Set goals which change your life NOW

by Ali on November 3, 2008

One of the problems that many dieters face is that they set the goal to “lose 50lbs” and focus purely on the anticipated future happiness that this will bring. But that’s little help when you’re facing a day-by-day struggle with willpower and self-discipline.

Setting goals to improve your daily life

I’ve been reading a very insightful book called Personal Development for Smart People, by one of my favourite bloggers, Steve Pavlina. (Look out for a full review at some point soon on The Office Diet!) His words about goals in chapter three really struck me a few days ago:

“The point of goal setting is to improve the quality of your present-moment reality. … Many people set goals and then assume the path to reach them will require suffering and sacrifice.”

I think there’s a lot in this which particularly applies to dieters. We’re often in the mindset that diet = deprivation, that we have to go through “suffering and sacrifice” in order to shape up, to lose those unwanted pounds, or to improve our health.

What if, instead, we looked at a diet as something to improve our life today? How would this change the way you approach your dieting and the goals which you set for yourself?

Diet goals for today, not the future

For me, this means:

Getting regular exercise. I know that I feel less stressed, more “balanced” and more energetic if I go to the gym. Those aren’t effects which I need to wait months and months for … they happen straight away!

Eating foods I enjoy. Please don’t force yourself to eat things you don’t really like, just because you’re “on a diet”. If you think you don’t like any healthy foods, you just need to experiment a bit more!

Feeling in control. Would you rather be in control of what you eat, or would you rather food was controlling you? I like to be able to say “no” to chocolate when I know I’ve already eaten enough, or when I’m planning an indulgent dinner.

Having time to relax over meals. I love eating a leisurely meal with my boyfriend, or just taking some time in the middle of the day to browse through a magazine or book whilst having lunch. If you’re cutting down on what you eat, make sure you give yourself time to enjoy your meals to the full!

So instead of having the goal to “be 10lbs lighter by Christmas”, why not try setting goals like these?

  • “I want to have more energy and enthusiasm every day.”
  • “I want to know that I can eat chocolate if I want – and that I can turn it down if I want.”
  • “I want to sit down and spend time over my meals.”
  • “I want to try three new foods every week.”

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