The Secrets to Keeping Your Goals When You Have Zero Willpower from The Secrets to Keeping Your Goals When You Have Zero Willpower

The Secrets to Keeping Your Goals When You Have Zero Willpower

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The Secrets to Keeping Your Goals When You Have Zero Willpower

It is important to write down your goals along with the reasons why you want to achieve them. "Writing down your goals is important and a great reminder to help keep you on track,” Erica Buteau, Lifestyle Consultant, says. “Take it a step further and also write down why you want to achieve each goal. If you keep in mind why something is important to you, you're more likely to stick with it long term."

*Related: The 14 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes Experts See

Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off track; “forgive yourself, brush off the indiscretions and get right back to it before you plant yourself into a rut," Buteau says.

 

 

--Nicole Dos Santos, Editor

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Go public with your goals

“Accountability goes a long way,” Catherine Basu, ACE-Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Fit Armadillo, says. “If you can't afford a personal trainer, knowing that friends will ask you about your progress can help you find your motivation.”

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Tweak your goals to make them SMARTer

“If you're having trouble keeping your goals, it might not be because of your lack of willpower, but the fact that your goal is not SMART," Basu says. “A SMART goal is S-Specific, M-Measurable, A-Actionable, R-reasonable, and T-Time bound.” Check your goals against the acronym and edit them to make them more effective at keeping you motivated, she adds. Check out this blog post for more tips.

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Join a challenge related to your goals

Basu says that her new book, Superwomen Secrets Revealed, has dozens of easy fitness challenges you can accept. If you tag a social media post showing your commitment to one of them, she will cheer you on. “However, you can usually find some challenges related to your goals in an online or even in person group,” Basu says. “Try Meetup.com to find a local group with goals similar to yours.” 

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Work with a coach

“If you have fitness or weight loss goals, even a few sessions with a certified personal trainer will go a long way,” Basu says. “Have non-health related goals? Find a professional who can guide you towards your personal mission and give you tips for overcoming common obstacles.”

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Put your money on the line

“Even if you can't afford a professional coach, there are many ways to have your wallet help you find your motivation,” Basu says. “One suggestion is Stickk, a website that allows you to make a financial commitment to sticking to your goal.” When you don't follow through with working on your goals, you will be charged.

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Take steps to make sticking to your goal easier

For fitness related goals, this can be something as simple as setting your workout gear out the night before. “However, if you need more help staying accountable, make the accountability easy by finding ways to cut out common excuses,” Basu says. “Fit Armadillo is a great way to work with a personal trainer even if you have a variable schedule.” Online fitness sessions provided over live video chat make it easy to get 1-on-1 feedback in real time during your toddler's nap or after that long business meeting finally gets out, she adds.

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Dig deeper to find your motivation

Weight loss clients looking to lose 50 lbs. 2 months before a reunion are rarely successful in the long term, if at all,” Basu says. “Those who tap into deeper motivation, like moms who want to be healthy role models for their kids, however, do find success.” Make sure to keep asking yourself WHY you set this goal in the first place to get to something more meaningful and you'll be more likely to follow-through, she adds.

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Goals are made in the small moments

“Remember that your goals are reached in those small changes and steps every moment,” Maddison Vernon, life coach, writer and speaker, says. “You don’t do something one day and reach your goal; it takes time, patience and perseverance.” Reminding yourself that your goals are made in the small moments will help you overcome the overwhelming feelings and keep you on track, she adds.

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Forgive yourself for mistakes

“You are going to slip off the bandwagon every once and a while - that’s to be expected, but don’t berate yourself for slipping up and let that spiral into giving up,” Vernon says. “When you miss a day or the workout, forgive yourself and know that each new moment you have the chance to re-affirm yourself to your goal.” Knowing the more you do that, the more you are working towards your goals, she adds.

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Avoid decisions at all costs

“Decisions are a cognitive function in your brain, which is powered by energy and fatigues like the body fatigues. Each decision depletes your brains energy, causing 'decision fatigue' making it tougher to make the right call,” Kris Cochrane, personal trainer and founder of RapidPT, says. “Systemizing your day is the best way to combat this.” Put your alarm across the room so you have to get up to turn it off, prep your meals in advance to avoid deciding last minute on what to eat, pre-schedule all of your exercise sessions into your calendar on a Sunday to avoid deciding when to exercise, he adds.

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Feed and rest your brain

“Stores of willpower are limited, like the fuel in your car. You need to constantly replenish the depleted stores,” Cochrane says. “Good nutrition (including carbohydrates), rest and meditation will ensure you have a full tank of willpower at the start of the day.” If you wake up hungover and only got a few hours of sleep, your petrol light is going to be illuminated, he adds.

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Celebrate all achievements no matter how small

"I can't tell you how many times people have come to me and said, 'But, I only lost one pound,'" Erica Buteau, Lifestyle Consultant, says. “What?! Congratulations, you lost an entire pound! Don't cut yourself short and celebrate every single win no matter how big or small it is."

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Share your goals with someone you trust

Accountability can be a strong motivational factor,” Buteau says. “While losing 180 pounds I shared milestone success points socially and the cheering kept me going while the silent promise that I would continue on kept me accountable.” You don't have to broadcast it, but telling someone who you trust gives you a person to share the ups and downs with, she adds.

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Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

Positive thinking is key to reaching your goals. You will never want to get out of bed and go to the gym if you’re thinking “ugh, I don’t want to do this.” It’s also a great way to reduce stress and improve your overall health. According to Mayo Clinic, the health benefits of positive thinking include lower levels of distress, increased life span, lower rates of depression, and better psychological and physical well-being.

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Plan for setbacks

“Life is not always straight forward, so think of some challenges you may face and about how you will overcome them,” Amcal Dietitian, Megan Alsford, says. “Having a slip up isn’t a problem if it’s short-lived.”

The Secrets to Keeping Your Goals When You Have Zero Willpower