"I am going to lose 20 pounds!" "I am going to get back in shape!" Sure, everybody has a few ideas of what they would like to accomplish. But do you have REAL goals? That is, a goal that you have defined, written down, and committed your motivation, discipline, and drive into? Do you have a goal that is so important to you that you have moved it to the number one slot of your daily priority list? Do you have specific steps that you will reach by a specific date?

You deserve to rise out of surviving life and step into thriving. By thriving, I mean that you get to decide for your self what a more meaningful life would look like and then engage in the required actions to make that outcome happen. This means going beyond expecting, or hoping, for someone else to save you or fix the situation. It also means taking a step further than just knowing you do not want to eat or feel a certain way. How do you want to feel? What can you do to bring you one step closer to feeling that way?

You have the ability to believe in yourself and achieve incredible things in life. However, your life is not a result of your potential, but a is actually a result of the actions you take. Dreams and goals remain "notions" until you decide to physically do something about them.

Take the time and define precisely what life experiences and physical feelings you would rather be having. Replace the goal of "losing" weight with the goal of "gaining" more confidence, courage, joy, or love for your self. Decide to create a loving and involved relationship with your life, your body, and your self. Creating a great life means taking the steps to know yourself on an intimate level. It is about feeling entitled to take care of your self, define your needs, and put the achieving of those needs at the very top number one slot of your to-do list.

Creating a great life involves noticing how you feel and then asking, "Is this really how I want to feel?" If not, it is your responsibility to take matters into your own hands and get involved in the activities that will allow you to feel better. You deserve to fall in love with everything about you. If you are ready to create change in your life, consider learning the finer points of goal setting. Here are a few tips to not only help you get started as an effective goal setter, but become a successful achiever as well.

1. Dream from the Heart
You have the ability to live a new life. However, the life you wish to live can only be imagined by you, and can only be created by you. Sit for a moment and take a deep breath. Close your eyes, and look inside. What is it that you want? Only you can decide what feeling good would look like. It is not enough to say, "I want to lose weight." This statement may steer you away from what you do not want, but lacks the clarity and focus to move you toward what you do want. To create the life you want, you must take the responsibility to first name what you want to experience, and decide how you would like that experience to feel.

Creating a vision serves as guide toward a specific destination. You determine what you want to accomplish, where you want to be, and who you want to become. Notice what is important about your desired outcome. What are the deeper issues that sit beneath your desires to eat differently or weigh differently? Notice if you want to increase your self-esteem, confidence, self-worth, or feelings of happiness. Notice if you want to turn your depression into joy. Perhaps you wish to eliminate stress, worry, and anxiety and replace those feelings with trust and positive expectation. Your dream is not just about losing weight or weighing a different amount, it is about creating a life in which you feel better and more alive than you do right now.

2. Write down What You Want
Writing down your goals is a powerful tool for creating a vision of the future. It is sort of like taking the first steps to actively reaching into the realm of potential, and bring the seeds of an idea into physical reality.

To get where you want to go, it helps to have a plan. Take time and be precise in what you want. The more clearly defined your goal is, the easier it will be to attain. When writing goals, many authors, trainers, and coaches suggest using the SMART goals acronym:

S: specific and simple

M: measurable and meaningful

A: achievable and as if now (present tense)

R: realistic and responsible

T: tangible and timed

Be specific in what you want. If you write down, "I want to lose weight," that isn't very specific. Write a paragraph or two describing exactly why you absolutely must attain your goal. Writing a SMART goal might read, "It is now February 2001 and I weigh 150 pounds. I have successfully accomplished six months of counseling and have considerably moved forward on my growth process. I look in the mirror and see myself as confident, worthy, and full of self-love. I am riding my bike three times a week, eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, and writing in my journal most days. Everyday I take an action that expands the love and peace I feel in my life."

3. Positive Expectation
So many times people begin their journey of change frustrated and angry. They just want their eating or weight problem to vanish. In a misguided attempt to create change, they believe that fighting the problem will lead to positive results. What they do not yet realize, is that they have to identify what they want, and then develop an excited relationship with their goal.

Developing a committed relationship with your dream requires believing you are worthy of having it. Use affirmations, pictures, positive thinking, motivational tapes, prayer, self-love, visualization and whatever else it takes, to reaffirm that your goal is worthy and that you can have what you want. Believe in the outcome of your dream. You may have no idea how to get what is wanted, but it is essential that you believe, ultimately, that you will have what you want.

4. Take Action
Day in and day out, do something to further yourself on the journey you have chosen. Even just one action every day - not every other day, or every third day - but even just one action every day means you have chosen to align yourself with your desires. One action every day, not just on the easy days, but rain or shine, crying babies or catastrophes at work. Take action every day and you are the person who is now living a new life. Taking one action every day means that no matter what, no matter how hard things seem, you are going forward anyway. One step, every day, and you have guaranteed yourself success.

Begin by finding the smallest achievable steps that will take closer toward your goal. Why the smallest steps? Several reasons. First, success builds on success. You do not want to overwhelm yourself with failure or unachievable steps. Secondly, huge, dramatic life-changing solutions rarely work. It is the journey that is most important, not the destination. Take a few minutes and list several of the smallest steps that will move you slightly forward towards the life you want. Find easy, "I could do these" steps. Choose ones that are small enough that you can begin them immediately.

Believe that you have the power to create harmony with your food, your body, and your self. You can have the life that you really, really want! Set a positive destination, believe in yourself, and start walking!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Annette Colby, RD can help you take the pain out of life, turn difficult emotions into joy, release stress, end emotional eating, and move beyond depression into an extraordinary life! Annette is the author of Your Highest Potential and has the unique ability to show you how to spark an amazing relationship with your life! Visit www.LovingMiracles.com
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