Spring is here, the flowers are blooming, and we are all starting to think about jumping into our summer clothes and heading to the beach. Many of us are then hit with the sudden panic of what that means. Have you let your healthy eating habits or workout regimen slip over the winter months? Has your weight crept up a few pounds (or more)? Even if the answer to these questions is no, are there goals you have set your sights on that you have yet to achieve? Regardless of your weight or fitness level, we all have goals to strive for and accomplish.
So what sets apart those who dream of achieving and those who actually achieve? It simply comes down to one’s mindset. In my years of counseling patients on behavior change and goal setting for health, there is one clear differentiator. Are you the person who wants it, but believes it will happen in due time? Or are you someone who makes things happen for yourself? Do you wait for it or do you go and get it? Whether the goal is to become more physically fit by starting a walking program, hiking a mountain, or completing a triathlon, the “I WILL” attitude needs to exist to succeed.
- Step one: Set a clear goal. Use measurable parameters like numbers. For example: “I WILL limit carbs to 30 grams per meal”, “I WILL swim two miles a week”, or “I WILL walk four days a week for at least 30 minutes”. Vague goals that can not be measured sound like “I will TRY to go to the gym more”, “I’ll try to cut back on carbs and sweets”, or “I’ll try to drink more water”.
- Step two: Commit to that goal and plan 100%. Revisit these goals regularly to assess your progress and tweak as needed.
Throughout my career, I have come across many people who think they are committed to change, but as soon as I hear them say “I’ll TRY”, I know that they are still on the fence. The word “try” in this case gives a person an out, or an excuse to fall short. For example, someone may say “I’ll TRY to stop eating so much dessert” or “I will TRY to eat a salad for lunch three days a week”. When they report back and have not met their goals, it is easy to say “I said I would try, but I had a lot of birthday parties this month so it was hard to avoid desserts”.
The difference between these two little tiny words – WILL and TRY — may seem small, but they make a world of difference. Think about some of your short-term goals and make them a reality by going “all in” and saying “I WILL DO THIS”.
As Yoda from Star Wars so wisely put it: Do or do not, there is no try.