Are You Going to Reach Your Goals?
As with every new endeavor in life, the most important part of losing weight is to have some goals in mind, as big or small as you like. Be careful, however, with setting your bar too high. Instant and continuous gratification is a very important element in staying motivated and committed to your weight loss journey, and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel can put some serious breaks on your ride.
But, do not despair - there is a solution for all of us ambitious over-achievers! The magic words are: process-oriented goal-setting. The basic idea is to shift your attention away from the end of the tunnel to the place and time you are in right now, allowing you to derive pleasure and happiness from every single step you make along your way.
Let me give you an example: I want to lose 40 pounds. Now, I know this will take me a little bit, so instead on focusing on that goal, I try to keep in mind what I need to do in order to get there. Consequently, every time I succeed in my daily ambitions, this little achievement feels like the real thing because all I need to do is more of the same.
To give you an idea, some process-oriented goals could include: jogging for 5 kilometers (3.13 miles), exercising for a certain number of minutes, biking 10 mph for half an hour, etc. Also, in case you want to eat better, some process-oriented goals could include: eating 5 vegetables and 2 fruits a day, cutting out soda, eating 2450 calories a day, etc. These are process-oriented goals, specifically spelling out the PROCESS by which you will reach your ultimate weight loss goal.
Goal setting is really important - but so are the rewards for achieving them! They set up a mental connection in your brain between hard work and expecting something good. So, as some examples, perhaps after losing ten pounds, you go out and buy a book. Go to the gym for a month, and buy yourself a massage. Or my personal favorite reward from someone on this board, silly pink shoes. Make the reward something you actually want for yourself, and plan when and how you'll reward yourself. Whether it's a sticker every time you exercise or a tattoo when you finally lose 50 lbs, make sure to make it a feel-good time after meeting your goals!