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Friday, April 5, 2013

Goal Setting - How to Stay Motivated

Do you remember the New Year's Resolution you set in January? If you're like most, you may remember what it was but have probably "abandoned" it with some intent of focusing on the goal later. The problem is that we set goals that are too big or too broad or we try to set too many goals at once. Effective goal setting is starting with small goals and building on them. If the goals you set are not achievable or realistic, you will begin to feel discouraged and ultimately give up on them.

For the past 2 years, I've been working on one goal, health and fitness. Now, I know that sounds broad but I started with small goals and built upon them. I started by working out 5 days a week, once I mastered that, I went on to the next piece. For me, that was clean eating. I ate what I perceived to be "healthy" before but really wanted to take it to the next level. Once that became a habit for me, I started working on other aspects, I created my Facebook page, started training harder and now really want fitness to be my path. Have I slipped up? Of course... I started training to compete in a bikini competition and when the diet took an emotional toll on me, I went into a binging mode for a few months over the holidays. BUT, I did not let that discourage me, I just got right back to it and refocused myself.

We all have our off days. But, if you find yourself constantly getting off track, here are some tips to keep you focused:
  1. Concentrate on a few small goals
    If you constantly have trouble keeping to your goals, maybe you're spreading yourself too thin. Pick 1-3 goals that are most important to you, and stick to them. Don't get distracted with other goals, trying to do too many things at once will often lead to frustration and ultimately failure.
  2. Learn to say no

    Do you often put your goals aside for other people? It's okay to do that once or twice, but if you keep doing the whole time, something is seriously wrong. You can't always take a backseat for others! I often hear people say that they cannot focus on their own goals because they have children and their children come first. I totally understand that concept but what kind of role model will you be for your kids if don't show them that setting goals and following through is important. This doesn't just have to be about health or weight loss. This can be related to your budget, buying a home, a promotion at work... whatever it is. The point is, if you are not doing things for you, to make you happy; how are you making others around you happy??
  3. Create milestones
    Don't set one big huge goal like "I want to lose 50 lbs". This can be very overwhelming and discouraging if you don't lose the 50 lbs by X date. Instead, set small achievable goals. I want to lose 5 lbs in the month of April is much easier to comprehend. Once you lose those 5 lbs, set a new goal for May. Before you know it, you will have lost 50 lbs :)
  4. Have a plan
    Creating your plan when your motivation is the highest is usually best. So, right when you set the goal is usually when you should plan out how you will achieve that goal. When it's a weight loss goal, you will typically be mapping out your food and exercise for that give time period. You should use a calculator to determine your caloric needs and then keep track of your food and workouts. If you find you are not losing weight as quickly as you'd like, you may need to adjust your calories or increase your activity levels.
  5. Track your results
    This is more than just tracking your food intake and exercise. Each week, track how you're doing, did you lose any weight, how do you feel... this will all help you in the end.
  6. Join a group and have a goal buddy
    Teaming up with others that have similar goals is a great way to be accountable and stay motivated. This can be done in many ways. One way is to set a "weight loss contest" at work where everyone contributes $5 and at the end of the month, the person with the highest % of weight loss gets the pot. This keeps you focused and you can also do activities (such as walking) with others at the office.
  7. Be clear on why you have this goal
    When it comes to weight loss, it can be one of the hardest goals to achieve because everyone "has to eat". It's not like other goals of quitting smoking or drinking, paying off debt or things like that where it's a "choice". We have to eat, right? What makes it hard is deciding WHAT we are going to eat and HOW MUCH of it we are going to eat. Eating doesn't make us overweight, over eating and eating the wrong food does. Most American's don't really know what the right way to eat is so it becomes difficult to achieve these goals. We center our whole lives around food. We use food and drink to celebrate, morn and everything in between. Stay focused on why you have your goal. Do you want to be fit and healthy so you can play with your kids? Do you want to be proud when you look in the mirror? Do you want to get rid of a health problem such as high cholesterol or diabetes? Whatever the reason, keep it at the forefront. It's very easy to lose focus and forget why we are doing something. If you need to create a vision board to help with this, do that. JUST DON'T GIVE UP!!
 I hope this helps you with your goals and staying motivated. Have you recently set goals and achieved them? Share in the comments!


  1. This could not have come at a better time for me.. I have goals but have lost motivation .. I'm blaming illness and bad weather.. but I know it's just the CHOICE .. thanks :)

  2. Very Informative.... Tnx for sharing....

  3. Very informative, very true! Thanks for sharing!

  4. PERFECT timing...I am struggling right now. I lost about 50 pounds and was very committed to working out, but have slacked off in the past couple of weeks. I eat clean...the gym and I just aren't seeing each other as much as we should. I really needed this. Thanks.