A few years ago I read a book titled, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s intended to motivate people into action concerning their goals in life with advice and strategies for success. In his chapter named Desire, Hill outlines Six Ways to Turn Desire Into Gold. The concepts were so logical, simple, and doable, I thought if they can work towards success in areas like making money and snatching that dream job, surely they can work for my weight-loss goals! Now this is not some magical formula; the concepts are simple. But at the heart of it lies the reason that the people who are successful simply are: They know how to turn their desires into goals and then into action towards results. So, I took Hill’s six steps for financial success and modified it for weight-loss success. It has been the catalyst for my weight-loss journey and has helped me meet daily, weekly, and monthly goals. So here they are: Yari’s (very unofficial) Six Ways to Lose Weight.
1. Decide in your mind the exact amount of weight you want to lose.
Having a specific number in mind gives you a target to hone in on. Making your goals measurable enables you to track and celebrate your little victories along the way. It also helps you devise a plan that’s suitable and relevant to your goal. When you don’t have a target in mind, you can become overwhelmed and discouraged by vague wishes that lead you into aimless wandering; a desire that doesn’t get translated into goals or an action plan.
2. Decide what you will give in return for the weight-loss you want.
Ahh yes! You have to give something in order to see results! This is critical. In this weight-loss scenario, what you give can include the changes you will make in your diet; how much you will work out, including the days and times of the week; the resources you’ll use to strengthen your mind, like motivational books, meditation, or anything that you use to help keep you motivated or focused.
3. Establish a definite date by which you intend to lose the weight.
It is important that this target date is realistic. Planning on losing 30 pounds in a month is neither realistic nor attainable, and it can really take the wind out of your sails when you feel like you haven’t met that goal. Having a goal-date that is reasonable keeps you energized and encouraged, for if it is realistic, there’s a great chance you’ll see yourself moving towards and meeting your goals, and that in itself gives you the self-motivation you need to keep going. Don’t sabotage your potential success by expecting change to happen faster than it can. You can set one realistic long term goal and then have smaller measurable goals en route. The smaller goals give you opportunities to celebrate and reward yourself when you attain them, and because they occur within a shorter amount of time, you can keep the challenge fresh and new along the way.
4. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin immediately – whether you’re ready or not – to put this plan into action.
The key word here is “definite.” This step may seem nit-picky, but I’ve found it to be integral to the success of all six steps. There will be days and even weeks when motivation is low. It’s bound to happen. But with a clearly defined plan, you will have the tools required to push through those moments. When your emotions and desires say “no,” your plan will always say “yes” because as the blueprint for your weight-loss journey, it will give you the stability you need when things get rocky. It’s like having a road map that keeps you on track when you’re tempted to stray.
First refer to Step 2 when you decided what you would give in return for weight-loss. Your definite plan can then include the foods you will eat and the ones you will eliminate; the days and times you will work out (scheduling this as you would any other responsibility in your day is crucial to success); even the rewards you will give yourself when you achieve your mini-goals. You can also detail contingencies should situations arise that can potentially debunk Plan A.
Life will always happen, and having a backup plan that will allow you to stick to your goals will prevent you from being taken by surprise. However, understand that if you deviate from your plan – whether it’s plan A, B, or C – don’t beat yourself up or concede defeat. Missing a workout or eating something that’s not a part of your nutrition goals is not failure at all! Failure is stumbling and not getting back up.
5. Write a clear, concise statement of the number of pounds you want to lose; name the deadline for this weight-loss; what you will give in return for this weight-loss; and describe the plan you will use to achieve it.
I wrote my statement in my diet and fitness journal. Here’s a short example:
- My goal is to lose 30 pounds by October 31st, 2014.
- In return for those 30 pounds, I will work out five days a week with a mixture of cardio and strength training.
- My plan is to eat whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, healthy nuts and seeds, lean chicken breast and fish, and I will drink only water. I will also maintain a food and exercise journal to record my daily progress.
6. Read your written statement aloud twice daily; once first thing upon waking and once more before going to bed at night. As you read, visualize yourself as if you’ve already lost weight.
This is so important. Hearing myself read this in the morning gives me the focus I need to workout on those morning that I REALLY don’t want to! During the day when I crave a food that I know is just flat out unhealthy, it’s not hard to stay motivated. And at night when I read my statement for the last time, I can identify areas of weakness in my focus or the plan itself and make improvements the next day. Reading your statement out loud makes you your own best cheerleader! And hey, if you need to go to it more than twice a day, go for it! It’s YOUR plan!
As you begin to work towards your weight-loss, fitness and nutrition goals, you may need to change your statement. After losing my first 30 pounds, I needed to challenge my body even more, so I changed my workouts and included those changes in my statement. Feel free to tweak it to fit your life and your progress and watch it work for you!
Remember, this is not written in stone. You can customize and tweak these six steps to fit your personality, lifestyle and progress. No doubt with kids, you’ll be making several adjustments to the plan, but ADJUST, don’t abandon. And make it challenging, make it fun, but most of all make it yours! It’s time to arm yourself with everything you need to stay on YOUR course!