As we know, goals are incredibly important for realizing success. When done properly, they provide direction, focus and motivation. And for best results, we are often taught to set S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and within a time-frame.
And this is where many people get derailed in their weight loss and nutrition journeys.
Some of the easiest goal to set that align with the S.M.A.R.T. acronym sound something like:
- I want to lose ‘x’ amount of weight in time for my beach holiday.
- I will begin my diet Monday. Diet lasts until a certain date or until weight loss goal is reached.
- I will do a 21-day cleanse.
- I want to achieve ‘x’ percent body fat.
Although there is nothing inherently wrong with the above goals, they can backfire.
And here’s why…
They focus on a specific end goal, rather than on the establishment of the habits the achievement , and maintenance, the goal would require.
When connected to their deeper ‘why’ and to the discipline required for achieving their goal, people can be very successful in losing weight by their holiday, eating well for the duration of a 21-day diet or cleanse, or achieving a certain body fat percentage.
Where things go sideways however, is once the goal is achieved or the program ends.
It may be a slow creep, but eventually once goal is met, old habits return – the very habits that caused the weight gain or nutrition slide in the first place!
So, how can you avoid this?
Instead of focusing on the end-goal only, focus on establishing the lifestyle habits that end goal requires.
For instance, if your goal is to lose 15lbs by Stampede, make your end-goal NOT the weight loss itself, but the lifestyle habits that body weight would entail.
Such habits may include things like:
- a strength routine before work Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- a Saturday hike or yoga routine;
- a Sunday run with running group
- getting to bed by 10pm for a full 8hrs sleep (yes, bed by 10pm is a weight loss strategy!)
- not eating after 8pm
- eating a variety of at least 3 or more servings of vegetables a day
- drinking 6-9 glasses of water each day
- replacing daily dessert with a piece of fruit
Studies show that we can only establish ONE habit at a time, so I encourage you to make a list of all the habits you think would be helpful for your goal.
From there, choose ONE habit which would be do-able and which you feel would give you MOST bang for your effort – and focus solely on establishing that habit.
Then, once that’s in place, you can choose another one from your list, working your way through it one habit at a time.
If you approach your goal from a lifestyle approach rather than end-goal approach, you will not only be more successful in achieving it, but you will also have a much greater chance of maintaining it for the rest of your life.
Good bye struggle and hello success!
What habits would support the goal you desire? Which one will you go for?