Everywhere you look, there is advice on how to lose weight. Equally, everywhere you look you’ll see advertising for products that will make you gain weight. Sometimes these conflicting ideas are in the same place, so how do you filter out the things you don’t need while tuning in to those that will help you get the results you want?
You need to be focused on what you want. Identifying your goal is good, but looking deeper to discover why this goal is important to you will help with your focus. You want to lose, say, 10 kilos. Why? What will losing 10 kilos mean for you? How will it affect your day-to-day life? Your self-esteem? Your family?
Many people have a goal that’s a bit wishy-washy. “I want to lose weight.” It might even be a tiny bit more specific “I want to lose 10 kilos by October 20.” These are both examples not of goals, but of wants, wishes, or dreams. A goal is precise.
You may have heard of setting SMARTER goals. They’re smarter than the want outlined above because of the detail they contain. Let’s have a look at an example:
The more specific you are about your goals, the better. Be precise with your words, and ensure you are able to measure the outcome.
“I will lose 10 kilos.”
This is the hard part. Any important goal must be meaningful. If you can identify why you want to lose weight and if it’s really important to you, you’ll do whatever is needed to make the goal come to fruition. The meaningful reason has nothing to do with a clothing size or your appearance, but usually relates to what you can do and how it affects your emotions.
“I will lose 10 kilos so I can play on the floor with my grandchildren.” Or “I will lose 10 kilos so I don’t run the other way every time a camera appears. I want to be in family photos.”
Setting a goal that you honestly believe can be achieved is essential. There’s no point aiming so high and in such a short space of time that you know you won’t be able to do it. Losing 10 kilos is fine, but losing it in 2 weeks is not achievable. Looking at it differently, let’s say that you want to lose 50 kilos: if this sounds simply too hard, but losing 5 kilos sounds easy, why not go for the 5 kilos. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the other 45 kilos at a later stage. Setting a goal that you believe you can achieve is essential.
Does this goal match up with your values? Are they relevant to the way you want to live your life? If losing 10 kilos means eating separately to your family, never going out, always having to be focused and conscious and never having any fun, then you won’t stick with it. It’s doomed to fail – not you failing, just that the goal is not relevant to your life. Luckily, losing weight does not require all this sacrifice.
You need to set a time to achieve the goal. Keep in the mind the specific and achievable parts of goal setting. Knowing the time-frame you’ve set helps you to check in on your progress and ensure you’re not simply taking the scenic route – you’re focused and on the straight and narrow.
“I will lose 10 kilos by October so that when my daughter goes into hospital for baby number four, I can play on the floor while baby-sitting my grandchildren.”
Evaluating your goal every day is essential. No matter how important the goal, if you don’t check in with it you’ll forget it. Days become weeks become months… You get the picture. Write out you goal and put it somewhere you’ll see every day. The bathroom mirror is a great place, or the back of the toilet door. Some people have success with theirs on the fridge or pantry. Wherever you decide to put your goal, it must be where you see it, read it, and allow it to help you stay on track.
The goal is important. The method for achieving the goal is less important. Let’s say you are doing everything right (whatever that means) but find that you’re not closing in on your goal. Do you continue to do what’s not getting results? Hopefully not. If your choices are not helping you achieve your goal, then your choices must change. If they don’t, you’ll be endlessly frustrated and will likely give up on your goal. Remember how important it was to you?
Achieving any important goal is more easily done by setting SMARTER goals, which makes it easier to focus on the things you need and filter out those that get in the way of achieving what you want.
Now, make it easier on yourself: toss out those biscuits, avoid the centre aisles of the supermarket, and stop watching the ads on TV.