Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Goal Setting: A Powerful Tool

Right now I'm in the process of rereading Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle. Not surprisingly it has elements in common with The Body Fat Solution, not least of which is the emphasis on goal setting as the key to compliance. According to Mr Venuto goal setting, done properly, has the effect of reprogramming the unconscious mind in ways that are conducive to fat loss.

In both Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle and The Body Fat Solution Mr. Venuto recommends setting long-term goals, 12-month goals, 12-week goals, weekly goals, and daily goals. These goals are supposed to be written out and reviewed on a daily basis --several times a day, if possible. Indeed, in Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle readers are advised to write out their 12-week goals on an index card that they can carry with them and reread throughout the day.

These goals are to be written as affirmations, in the present tense. For example, instead of "I am going to lose 20 pounds and 6% body fat by October 31, and I will look hot in my slutty Halloween costume," you might say, "I am reaching my goal weight of 112 pounds and my goal body fat of 12% by October 31, and I am looking hot in my slutty Halloween costume." Particularly if you are a guy, this is a good affirmation. For more process-oriented goals, instead of saying "I am going to get up every morning at 5:00 am so I have time to go for a run and eat a healthy breakfast before I have to get ready for work," you might say "I am getting up every morning at 5:00 am for a run and a healthy breakfast before work."

By writing your goals as affirmations, and by keeping those affirmations always in front of you,

you are giving your subconscious mind instructions that will cause you to automatically begin acting in a way consistent with your mental image. You'll go into automatic pilot mode. There will be less struggle and willpower involved. When you're in a situation that used to tempt you, you'll notice you are no longer tempted. If you used to dread going to the gym, you'll start looking forward to it. If the idea of eating healthy used to seem like hard work, you'll actually begin to enjoy it. Everything will seem to get easier and your workouts will become better than ever.

Of course the key to making this work is that not only must you read your affirmations faithfully, you must do so with faith. If you read them over while simultaneously doubting you can achieve them, you are cancelling out the affirmation before it ever has a chance to become embedded in your subconscious.

I admit I am challenged in this area. I am the queen of negative self-talk. But I'm really going to give this affirmation thing my best shot

Oops, let me rephrase: I am giving this affirmation thing my best shot.

And I am succeeding :)