Keeping a goal in mind is great motivation when you’re exercising, dieting or just generally trying to be a bit healthier but, are you concentrating too much on the end result rather than the process you’re going through to get there?
A recent study has found that women who focus on the process of losing weight tend to have better luck than those who give more attention to the numbers on the scales.
A group of women dieted for 6 weeks. Those who focused more on the process-orientated success (resisting temptation, perseverance and small lifestyle changes) lost more weight than those who desired solely on their desired outcome (weight loss, dropping dress sizes etc) – on average 4 pounds more.
Breaking down your long term goal into short and medium-term goals and focusing on the process can motivate people to keep going, as it seems more feasible. Making any change can then become the goal, which will still help achieve the overall objective.
For example, if your long term goal is to lose 2 stone within 12 months then a short term goal would be to consistently go to the gym 3 times a week within 4 weeks. Goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound to keep the motivation going throughout so having a series of short and medium-term goals will keep you on track and keep the motivation high.
By thinking about how you’re going to fit the 3 gym sessions into your lifestyle, and what you’re doing in the gym as well, you concentrate on a week-by-week basis, rather than long-term overall I’m-going-to-lose-two-stone basis. It also means that if you have a bad week (and, let’s face it, we all do at some point), you don’t give up entirely. Scrap that week and move on.
I keep talking in exercise terms, but it can work for any lifestyle or dietary change – keeping a food diary to see where you’re going wrong, cutting out sugar or salt or even easing back on your alcohol intake – break the goal down, and you’re more likely to succeed. Hitting the short term goals helps to increase your motivation and makes you feel great about the progress you’re making.
If you need advice on short, medium or long-term goals, get in touch.