Achieving Your Life Goals Through Self-control

Sarah Brewer

by Dr. Sarah Brewer

A Nutritionist and Doctor

Achieving your life goals requires motivation, self-control and resilience. Although these skills don't always come easily, like any skill they can be learned. Whether you want to lose weight, eat a healthier diet, take more exercise, gain a new qualification or write that novel, you need to keep at it. Set little goals that are easily achieved – to lose one pound a week, eat an extra portion of fruit or vegetables per day, have an extra alcohol-free day per week, buy a pedometer to start recording the number of steps you take, or write 500 words per day. These little goals slowly bring you close to your big goal and allow you to feel good about yourself.

Once you find those little goals easy, consider increasing them. Add in another portion of vegetables, aim for another 1,000 steps per day, write an extra 1000 words of your novel per week. 

Maintaining motivation means being clear about the benefits of achieving your goal. Just knowing them isn't enough - you also need to feel them and visualise them happening. Imaging how you'll look and feel when you become more fit and slim; see the book you've written in the window of your local bookstore; really feel the pride and sense of achievement from reaching your big goal.

Accept that it won't be easy. Few things worth achieving ever are. When you get the urge to ditch your diet, miss your training session, or leave a chapter hanging in mid-air, think back to why you wanted to reach your goal in the first place. Remember the feelings of pride you experienced when visualising achieving your goal. Accept any desires and cravings as uncomfortable feelings, but don't allow them to determine your behaviour.  If you really crave a square of chocolate, close your eyes and visualise the mouth feel, flavour and sensations associated with eating chocolate. By experiencing cravings in a mindful way, it's surprising how often they just melt away without you having to give in to them. If this approach fails, consider a course of hypnotherapy to really beat them.

Dr. Sarah Brewer

Dr Sarah Brewer is a fully qualified doctor, as well as a registered nutritionist and is the Editor of Yourwellness digital magazine. Read the latest edition of Yourwellness here. Download the free app and get your free copy sent each month via your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
Get £50 off your first holiday