Lose a stone, run a sub 4hr marathon, drop a dress size. These are among the most common goals people come to me to ask for help with. Either they’re beginning the journey to achieve them or they’ve previously achieved them but somehow found themselves back where they started. Does this sound like you with your goals?

It’s ok, you’re not alone. Here’s why you might not be achieving your weight loss or marathon goals.

When you create a goal, it’s usually based around a specific outcome like weight loss or a target time in a race. The natural reaction is to go on a diet or get the plan that will do what it says on the tin.

The problem is when you focus too much on the outcome, you become overwhelmed with too many changes at once and it will quickly fall apart.

Instead, work on the processes that will get you there quicker and easier than you could possibly imagine.

Weight Loss Goals Example

Typical approach: You go on a (insert branded name here) diet, start on a Monday (obviously!), join a gym/bootcamp/hire a Personal Trainer. The less you eat and the harder you work, the quicker you’ll lose weight, right?

This is fine until you miss a workout or get invited to a party where there will be cake and alcohol. Next thing, you stand on the scales and notice your weight is the same or gone up despite you being good.

Before you know it, you’ve “fallen off the wagon” and the weight is slowly creeping back up

Better Approach: Think of some things you’re maybe not doing (drinking 2 litres of water a day, getting a full night’s sleep etc). Take one of them and practice it for a whole week without making any other changes. Once you get to the end of the week, you’ll likely find that change is now happening instinctively so make another change and repeat the process.

Finding yourself not reaching for that biscuit or bar of chocolate because you haven’t felt the desire to have it is more powerful than not allowing yourself it isn’t it?

Create new habits

Whether you want to lose weight or run a marathon, you will need to create new habits to help you achieve them. Rather than cutting out things like crisps or chocolate or starting speed work, look at the things that aren’t part of your daily routine.

Are you drinking 2 litres of water a day?

Do you regularly get a full night’s sleep of at least 7 hours unbroken?

Are you already creating time to exercise every day, even if it’s just to go for a walk?

These are the first questions I ask my clients. They make a massive impact on weight loss, sports performance as well as your own mental health. Improving your hydration, sleep quality and time for you will help you perform better and eliminate cravings for unhealthy snacks.

Drink water regularly throughout the day.

If you’re not exercising already, go for a short walk early morning and in the evening.

Stop checking emails/browsing social media at least 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep.

Read a book or listen to music and you’ll begin to sleep more soundly and feel fresher when you wake up.

Marathon Training Goals Example

Normal approach: You’ve signed up for a marathon and you want to be able to run under 4 hours so you look around for a training plan that says “Sub 4hr” on it. You get stuck in with speed work, hill reps and strength/core training that everyone seems to be doing.

It feels like you’re running every day but then you get struck down with a cold or get injured and have to miss a week.

Before you know it, you’re playing catch up with your training and constantly feeling tired and sore. You struggle to fit in all the sessions.

You get your target time but it wasn’t enjoyable. Running’s supposed to be fun, eh?

Better Approach: Allow yourself longer to prepare and spend the first few weeks just focusing on running consistently 4 times a week. I run Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and do my long runs on Sundays. Mondays and Fridays are always rest days. This approach can help ensure you get quality out of your sessions and get good rest each session.

Start by running them for 30 minutes at an easier pace and 40 minutes on one day at the weekend. As you progress, you can lengthen your long run and turn one of the week day workouts into something more specific like intervals.

Gradually increasing the time/distance will ensure you find your runs manageable and potentially running better than you had planned for in the marathon

As you can see from my suggestions in both examples, the processes to achieve success in weight loss and running a marathon are almost identical.

You don’t need to make big sweeping changes. A series of smaller, regular changes will help you get amazing life-long results without feeling like it was a chore.

Think about your goals and consider the following:

  • Make one change at a time – create a small list of things you can add in to help you towards your goal, select the easiest one and practice to become good at it. When you do this, think of the boost you’ll get from achieving it and how much easier it will feel to make other changes.
  • Set smaller process-driven goals – these can be the changes you’ve listed above. The goal should be set for a week, 2 weeks or up to a month and solely focused on being good at these changes.
  • Be consistent – consistency is the key to everything. Practice the changes every day, every week, they will soon become habit. When you do this repeatedly you’ll soon notice a difference and it will likely feel easier than you imagined.
  • Embrace learning – the journey to success never runs smooth and there will always be a run that isn’t as good or you have a cake. If you can accept them, and learn from them, you can proceed as normal and they won’t derail your journey. It’s the days when things don’t go according to plan that you will learn from the most and become stronger as a result.

When you think about your goals, have your thoughts on your steps to achieving them changed?

What are the steps you need to make to begin to achieve them?

Do you have a marathon in 2019 that you’re about to start training for? I can create a personalised training plan for you. Check out my Marathon Training Plans page or contact me for more details