Writing is good for the soul, and it can also help you lose weight. I can almost see the disbelief in your eyes, but follow me on this. You have nothing to lose but a little computer time (or a few pieces of paper) and a few excess pounds.
Writing Down Your Goals
Even Purdue University agrees that writing down your goals, along with a specific action plan to achieve those goals helps you to not only achieve them, but achieve them faster. It’s important to define the overall goal as well as mini-goals along the way. That way, you feel a sense of accomplishment as you check off each of the mini-goals on the way to your master goal.
Be specific: “I want to lose weight” is not a specific goal. With 85% of the population at least a little overweight, who doesn’t want to lose weight? Unless you have a specific amount of weight in mind, you don’t have a goal. It’s important that your goal is realistic but that it presents a challenge. Everyone loves a challenge; it’s a little like a dare.
Set a deadline: A goal without a deadline is a dream. Until you assign an end point, the finish line is not is in sight. Is the deadline reasonable? Losing 10 pounds next week is not attainable for most people and just sets you up for failure. The whole point of this exercise is to set you up for success. Setting a reasonable goal with an attainable deadline places the goal firmly in your crosshairs.
Write an action plan: Next, you need to create a roadmap. That’s what comprises your action plan: step 1, step 2, step 3, etc. If you’re driving around in unfamiliar territory without a GPS or a roadmap, you could be in trouble. Think of your action plan as your GPS to guide you toward your goal.
Keep Track of Your Progress
Keeping a daily journal will help you track the progress as you negotiate your action plan. Write about the emotions that accompany your journey. If you have decided to give up sugar or wheat or whatever and find that it’s harder than you imagined, you can take out your frustrations in your daily journal entry.
As you start to make visible progress, your journal entries will likely reflect a positive change in your attitude and mood. Should you feel the urge to stray from your action plan, reread some of your entries and recall those times when the journey was difficult. Do you really want to revisit those times again in the present?
Find and Fix Self-Sabotage
If you’re honest in recording the foods and amounts you eat along with the quantity and quality of daily exercise, you’ll be able to spot and fix problems immediately. If you don’t keep track of the specifics, it’s easy for a stolen cookie here, a few potato chips there and a week without exercise to add up quickly. How will you remember these seemingly trivial details unless you write them down? You won’t, and you could go along thinking you’re doing everything correctly until you review your journal and recognize self-defeating patterns.
Once you’ve set your goals and your deadlines, a journal can serve as a constant reminder to keep you on track. The journal will serve as your “invisible buddy,” motivating you along the way until you make it across the finish line.