For years, I wrote down big goals. Often, I calculated how many pounds I could lose in a certain time to reach a certain weight. An average of 1.7 pounds lost over 12 weeks could get me down 20 pounds. I cannot tell you how many times in my life I’ve done this. Perhaps about 100 times. Maybe more.
A Lofty Goal with No Support
Not only was I completely ignorant about how to measure fat-loss success (hint: not by weight), but I did not have an action plan that supported my big goal. Without knowing what behaviors would get me there, losing 20 pounds was only a dream. There was an image in my head of how I good I would look on August 18, 2007. However, I was frustrated and annoyed that “eating healthier” and “exercising more” didn’t work.
I did not learn this lesson easily. For years, I repeated the pattern. Calculate weight to lose. Define a date. Eat healthier. Move more. Fail.
There are best practices for fat-loss. I learned them (Woo hoo!), and then I made another mistake. I attempted to practice them all faithfully and simultaneously. This works for a short moment in time (about 3 days) when the behaviors are brand new. Practicing these new things becomes overwhelming quickly, and you become frustrated, annoyed, pessimistic and insecure.
What Really Works, and Why
Confidence is key. Confidence in yourself is essential to achieving your BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal). How do you become confident? You prove that you can do something repeatedly. How do you do this? By focusing on ONE goal at a time. Then when the habit becomes second nature, you add another habit. You begin to do that well, and you prove once again that you can do it. Then you’ve dominated two habits, you feel like a superhero, and you move to your third habit!
Go for Consistency!
Choose one goal, such as staying hydrated throughout the day. A good idea is to begin the day with two glasses of water. Complete this daily habit until you are confident you can put your attention on a new goal. Commit to a minimum number of days. For example, say you are going to drink enough water for 30 days. By then, it should become a habit.
Go for a Monthly Goal!
This is my favorite method for goal-setting.
I woke up on July 1 and thought, “It’s the first of the month. I’m going to set a monthly fitness goal.” I thought I would go for 500 push-ups, but I knew my toughest fans would tell me I could do more, so I declared I would do 600 pushups. Never mind that I probably never did more than 100 in a month in the past. I thought it was challenging, yet doable.
I surpassed my goal with 640 pushups in July. I set goals for August and September. Yesterday I completed part of my monthly challenge of 1,006 burpees and I will finish the last 35 of my 750 pushups today.
My Monthly Goal for October
This month, I’m going to put my focus on food. I am fairly consistent with eating vegetables but occasionally I only eat one serving a day if I don’t pay attention.
My goal is to eat 100 servings of vegetables this month. I already recruited 5 people do this with me. Are you in?