SPARK Your Weight Loss Goals

What motivates you

If you’re like most people, you need a little inspiration when it comes to weight loss. Many of us have the energy to talk about it. “I’m going to join the gym and lose 50 pounds;” “If I start running, I’ll lose those extra 20 pounds;” or “My sister just signed up for P90X and lost 20 pounds. I’m going to do it, too.” Actually taking action is another story.

Many of us have a desire to lose weight, but without a specific plan we're likely to fail. SPARK is a tool that can help us turn our dreams of weight loss and better health into reality. If you are ready to stop talking and start doing, these tips can help lead you in the right direction.

Specific

“If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.” —Unknown author

When setting goals, it is critical that they are specific. Rather than saying, “I need to exercise more” say, “I will walk for 30 minutes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” The more specific your target is, the more likely you are to adhere to it. It is important to write down objectives and review them often. For example, at the beginning of every week write your workout in your planner just as you would any important business meeting. Scheduling the time and exercise will help you follow through.

Positive

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” —Mahatma Gandhi

Take a moment to review your daily thoughts. If you’re like many people, the majority of your thinking is negative and self-defeating. “I look fat in these jeans;” or “I will never lose those extra 10 pounds;” or “I’m never eating bread again.” The tendency is to be drawn to things weighing on our mind, so if our thoughts are negative, that is exactly what we will attract. When setting your goals, the same concept applies. Objectives should focus on the positive. Rather than declaring, "I will not eat any white bread this week,” you could say, "I will substitute all white bread with whole-grain bread this week." Change "I won’t watch TV when I get home from work,” with “After work I will spend 30 minutes outside working in the garden.” Transforming your goal into a positive “I will” rather than an “I won’t” or “I can’t” will help keep you positive and focused.

Attainable

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” —Christopher Reeve

Goals should be performance based rather than outcome based. A goal of being a size 6 again is focused on the end result. Although it is positive to focus on your goal, your efforts should be placed on how you will accomplish it. A better goal would be, “I will exercise 30 minutes every day” or “I will eat five small, healthy meals per day.” These are both measures you can take that will help you achieve your ultimate outcome of a size 6.

Realized

"See things as you would have them be instead of as they are." —Robert Collier

We attract what we think about. So, if we continue to think about what we currently have, we will always have it. Set aside at least five minutes a day to focus on and visualize what it will be like when you achieve your goal. What do you look like? What are you doing? How do you feel? Put your thoughts into words and display them in a prominent location.

Known Timeframe

"A goal is a dream with a deadline." —Napoleon Hill

Planning is one of the most important elements of meeting goals. Setting a goal without a diagram of how or when you will reach it is like taking a car trip to an unfamiliar destination without ever glancing at a map. Sure, you may eventually get there, but who knows how or when? Set a specific time frame for your goals. For example, “I will lose 10 pounds by my sister’s wedding.” Having a clear picture of when you want to realize your goal will keep you focused and on the right path.