Setting a goal is one of the most effective steps you can take toward achieving what you want. However, the common mistake people make in setting goals is that they are not always congruent with a person’s lifestyle or values.
Therefore, it is important and downright necessary that you believe the goal you set is achievable. If you have a major goal you want to achieve but it seems out of reach, then set small ones you can believe in. A series of small, seemingly insignificant goals linked in the right order can lead to huge success.
I have seen major change happen in the lives of my clients simply by having them set small goals that, in turn, lead them to set even bigger goals that now seem believable.
Case in point: I have a client who as a child was discouraged from participating in any athletic activity or PE due to asthma-related problems. Modern exercise research has since proved that supervised exercise actually helps to relieve asthmatic symptoms. Regardless, due to this upbringing, she never participated in any cardiovascular activities. Her goal at the time we started was simply to walk one mile without having to use her inhaler.
Needless to say, after careful planning and close supervision, her new, believable, goal now is to hike Machu Picchu.
The same methods can work if your goal is simple weight loss. If you have long had the goal of losing 30 to 50 pounds and can never seem to do it, or it never sticks, try this daisy chain of goals:
» Month one goal: Perform 840 minutes of cardiovascular activity at any intensity you can handle. This is roughly 30 minutes a day and will get your body in the habit of pumping blood throughout your system.
» Month two goal: Every time you reach for a sugary drink or snack, resist it. Give yourself a gold star for every time you successfully resist the urge and a silver star for every time you give in. When the month ends, did your gold stars outnumber the silver?
» Month three goal: Lose three to four pounds.
» Month four goal: Keep the pounds off; weight loss is not a goal here, just maintenance.
Finally, repeat months three and four by sticking with the habits developed from months one and two until your big goal has been met. By this time that should be easy because you are no longer dieting, but living life with new habits.
Reggie Palma is an exercise physiologist and personal trainer. Visit his website at fitnessatyourdoorhawaii.com.