How do you set your goals?
When you find yourself entrenched in the world of fitness and dieting, there is no shortage of things to feel overwhelmed about. It’s tough enough to sift through all the information out there, let alone to try to do research on top of it to find out what’s true and what isn’t. But there’s one thing you can do right off the bat that will help point your compass in the direction you need to go. You really need to ask yourself the following question: “What do I want?”
Everyone wants to lose fat and build muscle.
Asking yourself “what are my goals” is absolutely imperative. Most people who come to Macros Inc. for coaching have multiple goals; usually two big ones. They want to lose fat and build muscle. Heh, join the club. It all sounds very easy in principle:
Eat Less. Boom – Lose fat.
Lift weights. Boom – Build muscle.
Except it’s ten times harder than it sounds, and it takes ten million times longer than it took you to read this paragraph. We don’t say any of this to discourage you, but rather to set the correct expectation. After you’ve asked yourself what you want, the next most important thing to do is to set realistic expectations. People who have unrealistic expectations are more likely to give up.
Where’s your head at?
Losing weight is a numbers game, but even more so it is a mental game and a tough one at that. As coaches, we do our best to help clients set realistic expectations and goals. But oftentimes, nothing we say on the front end will fully prepare them for what they’re up against. This is usually a learning process we work through with each client to help them recognize the role their mental determination plays in their success.
There are going to be days where you want to say f*ck it and give up. Every one of us has had those days. Setting the correct expectations right off the bat helps to manage those feelings. Here’s the hard truth:
- You’re not going to lose weight every week.
- You’re not going to hit your numbers spot-on every day.
- You’re not always going to go to the gym when you had planned to.
Ultimately, setting the correct expectation begins with understanding that you are going to need to rely on discipline. Coaches can give you all the tools, but we can’t force you to use them. So right away, expect to do some work, and know that it will be hard. In fact, expect it to be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done in your life. But rest assured, you can do whatever it takes, even when it seems impossible.
Don’t set unrealistic timelines.
One of the biggest things we help clients with is setting good timelines. A common mistake people make that ends up causing frustration and/or failure is setting an unrealistic timeline. Of course it’s okay to have a goal weight in mind, although even this can be a moving target. What we really like to assist people with is setting a realistic timeframe for achieving that goal weight and teach them to be okay with pushing it back when life happens. Remember, it took your entire life to get you to the point you’re at now – a point with which you’re unhappy. In comparison, even a year of dieting should seem like the blink of an eye.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Lastly, understand that certain goals require incremental steps. For example, to lose fat and build muscle often takes multiple cycles of cutting and bulking in order to achieve your desired physique. You may diet down your first time and lose 60 lbs. Despite that last little bit of fluff on your lower abs that just won’t go away, it is still time to start adding muscle and gaining some strength. Do this for a while and then go back to attack the fat again. You’ve got more muscle now than you did before, use it to your advantage. Kick the sh*t out of some weights. Destroy your workouts. Dieting will be easier this time around because you have a better idea about what to expect. You have learned what’s necessary, and understand the hard work and the time it takes. The best part is you no longer seek immediacy.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
The biggest piece of advice we can give you if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey is to practice what’s necessary over and over and over until it becomes a habitual, routine part of your life. When you make it to that point, the things required to lose weight cease to be annoying and inconvenient, and you just do them because it’s who you are. The beginning is the hardest part because you have to actively engage in trying to change your habits. Bottom line: decide what you want, set the right expectations, be disciplined, and be patient. If you can adopt these qualities, you will succeed. I guarantee it.
If you want more tips on how to cultivate the necessary habits and behaviors that are going to prepare you for sustained, lifelong weight loss, join our Facebook group. We’re all here to help, and always willing to help you discover abilities you never knew you had. Join us!