Wednesday 17 January 2018

Set the right type of goals

Making a plan and sticking to it will help you on your weight loss journey, says Karl Henry

Making a plan and sticking to it will help you on your weight loss journey
Making a plan and sticking to it will help you on your weight loss journey
Jessica Ennis of Great Britain celebrates winning gold in the Women's Heptathlon on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Karl Henry

WHAT do Jessica Ennis, Katie Taylor, Roy Keane and Alex Ferguson all have in common? They all wanted to become the best at what they did. They set that goal and did everything they could to achieve it.

Their determination, will to succeed and hard work ensured that they wouldn't give up until they hit their target.

They were willing to make the necessary sacrifices, and do whatever was required to help them achieve their goals.

What can us mere mortals learn from this? By setting targets, working towards them and committing to making some sacrifices, we, too, can achieve our goals.

Goal setting, achieving and reward are the three key aspects to successful weight loss, fitness gains or even success in work. No matter what you apply it to, this cycle will make a big difference in your life.

Without goals you are simply drifting through life or drifting in your weight loss efforts. You need to commit to doing more than just trying to lose weight; your goal should be broken down in to specific and measurable targets so that you know exactly what you are working towards.

If you don't have a destination then how are you going to get there? Fear not! I will show you exactly how to set the right type of goals and how to keep doing well, even once you achieve them.

Firstly you need to find your real goal. This should go a little beyond simply wanting to achieve something. For example, if you want to get fit or lose weight, you need to delve a little deeper: how much weight would you like to lose? Be specific and make it realistic.

1 The ideal first step is a brain dump: take out a sheet of paper and simply empty out all of your thoughts on the paper about what you would like to do. No matter how big or small the goal, write them all down.

Now walk away from it for a few hours. When you come back to it, take your pen and circle the ones that are most important to you. This is the easiest way to identify your primary goals. Simply list these in order of importance and now you have your real goal.

2 Finding your goal is the hard work. Now make it specific. Give it a number: a weight or a time and how many weeks you would like to achieve your goal in. By making it specific you are building a structure, which will help you to stay on track.

3 Now that you have a specific goal and a specific deadline, it's time to break down your goal on a weekly and perhaps even daily basis. For instance, if your goal is to lose a stone in seven weeks, you should break this down weekly: you now need to lose two pounds each week. Smaller goals like this make the overall target seem much more doable. This is the method that I use with my clients with great success.

Now break it down even further. To lose two pounds a week what must you do? You need to walk and do some resistance exercises three or four times a week.

Again, by micromanaging these goals, everything seems easier and more doable.

4 Now you have your structured plan of action with great goals set up to achieve. Break it down on a weekly or daily basis and work towards achieving it, one small goal at a time. The next step is the fun part: the reward.

No matter what your goal is, when you achieve it, pat yourself on the back and reward yourself with a treat. Treats can be different for different people, but no matter what you choose, rewarding yourself essential.

You are reinforcing positive achievement and the feel-good factor that comes with doing well and making it fun.

5 Once you have your treat, it's not time to rest on your laurels. It's now time to set the next goal. By setting constant goals all year round you avoid the chance of falling off the wagon as so many people do.

This goal could simply be maintaining your achievements, but by going through the same process of adding structure and specifics, you will become focused, disciplined and determined because you know when you achieve the next goal you will be entitled to another treat.

This cycle is exactly what I use myself and with my clients to get the best results possible. It is something that I have tried and tested and I know it works.

It's simple, fun and will help you achieve your goals, just like Katie Taylor did in London last year!

Irish Independent

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