So how are you doing? Do you feel like you’re moving in the direction you want your life to go? Where are you in relation to your hopes and dreams and goals? Do you see yourself making steady progress in the right direction? Taking charge of emotional eating means learning to feed ourselves in ways that are more powerful than food. It means paying attention to our hopes and dreams and taking the steps we need to take to move forward. Taking charge of emotional eating means living a bigger life and learning to think beyond food.
If the picture isn’t as rosy as you’d like it to be, if you are off track or struggling or just-plain-not-moving, don’t despair. This is a great time to reevaluate, rework your plan, and begin taking some powerful steps in the direction you want to go. Whether you want to write a book, change your job, lose weight, or start using your treadmill for something other than a clothes rack, here are three essential tips for getting (and staying) on track.
1. Be specific.
Set concrete SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible. “I will write three pages every morning before work” is a SMART goal. So is, “I will apply for two jobs this week.” “I will get in shape” is not a SMART goal, but “I will complete the weight circuit at the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday after work” is.
2. Break your overall goal down into manageable steps.
If you want to quit smoking, you’ll need more than one “quit smoking goal.” Create specific SMART sub-goals and milestones for each day and each week. If you aren’t achieving your daily milestones, you’ll need to step back and evaluate why your plan isn’t working, then add in the components you need to meet your daily targets. Key questions to ask here might be: “Is my goal reasonable for the time frame?” “What might help me increase my odds of success in this situation?” “How can I add in some support or accountability?”
3. Keep the big picture in mind.
Chances are, you are looking to make a change that lasts; create a habit that sticks; or complete the big project you are beginning. “Slow and steady” really does win the race. We tend greatly overestimate what we can accomplish in the short run and underestimate what we can do in the bigger picture. Make sure that you are being realistic and don’t take on more than your life and current stress level will allow. Small changes are easier to maintain than drastic leaps outside of your comfort zone.