Tip #37


Goals that Help to Think Positive

Success in life is not about a matter of inches and pounds -its about taking the first steps towards a reachable goal. We know that the people who succeed at permanent weight loss are the ones who have chosen their goals wisely and pursued them with tenacity.

But how do you know if the goals you set are the smart goals for you? Setting goals that don’t suit you can set you up for disappointment. You can determine whether your goals are helping you or hurting you in three easy steps:

Write down your specific goals. Now look through your goals for any of the following words: NO, NOT, NEVER, STOP, LOSE, REDUCE, LIMIT, or QUIT. If these negative words (or similar ones) play an important role in the way you have stated your goals, you may be setting yourself up for problems. Here’s why.

Words are very powerful! They focus your attention in one area while other possibilities fade away. When words are negative (like those above), their results are negative. When you say, for example, that you will "Stop eating bread," what are you really doing? You are focusing your attention on the very thing you want to avoid—bread..

IF going without something you want when it is always on your mind were easy, this might work. But, we all know that "out of sight, out of mind, out of reach" works a lot better.

Do your goals deprive you of something you want…. or think you want?
If so, you’re just setting yourself up for feelings of deprivation, resentment, and rebelliousness. How many times have you gone a day, a week, or even longer without caving in to a food on your forbidden list, only to find yourself binging on it later, as if out of sheer spite?

Contrary to belief, making something off-limits isn’t the best way to maintain control. Deprivation is a sure way for failure.

Do your goals set you up for failure?
Framing your goals in negative terms creates an all-or-nothing situation, where even one small slip means failure. And we all know where this leads—"Well, I’ve already blown it, I might as well enjoy it and start over tomorrow," which turns into next week, next month, or next year. Soon you feel like you can’t control your own behavior, but aren’t sure what to do about it.

It all starts with the words.

The great thing about having the capacity for language is that we can use words to help ourselves want what it is best for us to have.

Framing your goals in positive terms makes reaching them that much easier. Positive words allow you to:

  • Focus on what you really want, and on what is helpful and achievable. This creates positive energy and momentum instead of feelings of deprivation and resentment.
  • Adjust your plans when you have the inevitable slip-up or bad day. Instead of giving up when you mess up, you can make small changes to balance things out.
  • Check in with yourself before you act. Ask yourself if what you are about to eat will help you reach your goals.
  • Have true freedom of choice, rather than forcing yourself to rely on will power alone. Life isn’t made to be running worried all the time--So, go through your goals with a fine-toothed comb, and make sure they are positive.
  • Focus on what you DO want to eat and what you WILL accomplish—not just on how many pounds you want to lose. Keep track of your calories as a necessary tactical measure, but don’t confuse going over on any given day with "failure." There’s more going on than what happens on any single day, and well-framed goals can help you keep that in view.


— Jaime Brenkus Health Tip 37