When I work with clients who want to lose weight, they often want to talk about diet on our first meeting. While the food we chose does play a BIG role in weight loss, there’s one thing I’m much more interested in talking about on Day 1.
The thing most people overlook, but that will shape the rest of their weight loss journey.
I want to know the reason WHY you want to lose weight.
And I’m not talking about some vague answer like “to be more healthy”. An answer like that just doesn’t cut it.
Because from experience, when the going gets tough (ex. you gets cravings, you’re too tired to go to the gym, etc.), “being healthier” isn’t a compelling reason enough to push through. And that’s why people quit, and stay the same weight.
Let’s face it, losing weight isn’t a walk in the park. Especially not in the beginning.
Change isn’t comfortable.
But it can be done successfully.
And it does get easier the longer you stick to it.
For this to happen, you need to be crystal clear on why you’re creating this change, and what’s on the other side of discomfort.
In other words, you need to clearly identify your goal and what your future self is going to look like. Let’s see how we can do this.
Clarifying your weight loss goals
What is it that you want to achieve?
Where is that you want to be?
The best place to start is to identify your end result (or destination). For example, you might say that your goal is to be healthy. Consider that until you define what “healthy” means for you, your goal is pretty vague.
However, if you know that being healthy means:
- not getting sick in the winter
- having the energy to go to dance classes twice a week
- being fit enough to go up and down the stairs without feeling breathless
- playing with your grandchildren without feeling pain in your knees
- fitting nicely in your clothes
- shopping in the “regular size” side of the store
- or not being on prescriptions,
you now know what healthy means to you. It’s concrete.
You know what you’re working towards.
It’s a vision that’s much more compelling to stick to, and that will guide you through the discomfort of change. Because you know what the end result looks like, and you know it’s 100% worth the discomfort.
WHY is this goal important to you?
You also want to know your why – why do you want to be healthy or lose 20 pounds? Your why is usually tied to an emotion you think obtaining a goal will provide you with.
Maybe you have a goal to lose 20 pounds to fit into a dress for an event. Why is that important? Truth is, it’s probably not about the dress. It’s most likely about how you will feel; more confident, perhaps. Your why is usually layers underneath your initial answer.
Here’s a vision one of my clients wrote that painted a very compelling future for her:
“I have the energy to play with my grandkids in the park without getting breathless and needing to stop. I can actually push them on the swings and play tag with them, instead of simply sitting on the bench and watching them play. I’m able to move with ease, without pain in my joints, and go on afternoon walks with my husband and even the occasional weekend hikes on my favorite paths. My new lighter body allows me to go traveling. I know this sounds silly, but I want to be able to fit in a single airplane seat and not ask for the seat belt extension! I get to fully enjoy my retirement, instead of wasting my time with constant doctor appointments or worry about my health.”
Every morning, she would read this statement aloud. And from there, she would decide what actions she will take that day to make this vision a reality.
I can guarantee you she faced cravings just like everyone else. She faced temptation at parties. Didn’t feel like taking a walk on a rainy day. Felt like ordering take-out was much easier than cooking her own meal. But her vision was so compelling to her that she took action anyways.
And I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t have happened if her goal was simply to “become more healthy”.
So I encourage you to always get clear on your why before you make any change in your life, because change causes discomfort.
You want something powerful enough to help you get through the unease to the other side of transformation. It need to be deeply personal to you and something you care about.
I know I sound like a broken record by now, but ask yourself why do you want to reach your goals? What would that really mean to you and what would that feel like?
If you don’t have an emotional attachment to your goals, they aren’t usually as meaningful or motivating. What’s going to get you moving on those days you really don’t ‘feel like’ it?
Your “why” is what will help you stay committed when achieving your goal seems too hard or challenging.
Exercise for figuring out your WHY
Need help figuring out your Why?
Here’s an example to walk you through the process if you need help getting started:
I have a goal to ______________________________________________________________________
This is important to me because ____________________________________________________________
and I want to ______________________________________________________________________
and feel like ______________________________________________________________________
and this would mean _____________________________________________________________________
(Yes, I know there are a few “because” spaces in there. That’s the most important part in getting to your WHY).
Focus daily on your vision
When you’re done uncovering your why, I invite you to write down what your life will look like once you’ve achieved your goal. Write in detail what you’ll be able to do, and how you will feel.
Make it personal. Make it super compelling.
In addition, write out your vision in the present tense, as if you’ve already achieved your goal.
Read this statement aloud to yourself each morning.
Because what you focus on you get more of.
Yes, the food you eat, the portion control, the exercise, all of that are important tools to help you get to your goal. But first, you need to know what your goal is, where you’re going and what you’re looking to achieve.
So today, get clear on your WHY and your GOAL.
If you have any question about this subject, let me know in the comments below. Also, if you know a friend who would benefit from this article, make sure to share it with them.
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