On a daily basis, I chat with people about setting goals. Some of these goals will be weight related, some will be exercise, and some will just be getting through the week trying to improve previously self-destructive habits. Since we have no external guarantee of success, how do we develop an inner sense that we can accomplish what we have set out to do?

First: From the outset of each day, you must believe that you will eventually achieve your goals no matter what.

Second: It’s important to realize, that, no matter what happens, you must also believe that there is no such thing as failure. Each day provides us with the opportunity to learn. What I mean is that when times seem to get tough you must ask yourself, “What have I learned from this experience that will help me the next time to improve the outcome?” If you believe that each experience, whether a perceived good one or a perceived bad one, is a learning experience, you have come a long way. None of us will ever achieve perfection; all we can do is try to improve day by day.

Look at what you want to achieve. Is it a lean, fit body? Is it to be free of aches and pains? Is it to go down 3 belt loops? Do you just want to feel more energetic? Or, just to feel in control of food? Be specific. Then, believe that you will reach your goal somehow.

Don’t be concerned about how long it takes. Look at each day, each meal, and each exercise session as a learning experience. Realize that you are both the teacher and the pupil. There is no one standing beside you to give you proper direction at each moment. You must make the decisions about what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat, on your own. Don’t be critical of yourself, just realize that each day is a learning experience, and that each day you will learn something to help you improve tomorrow’s outcome. Everyone’s strategies will differ slightly. One person’s strategy may be to decrease their intake of addictive carbohydrates; another person may focus on being more consistent with exercise; yet another person’s strategy may be to say no when a saboteur in their life is pressuring them. Learn something daily and apply it the next day, the next week and the next month.

Lastly: You must learn to be happy with your decisions. As long as you are attempting to change (or improve) negative habits, you are demonstrating success behaviours. This is hugely positive!

Believe you can do it.
Don’t allow anyone’s opinion to stand in your way.
Keep setting your goals, and review them regularly.
Be gentle on yourself for any minor ‘slip-ups’ and get right back on track.

You can do it!
Hang in there, and don’t ever give up.

Dr. Doug