There are two things that you can do to increase your chances of reaching your 2016 goals.
1. Consciously work on your willpower, and I wrote about that not too long ago in my blog entry called The Power in Willpower.
2. The second thing, and arguably the most important, is to have a plan. When I say a plan I mean something more than a vague notion of how you are going to reach your goal, it needs to be a set of concrete steps that get you where you are going.
Given that I already talked about willpower just a couple of months ago and you can read that entry here, let’s talk about The Plan.
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Zig Ziglar
Here are 3 examples ranging from “the hope and a prayer method”, through the “loosey goosey” method to the actual plan method of reaching your goals.
Let’s suggest that you have a goal of losing 15lbs in the next two months (which is remarkably similar to one of my goals.
The “Hope and a Prayer” crowd will say I am going to lose 15ibs in the next couple of months. The expectation being that because it has been said then magically they will amend their behaviors such that it will happen.
The “Loosey Goosey” crowd will say, I am going to lose 15lbs in the next 2 months. I’m going to do it by reducing my intake, and exercising more. There will be a vague notion of cutting out sweets, and maybe renewing the gym membership that lapsed last February. While the intention is good, and the 60,000 foot plan is not all bad … it is too easy to “slip” with this plan.
“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” Jim Rohn
A real plan will have some detail that means you need to actually think through what will work for you. I already work out 5 or 6 times a week, so this routine will work for me. YOU would need to have something appropriate for your current level of fitness. If it has been a while then check in with your doctor first and consider getting a personal trainer … they will keep you motivated! My plan might look like this:
1. I am going to lose 15lb in the next two months, which is a goal of almost 2lb a week … which will take a big effort. So, I KNOW I need to change a bunch of things.
2. I am going to reach the goal by reducing my calorific intake, eating better foods and increasing exercise.
3. Alcohol. I will not have any alcohol until I reach my goal. For many people that would be either a strong motivator, or the kiss of death to the weight loss program! (Better to be honest with yourself).
4. Food strategy. If this is TOO radical it becomes a big barrier to success. It should also be something that is somewhat sustainable.
I will reduce starches, and increase vegetables.
I will only have healthy snacks, fruit etc.
I will track my calories in MyFitnessPal.
I won’t have seconds, finish off my partner’s meals or fill up the plate just because there is food there.
5. Exercise strategy. Again, this needs to be reasonable or it just won’t be sustainable long enough to reach the goal, never mind as a lifestyle change to maintain the weight loss.
I already do cardio most mornings, so I will increase the intensity of those workouts (increase incline and resistance on the elliptical). I will also add another 10 minutes to the morning workouts.
I will add an evening workout 3 or 4 times a week. This will include a weight circuit at least twice a week. I will do 4 or 5 exercises for 15 reps each, and do 3 sets. It should take no more than 20 minutes.
Once a week I will supplement my morning cardio with a high intensity workout. Maybe 20 minutes cardio and 20 minutes high intensity workout. This could be a boxing workout involving the heavy bag and speed bag; it could be doing stairs or the skipping rope, or it could be mini circuits.
The level of detail in the plan means that it is hard for me to hide from myself.
“Intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.” Andy Andrews
Tracking progress on a daily basis using an app like MyFitnessPal is another good way to keep you focused.
Having a third party hold you accountable for staying on track can be very effective too. It could involve having a personal trainer; a work out buddy; a diet buddy; a personal challenge with a friend; or a simple as asking others to keep you honest!
While the focus of this article has been on one specific goal, a weight loss goal, this same thinking applies to any goal … personal or professional. Set a goal, create a plan … and don’t subscribe to the “Hope and a Prayer” or the “Loosey Goosey” methodologies!
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Pablo Picasso
Good luck with your 2016 goals!