Goals- set them and achieve them

I find it both frustrating and bothersome when people set wellness goals yet do nothing to achieve them.

You want to choose healthier food options but frequently dine at Cracker Barrel.

You talk about running a marathon but never put in the training hours to prepare.

You want to shed some weight but consume alcohol every night.

Success stories share these commonalities: dedication and sacrifice. Read any magazine excerpt about women who have lost a notable amount of weight and it’ll mention how they changed their eating habits and incorporated exercise into their daily routine.

Changes cannot be made without will. And, no, it won’t be easy. If it were, the world would be full of supermodel thin, marathon runners.  Everybody has the willpower to reach success despite what you might think.  Don’t sabotage your goals by releasing all will. Success doesn’t happen overnight nor all at once. Take small steps to change your life.

1.  Find a reason to succeed.  Whether it be your health, a loved one, or yourself, choose a motivation.  If ever you feel like giving up, think about how it felt to lie in the hospital bed uncertain of your future or pull out a photograph of your sons running around the park.  You’re more likely to hold steady to your wellness plan this way.

2. Plan ahead.  Of course it’s almost always easier to eat a healthy meal at home than at a restaurant.   But we don’t live in the 1950’s.  Dining out has become commonplace and unavoidable.  Before heading to a restaurant, look up the calories for menu items online.  Many restaurants offer this information allowing you to choose wisely.   You’re more likely to order a healthier dish once you’ve seen how many calories are in Fettuccine Alfredo.  Which leads me to my next tip…

3. Choose restaurants that allow you to succeed.  Never ever eat at Cracker Barrel. When a restaurant advises its customers to “loosen your belt”, run away. There are healthier options like catfish and veggies; however, even that dish tastes as if it took a bath in oil and fat. My advice is to skip CB at all costs. You can find better quality food and healthier options at plenty of other chains.  Do you have a Seasons 52 locally?  All items on their menu are 475 calories or less, and nothing is prepared with butter or oil.  Best restaurant ever!

4. Make exercising a priority. There might not always be enough hours in the day, but you’ll just have to make time. My alarm used to wake me up at 5 am every morning before work so I could go for my run. I know myself; If I waited until after work, I would be more likely to opt for the couch over the treadmill. I planned my weekly exercise days in advance. If I knew I was going to stay out late on Wednesday night, I’d schedule Thursday as a rest day so I could sleep in. I allowed myself only two rest days a week so I had to plan accordingly. Take a look a your schedule, where can you add in activity? If you have access to a treadmill and a tablet, watch your favorite TV shows on demand while walking! It’s a great way to keep moving.

5. Remember this rule: there is nothing nutritious about white flour. Opt for anything with whole grains or 100% whole wheat. You’ll feel more satiated with whole grains than with white flour. If you choose to eat gluten free, pick brown rice and sweet potatoes over their white counterparts.  I love the taste of all things white as much as the next guy.  Heck, I’ve eaten a loaf of white bread in a single sitting on multiple occasions (though it’s been ten years since that last happened), but I now understand that whole grains keep me fuller longer.

6.  Lastly, stop making excuses.  I firmly believe that if you want something badly enough, you give 110% until you’ve obtained it.  Too often we blame outside factors for our failures.  I was at this party and there were no healthy food options so I just binged on everything they served.  I already fell off the wagon, why not just enjoy it?  Sound familiar?  If you know you’re going to a party and are uncertain of the food, eat a large salad before you leave the house, or bring a healthy potluck dish.  Chances are you’re not the only person watching her weight.  I want to sign up to run a race, but I’ve never been a runner.  Trust me, we all start somewhere.  Pick a training method like the Galloway Method and you’ll have tools to help you through that race.  There is a chance you may not finish if there is a time restriction, but at least you’re making the effort to reach your goal.

Living a healthier lifestyle has never been easier than it is today.  Tools for success surround us all: magazines, blogs, Pinterest.  Be sure to use them, and if you have questions, always remember to consult the experts: doctors, coaches, and nutritionists.

Good luck on your journey, whatever that may be!

Courtesy of Women's Health

Courtesy of Women’s Health

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