“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
When it comes to weight loss and trying to change habits like overeating, or other unhealthy habits, too many busy women know exactly how true this quote can feel. The plan, idea, goal, or fitness plan might sound good, it might even feel like a good thing at first, but too often, the change you are trying to make has slipped away or drowned in your full schedule of responsibilities and commitments.
Each time this happens, it becomes more difficult to get motivated to try again one more time. Confidence falters. It all feels more daunting. It’s enough to make many reach for a chocolate chip cookie . . .
Change isn’t easy. Habits take time to develop and it takes a while to develop new tastes and preferences and routines—but millions of successful women will tell you that change IS possible. If you’ve been on the weight loss hamster wheel for a while, it might be hard to believe that lasting change happens. But please know that it does. I’m not talking about holding on by willpower and the skin of your teeth—I’m talking about making changes that go so deep that you rarely think about how it was before, because the new habits and changes you’ve created have just become a part of who you are.
I’m talking about changes that last. They are possible. I’ve made them and I delight in seeing my clients make those enduring changes too.
That said, there are a few tricks or secrets to keeping your goals on your radar and staying in action.
Here are four strategies you definitely want to use if you want to achieve your weight loss, health, or wellness goals:
- Schedule yourself and pay yourself first. This is the step that sounds like a no-brainer and it’s also the one that many of you reading this will think you can skip. If you don’t skip it, you may be tempted to “do it in your head.” This means, you’ll make a mental note of when you will set aside the time to do the workout or cook the healthy meal, or take the me-time but you won’t officially put it in your schedule. No one will know your plan is there, and you are likely to find that it is easily pushed to the side when something else comes up. Treat your commitment to you as something as valid and legitimate as you treat your commitments to others. Not only should you be formally scheduling time for you, you should pay yourself or put yourself first. Make sure to schedule your needs in early at the time that works for you (probably not at the end of the day when you’ve given all you’ve got away and are completely out of mojo). Once you have your me-time commitments scheduled, allow your life to flow around them. This will probably feel much different than trying to squeeze yourself into nonexistent cracks in your life!
- Find the right people. Although you may feel shy or self-conscious, going it alone is almost never the best option when you want to set yourself up for success. Whenever possible, find at least one other person who can be a companion on this journey. You want to focus on finding someone who is at least as motivated as you are. Your goal is to have someone else who will inspire, motivate, provide accountability, and hopefully, make this all more fun. Beware of choosing people who aren’t committed to succeeding. This is not a time that you want to spend with whiners or naysayers. In addition to a companion, you also want to look for someone who is ahead of you—someone who has found success or has the tools and expertise that you need. One of the easiest things you can do to be successful is to set yourself up with someone who can provide direction and show you that success is possible. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when others have gone before you.
- Be concrete. Be really clear with yourself about what you expect to do and to accomplish. If you focus on “getting to the gym more” or “eating less” you are more likely to be wishy-washy in your actions and unclear about what you are really accomplishing. If you are going to stop eating after dinner or start packing a lunch or go to the gym every Monday and Wednesday and Friday morning, you will know whether you are on track.This is another success secret that many women find themselves resisting. When I say be concrete, I mean write out your goals and the action steps you are willing to commit to. Keeping them “in your head” or “knowing what you need to do” doesn’t work as well. There is one more important reason that you want to be concrete and clear. It helps if you tend to be too hard on yourself. As long as your goals and steps are do-able, you won’t be able to deny the fact that you are accomplishing something. Giving yourself credit for steps achieved is important to creating lasting change.
- Create rituals. Successful business owners rely on systems. So do most busy people. Interestingly, even the most organized and systematic often ignore this success secret when it comes to taking charge of their own weight or wellbeing. The easiest way to create lasting success is to keep it simple and avoid having to make more decisions or tough choices than you have to. One way to avoid this is to create rituals or habits or routines around the changes you are trying to make. Set aside a regular time for journaling or meal planning. If you are chronically sleep deprived, set some ground rules related to when you WILL go to bed. Create a systematic way of making sure you have the groceries that you need, a standing date with your support buddy or coach. Focus on creating systems that allow your action steps to flow.
I’ve already warned you. These tips are very powerful and deceptively simple. If you are tempted to nod your head knowingly and still skip them, it means you need them more. Put these strategies in place and your hard work will take place on a much stronger foundation.
Take good care,
A success ritual I strongly recommend is taking a few minutes of time to connect with yourself and set your course at the start of every day. My fully downloadable Success Soundtrack™ program helps you do just that. If you’d like to be able to hit “play” on your mp3 player and spend ten minutes getting clear on your intentions, your action steps, or your plan for being effective. This is the resource that I recommend.