Staying on Top of Your Goals
It’s the new year and I encourage you to set new goals if you haven’t already. You can start a healthy lifestyle any day you’d like, but the new year is often the most popular time to make a change. If losing weight and getting in shape are part of your new year’s resolutions, it is important for you to realize that you will need to be patient with your body. Adopting a new healthy lifestyle certainly does not happen overnight and, if it did, you might burn out quickly. Here are a few tips I recommend for starting healthy habits and following through.
Make Weekly Goals
It is all too common to constantly focus on an end goal. For example, setting out to lose forty pounds is a great goal to set, but understand that it’s a process and it won’t happen overnight. Instead of focusing on that end result every day, make small weekly goals. These goals need to be specific. Perhaps set a goal to drink a gallon of water a day or to eat a healthy meal every three hours to rev up your metabolism. These small, yet significant, accomplishments will lead to big changes, so stay consistent.
It’s completely natural to want others to recognize your progress immediately. Who doesn’t want a pat on the back for hard work? However, you have to understand that it takes several weeks for your body to adapt to changes in your meal plan and workouts. It took me three to four months of consistent clean eating and lifting weights to transform my body. It was only then that other people started noticing. I had dropped half my body fat so it was a significant change.
Be your own cheerleader and don’t rely on praise from others to motivate you. Another helpful tip to stay motivated is to create a focus/vision bulletin board in your home. Hang up photos, quotes, recipes or whatever motivates you. Position the bulletin board in a place where you will see it every day and have no choice but to stay motivated- it really helps! Also, surround yourself with supportive people. If you are having trouble with that and your family or loved ones are being unsupportive, create a blog or Facebook community page for fitness. It always helps to find like-minded people with goals similar to yours. Trust me, you are never alone.
Acknowledge and Track Progress
During my own transformation, I realized that watching the number on the scale was discouraging. When you lift weights, you build muscle. Muscle takes up less room in your body than fat does, so you appear smaller simply by replacing fat with muscle. I weighed one hundred forty pounds at 24% body fat and still weighed the same at 15% body fat. If I had gone solely by what the scale showed, I might have given up on my goals. I quit weighing myself and started taking progress pictures and measurements. I also judged progress on how my clothes fit. During that transformation, I dropped from a size eight or ten to a size four, all while weighing the same. In my opinion, who cares what you weigh? It’s how you’re built and how you feel that matters. I encourage you not to set your sites on a specific weight, but perhaps a clothing size or another specific goal. For example, squatting a certain amount of weight, doing twenty pull ups or push ups, or fitting in that little black dress.
Be patient and be nice to yourself. Often times, the only encouraging voice we hear is our own conscience. Others may not understand our goals, and that’s okay. You don’t need anyone’s permission to go after a goal. I believe our ability to follow through comes from motivation within. It’s simply the knowledge that you have to answer to yourself. Choose realistic short term goals that lead you toward that BIG long-term goal. Step by step, you’ll get there. Be patient and know that a lifestyle change is a lifelong commitment. I am often asked, “Kelsey, how long do I have to eat healthy and workout?” My answer is simple: as long as you want to look and feel great.
Reason or Excuse?
Last but not least, if something holds you back from meeting a short term goal, consider the circumstances. What held you back? Was it a valid reason OR was it an excuse? A valid reason would be illness, your child was sick, etc. Your body needs rest when you fall ill. Sometimes you are the only person that can care for a family member who needs you. Health and family are the priorities. If you are sick, then rest. Be nice to yourself if you have a valid reason for not meeting a goal. You don’t want to feel guilty if you have a valid reason. Once you take care of the situation, pick up where you left off. If you miss the gym, just be sure to keep your meals clean and healthy. Your results are 80% nutrition, 20% training.
An excuse is invalid reasoning used to justify why you are not meeting your goals (e.g. your favorite TV show was on, you went shopping instead, you were lazy, etc.) I know that when I fail to focus on my water intake and miss meals, my body is weak and I don’t feel like going to the gym that evening. If I miss meals because of laziness, that’s an excuse. I set myself up for that failure. Something that helped me focus was setting a timer on my phone for every three hours as a reminder to eat. I also keep a gallon of water on my desk at work to help me keep track of my water intake throughout the work day. Here’s the key point: figure out the difference between your reasons and excuses. If there is something you could have done differently to make sure that goal was accomplished, then it’s often an excuse. Our brains are powerful. We can talk ourselves into or out of anything. Make sure your brain is the boss and committed to your goals. Your body will follow its orders.
Eat clean and follow your dreams.
Kelsey Byers is an author and Labrada Nutrition sponsored athlete. She has a fifty-pound weight loss success story and prides herself in promoting a healthy lifestyle. She entered the fitness industry in 2010 when she took 3rd place in her first NPC bikini competition. Since then, she has created a twelve-week weight loss challenge called The Lean Body for Her Challenge with Kelsey Byers which has inspired thousands of women to meet their own weight loss goals.