What are the most important factors of success? According to intelligence studies, the answer is NOT IQ, intelligence or perseverance but the tendency to set goals is the #1 predictor of success.
You’ve already taken a key step by setting that goal. In other words by not setting a clear, defined goal you miss the most important success factor. Still, you can increase your chance of reaching it (and your future goals) by using some smart goal-setting techniques:
Start with a Long-Term Goal. Picture the effect it will have, how your life will be different, what you would be able to do differently. Think of the strategy you’ll use and who can help you. This is your blueprint. Before you do anything else, write that goal down. Memory studies indicate that the brain forgets 80% of detail within 24 hours and 99% within two weeks. Writing it down keeps the goal fresh and clear in your mind.
Next, create a timeline. This begins with a target date, which you’ve probably already set. Now you have Point A and Point B; what are the steps along the way that will take you from one to the other? Think of a series of Medium-Term Milestones you can use to keep momentum high and the path straight. Set weekly or monthly goals to move closer to the end goal. Milestones can also be achievements that have nothing to do with the scale. Maybe sign up for a walkathon that you wouldn’t have been able to do last year.
Finally, plan out the Short-Term Actions that will get you to your first Milestones. These are your daily and weekly nutrition and fitness goals. This is how doing just a little bit every day can help you reach even your biggest goal. By doing these Actions, you stay on track and a permanent, healthier lifestyle is just a matter of time.
Have a strategy in mind to commit to those actions.
> If you want to limit your alcohol consume to 3 glasses a week be prepared to say no at a party after the first glass at a party. If you know you loose control or have a hard time to say no, better don’t drink at all that night.
> If you want to loose weight write down the do’s: get as much healthy, possibly raw or steamed veggies and fruit into your diet to get lots of nutrients and feeling satisfied. Be prepared when you get hungry to have a healthy alternative available. Have your main dishes either carb+veggies/salad or proteins+ veggies/salad. Don’t mix carbs and proteins, don’t mix pasta and meat or fish.
> Set smart exercise goals. Not to much, not to little, moderation and consistency. How can you commit to do regular exercise with ease and fun? Obviously brisk walking exercise is easy, effective and doable anywhere. You can use this time reflecting on issues that need attention or practice Walking Meditation.
> Be bigger than the Ego mind. Whenever some voice tries to keep you from your commitments by saying: “I really don’t feel like”, “I hate…”, “I just can’t…”, etc. then smile! Smile and take a moment to breathe deeply, exhale with a sigh 3 times and be proud of yourself for recognizing sabotaging thoughts and not identifying with it.
> Acknowledge your successes, especially the small stuff! We tend to put us down for what went wrong and forget to celebrate the things that go well. Every healthy meal, exercise, attentive listening, meditation, act of tolerance, nice words to the supermarket clerk, helpful hand etc., be aware and happy about your being that way!
Overall, your health goals should be:
- Realistic: Start off with a goal that isn’t too ambitious, so you can sooner experience success. Build toward bigger goals and keep your motivation high.
- Specific: Make sure it can be measured and tracked.
- Forgiving: Leave room for the “1 Step Back, 2 Steps Forward” principle to apply, don’t feel bad about yourself, but have a strategy prepared for “adjustments”
- Crystal Clear: Find a photo depicting or symbolizing what you want. The clearer the point of the whole thing is, the easier it is to stay focused.
- Valuable: Remind yourself why you want to succeed in the first place. Is it your own goal or other people’s opinion?
- Challenging: What do you wish for? This is the goal that will hold your attention the most. There’s no reason our wishes can’t become our goals.
- Rewarded: Every little bit of positive reinforcement helps.
- Backed Up: Prepare for the unknown with contingency plans before problems come up. Have options waiting that will help you stay consistent in the face of the unexpected.
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