly want to change... let's do it!' Once you make a decision to change something, commit to it, own it and get off your ass and work for it!
Setting goals is important....not vague goals like 'I want to be thin'...you need to put a number on it, a dress size, a waist measurement... it doesn't really matter. Your goals need to be quantifiable... you need a real measurement so you can actually track your progress. Otherwise, you're really just aimlessly working towards an unspecified goal... and you know what, that's a recipe for failure.
You need to set short, medium and long term goals.... and yes, I'm aware this sounds like a horrible college assignment that we all had to suffer through! Set your long term goal first.. then break it up into short term goals (things you can change/put into practice immediately to get you to your medium goals). Next think about your medium term goal... this is important.. it's this medium term goal/milestone that will firstly keep you focussed, giving you an achievable target to work towards, and secondly help you track your progress. Assessing our goals regularly is really important... it helps us to celebrate little successes, and also helps to reflect on areas that we need to improve upon in order to stay on track to meet our long term goals.
So... for example... You want to shed 2 stone...
That's great... we've now got a really specific goal to work towards which can easily be measured. You've got to be realistic... this is probably why lots of people fail to stick to new healthy lifestyles, they want unrealistic results overnight...(I want to drop 2 stone in a month for my holiday... not going to happen!) So make your goals achievable, otherwise you're setting yourself up for failure, and that's just going to destroy any motivation you have. Whilst it's really important not to set yourself crazy targets like shedding 2 stone in a month, it is crucial that you put a time frame on your goals... otherwise you're just aimlessly fumbling towards your target, and roll on 3 years time, you still haven't achieved your goal and you now want to lose 3 stone!
This is going to sound nerdy as hell..... but I'm deadly serious, get a piece of paper and write down the following:
- What you want to achieve
- Why you want it
- How you will get there
- When will you succeed
You don't need to show it to anyone... but documenting your goals and motivations will make it so much easier to maintain your focus. It's also important to constantly review your goals, and make note of the things you've done well and those things that haven't gone so well and are hindering your progress. Be 100% honest.. after all, it's only for your eyes. If you had a Mars bar, write it down! This will make an excellent learning tool to look back on.. it will show you your strengths and weaknesses, and will help you constantly improve.
Even though I've specifically referred to weight loss goals here, the same principles apply whether your goals are training related, work related or whatever... To reach our goals, we need a plan... If you don't know where you're going, how are you going to get there???
Be clear about what you want to achieve and give it everything! There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when you reach your goals...