Goals that help and some that will hurt!

I KNOW that the people who lose weight and successfully maintain have chosen their goals wisely and pursued them vigorously.

Have you set the right goals for you? Setting goals that don’t suit you can be setting yourself up to fail! How can you tell if the goals you have set are the right goals for you?

1. Take a closer look at the words you have used to express your goals. Take a moment to read over your goals. If you keep them in your head, note them down on paper quickly before you read further. Done? Now look through your goals for any of the following words: No, Not, Never, Stop, Lose, Reduce, Limit or Quit. If these negative words (or similar ones) play an important role in the way you have stated your goals, you may be setting yourself up for problems. Here’s why.

Words are very powerful!

When words are negative (like the ones above), their results are negative, i.e. when you say that you will “Stop eating chocolate” what are you really doing? You are focusing your attention on the very thing you are trying to avoid- chocolate. If going without something you want when it is always on your mind were easy this might work.

My experience has led me back to that thought “Out of sight, out of mind, out of reach”!! For me, this works a lot better.

2. Do your goals deprive you of something you want (or think you want)? If so, you’re just setting yourself up for feelings of deprivation, resentment, and rebelliousness. How many times have you gone a day, a week, or even longer without caving in to a food on your forbidden list, only to find yourself binging on it later, as if out of sheer spite? Contrary to belief making a rule, “I’m not allowed...” is not the best way to maintain control. Often doing so brings out the two-year-old inside us and so the so strop begins!

3. Do your goals set you up for failure? Framing your goals in negative terms creates an all-or-nothing situation, where even one small slip means failure.

And we all know where this leads: “Well, I’ve already blown it, I might as well enjoy and start again tomorrow.” Too often, tomorrow never comes!You begin to think that you can’t control your own behaviour, and don’t know what to do about it.

It all starts with the words. The great thing about having the capacity for language is that we can use words to help ourselves want what is best for us to have. Framing your goals in positive terms makes reaching them that much easier. Positive words allow you to:

Focus on what you really want, and on what is helpful and achievable. This creates positive energy and momentum instead of feelings of deprivation and resentment.

Adjust your plans when you have the inevitable blip, or bad day. Instead of giving up when you mess up, you can make small changes to balance things out. Check in with yourself before you act, press the pause button, ask yourself if what you are about to eat will help you reach your goals, or take you further from them.

Have true freedom of choice, rather than forcing yourself to rely on will power alone. We aren’t designed to white-knuckle our way through life, always resisting what we think we really want.

So, go through your goals with a fine toothed comb, make sure they are positive. Focus on what you do want, and what you will accomplish-not just how many pounds you want to lose. Keep track of your daily intake, but don’t confuse going over on any given day with ‘failure’. Note any extra exercise undertaken. There’s more going on than what happens during any one single day. Well framed goals can help you keep that in view...“If you don’t know where you’re going you don’t know when you’re lost”! Wishing you every success for the week ahead,