Why 5 is a magic number for losing weight and achieving your health goals

blog-why5isthemagicnumber

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
-Robert Collier, bestselling author and
publisher of The Secret of the Ages

Why 5 is a magic number for losing weight and achieving your health goals

More than half of all Americans want to lose weight – yet of those who choose to diet, more than 95% never reach their goal or quickly regain the weight they lost.

Why do so many people find it so difficult to achieve their weight and health goals?

Some might argue that it has to do with lack of willpower or low self-esteem... but I think it’s simply a matter of poor planning.

If you want to accomplish a goal, you have to have a realistic and achievable plan.

It doesn’t matter what your goal is – whether it’s to make more money... learn a language... live a more joyful life... get a promotion... OR lose weight – if you don’t create a plan that outlines the steps you need to take to reach that goal, you will find it very hard to achieve any real and lasting results.

Today I’d like to share one of my simplest and most powerful Success Principles that will help you reach your weight goals at last: the Rule of 5.

Success is the sum of small efforts

Not long after Mark Victor Hansen and I published the first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, we found ourselves so overwhelmed with opportunities to grow and leverage its success, we didn’t know what to do or where to start.

We sought the advice of Ron Scolastico, a wonderful teacher, who told us, “If you would go every day to a very large tree and take five swings at it with a very sharp ax, eventually, no matter how large the tree, it would have to come down.”

How very simple and how very true!

Out of that idea we developed what we now call the Rule of 5. This simply means that every day, you complete five specific tasks that will move you closer to your goal.

Mark and I used this principle to help make Chicken Soup for the Soul a New York Times bestseller – and the basis for a multi-million dollar book series that now has 225 titles and 500 million copies in print in 47 languages around the world.

But I don’t use the Rule of 5 only to help me achieve my career goals – I’ve found it to be phenomenally successful at helping me reach my personal goals and health goals as well.

Here are five tips on how YOU can use the Rule of 5 to reach your ideal weight and achieve your health goals – and say goodbye to yo-yo dieting and fluctuating energy levels once and for all:

1. Be specific

I’ve been talking about the power of specificity a lot lately... That’s because it’s one of, if not THE most important aspect of goal setting.

It’s not enough to say you want to “lose weight” or “eat less and exercise more.” It’s too vague and doesn’t give you a concrete target to work towards. You’ll find it much easier to measure your success if you give yourself clearly defined targets to hit, such as:

  • Go online to find 7 recipes for quick and healthy meals to make for dinner this week
  • Go to store and buy spinach, kale, peppers, sprouts, and radishes for lunch-time salads
  • Go for 2-mile walk or jog
  • Drink a green smoothie to offset craving for sweets
  • Eat veggies and homemade yogurt dip for today’s afternoon snack
  • Avoid all foods with refined sugar or flour today
  • Drink herbal tea instead of wine tonight
  • Go to the gym for 1 hour
  • Do 50 pushups today
  • Avoid eating anything after 7 pm

The clearer you get on your five daily goals, the easier it will be for you to keep them top of mind and the more motivated you’ll be to achieve them.

2. Be realistic

When you’re on a mission to get fit, it can be tempting to go on a crash diet and try to lose as much weight as possible in a ridiculously short amount of time. Or to attempt to “kick your body into gear” by embarking on an intense workout schedule that’s way beyond the reach of your current fitness level.

But if you go too hard, too fast you run the risk of injuring yourself or depriving yourself of the nutrients you need to live a vibrant, healthy life. And any weight you lose will come bouncing back as soon as you start eating normally again.

Here are some examples of unrealistic goals I recommend you avoid if you want to achieve real and lasting success:

  • Lose two pounds today
  • Eat less than 800 calories
  • Jog 5 miles (when you haven’t been running in years)

All of these are either difficult to achieve or they are likely to cause more harm than benefit in the long run. Either you’ll injure yourself or fail to meet the goals because they’re too ambitious or unsustainable. And that’s more likely to leave you feeling so frustrated or depressed, you give up your quest altogether.

3. Choose goals that lead to long-term success

Instead of going for “quick-fix” results that evaporate over time and may even negatively impact your health, focus on goals that help you set the foundation for lasting success.

The best way to do this is to choose goals that cultivate a healthier mindset around food and your body and allow you to spend more time doing physical activities you truly LOVE.

Here are some examples:

  • Make an appointment with a nutritionist to learn how to prepare healthier meals
  • Find 10 delicious recipes for cooking healthy greens (such as kale, chard, or collard greens)
  • Sign up for a yoga class
  • Create next month’s workout schedule
  • Email Lisa and Steph to see if they want to go hiking this weekend
  • Research local martial arts classes and make at least one appointment to attend a free introductory class
  • Write a journal entry listing 10 things I love about my body
  • Do a gratitude meditation, focusing on my healthy strong body
  • Put $100 in my “new bike” fund

By focusing on loving yourself and making choices that help you feel incredible inside and out, you’ll be far more likely to reach your weight and health goals – and maintain them over the long term.

After all, what would you rather do: starve yourself for a month and lose 10 pounds, only to gain it back the next month – or lose 20 pounds in four months while eating delicious food and enjoying fun physical activities that make you feel good inside and out – and never gain that weight back?

4. Choose your goals the night before

One great way to guarantee that you achieve your goals is to get clear on what they are and write them down the night before. Keep the list beside your bed and review them before you even get out of bed. That way you’ll start your day with your daily health goals already top of mind.

Not only will you naturally be more motivated to achieve your goals, you’ll also be giving yourself more time to make it happen!

5. Work with a daily accountability partner

This is my personal “secret weapon” of daily goal setting. If you want to go the extra distance to ensure that you meet your health and weight goals every single day, choose a daily accountability partner who you can trust to encourage and inspire you.

Having a daily accountability partner doesn’t have to involve much time or effort. All you have to do is email your five goals to him or her every day. Every day, let your accountability partner know if you met the previous day’s goals. If you didn’t manage to accomplish them all, don’t offer any excuses or explanations – just state whether you did or didn’t achieve them and then go onto to list today’s goals.

By publicly announcing your goals – even if it is only to one other person – you subconsciously give yourself greater motivation to achieve them. You know your accountability partner is out there cheering you on, and you don’t want to disappoint them, so you find yourself expending that extra bit of time and effort to check all five goals off the list.

What to do when goal-setting fails

Sometimes, despite our deepest desire to create change, goal setting isn’t enough. No matter how often we write down our daily goals, we consistently fail to achieve them. It seems like we’ll never achieve them.

If you feel like you’re truly stuck and unable to get out of the health rut you’re currently in (or need help in any area, for that matter), I have a suggestion: join me at Breakthrough to Success this August 10-14 in Arizona.

I’ll help you get clear what’s REALLY been holding you back – and eradicate old habits and beliefs that are no longer serving you. You’ll also get the training, tools, and support you need to step outside your comfort zone, maintain your focus, and finally create the healthy and fulfilling life you deserve.

To learn more, please visit: BREAKTHROUGH TO SUCCESS

In the meantime, I challenge you to share 5 daily health goals that you will commit to achieving either today or tomorrow! Post them on my Facebook page and know that the entire Canfield Community is rooting for you to achieve them!

You can post your goals here: JACK’S FACEBOOK PAGE

I look forward to reading them!

 


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