Losing weight and getting in shape is a process. Forget all those "Lose 15 pounds in 15 days" diet plans. They don't work. You might lose some weight in an unhealthy fashion and before you know it, you're back to square one or worse—you've gained weight. There's a better way to reach your exercise and healthy living goals.
1. Be Realistic
This does not mean to forgo all willpower and eat a pint of ice cream. Being realistic is knowing what you will do and sticking to it. Sometimes we get caught up in work, family, friends and so many other things that working out gets pushed to the bottom of the list. It's helpful to plan when you will work out, what you will eat and how you will manage your time in order to accomplish any goal.
2. Put Yourself First
Are you trying to lose weight because you want to feel better about yourself, or because you want to impress people at your 10 year reunion? Knowing the source of your motivation is essential to achieve your goals. If your inspiration comes from someone or something external, it is harder to maintain the passion necessary to reach your goals. Outside encouragement is fine and even helpful, but make sure you set goals that are important to you. Focus on one goal that you really want to accomplish, take the necessary steps to make it happen, and move on to the next one. Slow and steady wins the race.
3. Be as Specific as Possible
Just saying, "I will always do my best" is good but it's also very vague. What is your personal best? Is a 10-minute mile your best? Is doing half of your push-ups on your knees and the other half on your feet your best? Determine what you can do by defining specific goals in areas where you'd like to see improvement. You'll have a tangible way to measure your progress with that system.
4. Weigh the Pros and Cons
People tend to look only at the positive when setting goals. While no one wants to be a Debbie-downer, there are advantages to seeing both the pros and cons of the work needed to achieve your goals. Taking the positive-only approach will help you succeed, but studies show that people who account for the potential obstacles they may face tend to not only reach their goal, but exceed it. So, factor in the possibility that you might miss your target of working out 4 to 5 times a week because by doing so you'll have a plan of attack to help you get back on track. You won't be flustered, you will be ready!