Whatever your goals may be, they are only wishes or wants without a solid, well executed plan. We are not successful by accident. If you have a dream, wish or want, come up with a path to success. Talk to people who have been successful with similar goals and find out what they did.
I will be using weight loss as an example, but any goal you have will apply to this.
All too often I meet with someone who says, "I hope I lost weight". To this I usually respond, with "what have you changed"? Usually they respond with "not a whole lot". Then, this person gets on the scale and is disappointed because the number on the scale didn't change or does not say what they want it to say. While the person and words said are always a little different, the take away message remains the same. To be successful with weight loss, a dramatic change needs to happen and that change needs to be accompanied with a plan.
You wouldn't head out to run a marathon without first preparing for weeks and months and following a strict training plan. The wonderful thing about weight loss is that you don't even have to be that strict. Pick one habit that you currently partake in and change it. Some examples include, switching from regular soda to water, not eating in front of the TV, no sweet treats after 7 pm, or only eat out once per week. Focus on listening to your body for its hunger/fullness cues. Any one of these would result in a significant weight loss over the long term.
When I first realized that weight loss does not happen by accident, everything changed. I realized that if I want to be successful in losing and maintaing my weight, I needed to put the work in. No amount of magic shakes, pills, wraps or diet plans was going to be successful for me. Here are five tips that work well for reaching weight loss goals.
Start by tracking your calories.
You should have a rough estimate of how many calories you are consuming. Most people highly underestimate the calories they eat. Therefore, you may think you are eating well, but if you are overconsuming, you won't see progress.
Make time for exercise.
Your health is too important to avoid exercise. Just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week is the minimum recommendation for health benefits. If you want to see weight loss, you will need to increase the time and intensity.
Set the bar low.
Don't go into your weight loss journey expecting to lose it all in a few months. Weight loss should take a long time. That tells you that you are taking it off in a healthy and sustainable manner.
Don't become obsessive.
Track your food consumption, but if you go over on your calories, let it go and move on. No need to punish yourself with food, starvation or exercise. Move on and jump right back in to your healthy habits. There should be room in your diet for treats every now and then, if not, reevaluate your plan and find a way to incorporate the occasional treat.
Don't quit when you hit your goal.
When you hit your weight loss goal, your journey is not over. You cannot go back to how you were living before and expect to stay at your goal weight. Adapt the habits you created over your weight loss journey with a little wiggle room. Stay on top of your eating habits and exercise.