I’m a very goal-oriented person; I like to see results, and I like to see those results sooner rather than later. (I’m willing to guess that I’m not alone on this.) So shortly after I started the Best Life, I realized that I was having a really hard time because my ultimate goal—to lose 100-plus pounds—just didn’t seem obtainable to me. It seemed more like a mountain than a molehill. So I decided to take that 100-plus-pounds goal down a little bit. I made an effort to focus on shorter-term goals that were more immediately within my reach. For instance, I made it my goal to lose just five pounds.
Focusing on losing five pounds instead of 105 pounds made a big difference for me because each day, instead of feeling overwhelmed by my goal, I was able to focus on how I could reach it. I made a conscious effort about what I put in my mouth by asking myself: “Am I really hungry or does this just taste good?” I did the same with exercise, telling myself to simply move more everyday. (It doesn’t hurt that I have an amazing wife who empowers me to work towards these goals everyday, and embraces them with me!)
Every time I achieved a five-pound loss, I would celebrate. This wouldn’t mean celebrating in the way most people do—treating myself to an ice-cream cone or a piece of cake or some other food reward. It means that I’d get to jump up and down and relish the fact that I was able to obtain a goal that I’d set! Then, I’d get to set a new goal (another five pounds maybe?).
Soon after, I decided to change my goal from “I want to lose five pounds” to “I’m going to beat what I did yesterday.” I knew that if I was a little more active than I was yesterday, the five-pound goal would naturally come. It was just a way for me to push myself a little more, yet still be able to meet the five-pound goal.
It worked perfectly because I’m very competitive—mostly with myself, but hey, if my son wants to race to the corner, sometimes even dad gets to win. Challenging myself to constantly improve turned out to be a very motivating goal. I would push myself to walk another tenth of a mile on the treadmill or jog for five seconds longer. My goal was simply to add just a little bit more each time.
Think about it, we all can do something for just a little bit longer. As much as we like to think it will kill us, we need to know that it won’t. As I would approach the treadmill in the morning, I knew that my endurance was better than it was the day before (a perk of working out), and so today I could add just a little bit more, go just a little further.
The best thing about the treadmill is that you can speed it up or slow it down. If you speed it up, even if it’s for just 30 seconds or 1 minute over the course of a 30-minute walk, by the time you’ve finished, you will have gone just a little bit further today than you did yesterday! And you’d have achieved the goal to add a little more. And you know what that means? Time to celebrate!
Your “a little bit more” goal could be as simple as parking further away from the front of the grocery store, or walking up to the second floor instead of riding the elevator. Each of these goals puts you ahead of where you were yesterday and that much closer to living your best life. So, set your goal, see your goal, accomplish your goal, own your goal—and most importantly, CELEBRATE once you achieve that goal!