Do you remember being told to line up in size places in elementary school?  How about getting a star for hanging stuff up in your cubby – or winning a candy bar for hitting the most tennis balls over the net?

We’re a goal-oriented society.  From very early on we learn to work toward a goal or an end result – and often receive some kind of reward if we succeed.

Why not apply that focus to healthy eating and managing your weight?

Goals Can Be Tricky

Have you seen the hang-dog look on an athlete’s face when he or she is in a goal scoring drought?  What about the look on a goalie’s face when that blasted ball or puck lands in the net?

The same thing holds true for goals we might set for ourselves.  Many of us set these broad – huge – goals that are virtually impossible to accomplish.  For instance, (despite Biggest Loser results) you’re not going to lose thirty pounds by the end of next week.

All those huge non-specific goals just end up making you feel positively awful when you don’t succeed at achieving them.  You’ve basically set yourself up for failure and you’ll be physically and/or emotionally sporting that hang-dog demeanor.

Are You Starting Small And Specific Enough?

So many of us are guilty of all-or-nothing thinking and overly ambitious goals. Guess what happens?  We shoot ourselves in our collective feet and call ourselves failures.  Do it often enough and we solidly embed a “no can do” attitude and habit in our brains.

The key is to start with very small, realistic, and accomplishable goals – like putting mustard on your sandwich instead of mayo, or riding your exercise bike for 15 minutes three days this week (instead of saying you’ll ride for an hour seven days – most likely it ain’t gonna happen).

Write your goal down (writing reinforces it) and set a time target for achieving it. Leaving it open ended is just an invitation to put off taking the necessary action (a form of procrastination).  Commit to taking whatever action is required twice a week, then three times, then everyday. Start small and with things that are fairly easy to do and that don’t disrupt your lifestyle. Get some success under your belt.  Then move on to bigger challenges.

You’ll be amazed at how good you feel with a nice sense of accomplishment tucked under your belt.  Makes you want to go back for more!

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