Every success story begins with a goal. Whether it’s losing 10 pounds, running a marathon, learning to cook healthy meals, or establishing a yoga practice, to be successful it helps to visualize how your life will be enriched not only upon reaching it but along the pathway.
Set a Goal, a Reason for the Goal, and Your own Measure of Success
Envisioning your goal will help keep you on the road to success. If that’s attending a yoga class twice a week or selecting the location and date of your next marathon you’ll know how to pace yourself. Abstracts are wonderful, but concrete details inspire.
Re-define the Process
If along the path you see another route to what you want, take it. It’s another way to success. If your workouts in the gym are leaving you uninspired, maybe running outdoors is what you need. If you’ve been lifting weights at home, perhaps a spin class will incorporate the social element that will reinvigorate a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve fallen off your diet, maybe it’s time to try a cooking class to learn to create the meals that will keep you happy and healthy.
Begin Where You Are
Begin modestly. Yes, the end goal may be to run the Boston Marathon, but start by running a mile in the mornings so that you can work up to it. You want to see yourself as an athlete. Let your body and mind adjust slowly to what you’re asking of them. If you begin too quickly and become discouraged, then it’s easy to set aside your goal. If you begin at a slower pace and steadily build, you build upon success.
There is nothing wrong with being the sort of person who responds well to rewards. We’re hard-wired that way. Good efforts deserve good rewards. Establish a positive connection between behaviors that you want to be repeated and things that delight. A reward can be as simple as a long bath, a good book, or an hour of your favorite music before bedtime. Be creative! Be delighted.
Falling and Rising
It was Alexander Pope who quipped, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” There will be times when your humanity will show. So be divine about it! Admit that you had a momentary lapse, examine the reasons behind the lapse, forgive yourself, and then get over it. You fell. Then you get back up. You start at step one, which is to start slowly, and then you build upon your successes.
According to Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, it takes upwards of two months before a new behavior becomes automatic. It is a process. However, a lapse or two does not derail the ultimate outcome. A mistake does not mean you have to start at ground zero. You simply carry on with your goal. We are remarkably resilient. Use that resilience in your favor to move towards your health goals.