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In my last article, I shared some important factors that I use with my patients to help them set goals and achieve important goals in their lives. I wanted to use this article as an opportunity to give you an example of how these tips can work in real life.
I have taken a case from 2009 to show you how it can help you. The first step is to create a concrete goal that has a measurable end, and a behavior to work on changing. My patient set a goal to lose 30 pounds of extra weight by changing the food she regularly eats.
Next, we found a behavior that she could be excited and proud about. This patient liked to cook so we focused on learning new tasty healthy recipes each week to help her get and stay motivated about her goal. We set a goal of 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week, and so with this in mind we set 8 months as the time line to complete the goal. I wanted her to lose 2 pounds per week but by setting the goal of 1 pound per week, it kept the expectations more realistic. Any week that she was able to lose more than one pound was an exciting bonus. She had homework each month to find recipes that she wanted to make or that looked tasty to her. Then as part of her visits, we would talk about how to modify the portions or ingredients to achieve a balance that would allow her to continue to lose weight each week.
We prepared a game plan for special occasions to try to prevent slip ups in the protocols. Sometimes she was successful and other times she didn’t make the best choices but she forgave herself and then she learned how to make corrections for the future so she would not make the same mistake twice. Over the course of 6 months she reached her weight loss goal of 30 pounds. One week she lost 8 pounds, and another week she gained 1.5. So she had hills and valleys over the 6-month time period.
Once she met her goal we set another one to maintain it for the next six months. This second goal was as important as the first because it gave her confidence that she could create new behaviors and integrate them into her lifestyle.