It’s mid-February, which for many of us means one thing: a reality check. We’ve had a chance to say goodbye to the holidays and come face-to-face with our health goals in the New Year…
… and most of us have realized this is not going to be easy.
As it turns out, changing our diet — be it eating fewer calories, increasing veggie intake, battling the sugar addiction, or all of the above — isn’t something that simply happens when we set the goal. Same with exercise. If our schedules, social environments and energy levels were already conducive to these changes, we probably would have done them already.
Adopting healthy habits often requires making major life changes. It’s no wonder we get “lead feet” when it comes to that first step.
When writer Chris Guillebeau set a goal to visit every country in the world, he was confronted with a similarly daunting task, and a flood of doubt. One hundred and ninety-three countries later, he had discovered the art of tackling a really big goal.
His secret? Committing.
Whether your goal is to visit 193 countries or just visit the vending machines less often (the latter being harder, in my opinion!), committing to your goal is what sets it in motion.
If we treat our own health journey like a quest, we can transform it from a vague idea to a new way of life in the same way. Here are 5 ways to commit to your goals:
1. Put a Number on It
This is essential to making the goal concrete and achievable. Rather than saying “I want to eat healthy and get in shape,” reframe it as something specific, such as “I want to eat a good breakfast every day” or “I want to be able to run two miles.” Even committing to a specific time frame like our 12-week Shape Up Challenge is a great way to give your goal some structure.
2. Divide That Number Into Smaller Numbers
Dividing a big goal into mini goals with smaller timeframes makes it less scary. Plus, sometimes we need an approaching deadline! Maybe you want to take the breakfast challenge and eat a healthy breakfast every day for one week. Or set a reward for every 10 pounds lost, like our Challenge winner Leigh did. Once you reach that mini milestone, repeat!
3. Visualize It
Like David Meine, IdealShape’s CEO, teaches: you have to see it to believe it. Oftentimes a lack of believing that we can actually succeed at something leads to subconscious sabotage. Picturing yourself doing an activity helps it to feel real and increase confidence. It also puts the back of your mind to work on the details.
4. Tell People About It
This serves two purposes: accountability and social support. If we tell others about our commitment to dine out less or lose 35 pounds, we’ll feel those eyes on us and be more likely to actually do it. Perhaps even more importantly, we can enlist their support and hopefully eliminate some of that peer pressure.
5. Buy the Supplies
Not only does investing in the tools you need send a message to your subconscious that you’re serious about achieving the goal, but oftentimes, it removes one of the biggest obstacles. No backing out now. 😉
Ready, set, STEP!