The Importance of Setting a Goal

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So you’ve said it a million times… “I want to lose weight”. But it just hasn’t happened yet! Why? You ask. The answer lies only within you, it’s just a matter of doing a little bit of digging and figuring out what is holding you back. Let’s get started.

The first thing you’re going to have to do is set goals for yourself. Before we get into how to set appropriate goals, I think it is important to understand why we set goals. A goal is a powerful tool, especially when it comes to weight loss. By setting a goal ahead of time you are able to track your progress. When you can see progress this serves as more motivation for you to continue on.

Setting a goal provides you a means of holding yourself accountable for achieving it. If you just make a general statement about what you would like to happen, such as “lose weight”, but you don’t set a specific amount within a specific time limit, it is going to be easier to procrastinate in making your lifestyle changes.

It is essential to set appropriate goals, here are some guidelines to help you. When you begin to write out your goals pay attention to your wording. Don’t allow yourself to say, “I’ll try to” or “Maybe I’ll do this” use more powerful and action oriented words such as “I will”. Practice just for a moment saying these two sentences and think about which one makes you feel more powerful and in control:

“This week I might try to get in 3 days of cardio”
Or
“This week I will perform three cardio routines of at least 30 minutes or more!”

Already you can start to feel a little more motivation based solely on the words that you are choosing to express your goal.

When you set your goals make them specific. Sticking with weight loss as an example, rather than “I want to lose weight” get particular by saying, “I will lose 10 pounds over the next three months by increasing my cardiovascular exercise to 30 minutes three times a week and making healthy nutrition choices”. Now you have a goal that you can actually track and measure. Setting a specific deadline by which you want to have your goal accomplished helps to create a sense of urgency which can also serve as a source of motivation for you, as well as hold you accountable for reaching your goal by your targeted date.

Set a goal that requires you to take some action. When you set fitness goals you are making a commitment to change your behavior. In order to change your behavior you must be specific about what the new behavior you are going to participate in will be. Again this provides another way for tracking your progress. If you set a weekly goal of walking for 30 minutes 3 times per week, and this week you only made it out 2 times you completed your goal by about 65%. You may want to consider keeping this as your weekly goal for another week or so until you have been able to implement it 100%.

It is important to keep your goals realistic. If your weight loss goal was ten pounds in two weeks time, this would not be a realistic healthy goal. The ACSM (American Council of Sports Medicine) guideline for healthy and maintainable weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. You want to set yourself up for success, not failure, so choose goals that are challenging yet within your reach. Setting unattainable goals may lead to frustration which is a major cause for dropping out of your fitness program! Keep your goals realistic and you will feel a sense of accomplishment as you attain success. This success will serve as a great source for motivation as you continue on your fitness journey!

Diana Chaloux is a certified personal trainer through ACE, AFAA and FPI. Diana is a fitness coach as well as an NPC National Level Figure Competitor. She is co-founder and owner of Destined 2 Be Fit ([http://www.d2bfit.com] ) based in San Antonio, TX and she is the star of the fitness DVD “Fitness Deadlines”. Diana can be contacted at contact@d2bfit.com

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!
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