For some of us, visualizing a goal is easy. For others, goal setting comes more naturally. Thomas Edison visualized the light bulb long before he succeeded in its invention.
Visualizing and goal setting are important steps to success, especially when it comes to weight loss. Preparing for a journey that lasts a lifetime also helps keep everything in perspective. Using available tools, reading articles, and connecting with others for support, keeps us going when we want to give up. Even with all this, the journey is still long, hard, and frustrating.
Sometimes all the resources and accountability in the world can't make up for one of the most important keys to success – commitment to your weight loss and health goals. You can have the vision, a plan, resource tools, and support but without heart-felt commitment to ignite the passion to go the distance, success may be fleeting.
Here is a scale to help you rate your commitment to reaching your weight loss and health goals.
Do you recognize yourself in one of these descriptions? Right now I would be in the "very committed" category. For years, I was passionately committed to health and exercise goals. At different times, I have been zealously committed and those goals became unhealthy tools in my life. After the birth of each of our children, I continued to work out but mostly just to check the activity off the "to-do" list. Today with active teens that only have a few years left at home, I want time with them to be a bigger priority. I know that in a few years when they are gone there will be plenty of time to return to a passionate level of commitment. For now, I will be happy to remain very committed as I continue with my active lifestyle and enjoy as much time as possible with my family.
- Not Very Committed - You acknowledge the importance of eating right and exercising. You have joined fitness centers or purchased workout equipment but they never seem to get used. You have been known to purchase great looking workout clothes but many of them still contain the tags. You have the best intentions to make changes but something always seems to get in the way. You have tried many diets. Unfortunately, you quickly give them up in favor of your favorite restaurant foods or parties with friends.
- Somewhat Committed - You have been told you need to make lifestyle changes to improve your health and you believe it is important. You want to make the changes but making time in your schedule with work, family, and friends proves difficult. You use your gym membership or home equipment and follow your "diet" every couple of weeks but quickly fall out of a routine. Your intentions are good but as the old saying goes, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
- Very Committed - You are learning to make changes and are determined to see this new lifestyle change through. Although there are a variety of things in your diet that still need attention, you are making progress with small, sustained changes. You are willing to continuously learn new habits and seek information and motivational help. You are learning what foods are best for your lifestyle and have found ways to get exercise that you enjoy. Frustration at the slow pace sets in from time to time and makes you want to give up but you quickly get back on track with the encouragement of others. Finding the balance with work, family, and personal time is always a battle but you are learning to make it all fit to reach your goals. While you have significantly reduced your visits to restaurants and use of convenience foods, you are still learning to embrace the social implications. You believe slow and steady will win the race and accept that you can't be perfect but work to do the best you can each day.
- Passionately Committed - You fully embrace the principles of your new lifestyle and have fully incorporated them into your day to day life. Visits to restaurants are very limited and so are convenience foods in the pantry. Nutrient rich meals and meaningful time with family and friends have taken their place. Exercise is enjoyable and you now miss it on days you take off. You have found a wonderful balance between work, family and community and your healthy lifestyle and outlook compliment every aspect of your life. You are setting new goals, love the new "you" that has been discovered and your positive changes have been noticed and inspirational to others.
- Zealously Committed - Your standards for healthy living are very high. Strict rules and guidelines regulate what you eat or how you exercise. You are willing to sacrifice all aspects of your life to achieve your goals. You do not notice the impact your eating and exercise choices have on others around you. Those that do not jump on board with your level of commitment easily irritate and annoy you. When family or friends suggest you are too committed, you become defensive. You find wonderful comfort and control in your life from the food and exercise routines you embrace.
What is your level of commitment? Is it at a level that is helping you reach your goals? Could it be a barrier to your success or relationships?