Goals for the New Year: A Strategy to Succeed Pt. 2

In the first installment on this topic we discussed the idea that we are all capable of manifesting our goals. As the new year unfolds we start to see that its not always as easy as just naming a goal and making it happen. In smoking cessation we call it “cold turkey” and some people seem able to do it this way. They wake up on the first day of the year and say “I’ll never smoke again!” and sure enough they are able to stay true and make it happen. Its the same way with weight loss; some people can say “I’m done with junk food and that’s that!”…

This style never has worked for me. Somehow the desire is always there to make change, but the will-power itself can fluctuate and sometimes disappear altogether, leaving me to “fall off the wagon” and either give up on my efforts or more often start to work only half-heartedly towards my goals and never really reach them. Will power is an energy force, much like libido, and as most of us have experienced, sometimes the feeling is there and sometimes its not. There are things we can do to try and boost our will power, but the most helpful thing I’ve experienced when it comes to boosting will power is to have some success. When we are working towards a goal, sometimes we just need a little momentum in the right direction to get the ball rolling and get us building up some steam. This leads to the question of how to begin, or how to have a few little successes so we can build up to the large success of achieving our goal.

The first step is to have a clearly defined goal. We need to know exactly what it is we are wanting to accomplish. For the purpose of this discussion we are talking mostly about weight loss or smoking cessation but we can replace those with any goal you may think of. Lets use weight loss as our example. To begin you need to get a notebook. Go to the store and get a small journal or notebook. Get one with an attractive cover or put a couple stickers on it or draw a nice picture. This notebook is going to be traveling with you for a while so make it something you can feel good about, something that motivates you. I like to put Spiderman stickers on mine because 1. I’m a comic book nerd and 2. The image of Spiderman motivates me to work hard and take responsibility for my life.

Once you have a notebook and a clearly defined goal, you need to do a 2 week assessment of your habits. This should be the easy part. For two weeks, observe and record your food intake and your energy output. Don’t seek to make any changes at this point, just observe and record. Remember that there are two basic ways to lose weight- eat less calories or burn more calories. Obviously a well rounded approach will include both. But in order to know the specifics of how to change we really need to take stock of where we stand in the beginning. Once we  have a clear picture of our behaviors as they are, we will have a much easier time forming a strategy of how to adjust those behaviors in an effective and lasting way. We’ll discuss the next steps in the coming installments on this topic.

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