January resolutions often lead to February “F”-its. Diets are nearly designed to fail. Plateaus can undoubtedly be discouraging. I hear you! Reaching your goals, health and fitness related or not, is not easy. If it were, I’d be looking for a new line of work! So why do some people seem to effortlessly stick to their regimen, whereas others ebb and flow?

You must fall in LOVE with the PROCESS! Professional athletes, business executives, the pro’s pro…the most successful person you know likely didn’t lay on a bed of roses and be handed their title. Rather, they dove into the trenches, fought through the grit, and along the way acquired small affirmations of success to fuel their journey.

Follow this three step guide to fall in love with your process and finally stake claim to your goals:

1) Capture your Inspiration

Motivation might lead to initial action, however long term success requires an internal engine of inspiration. Motivation suggest you think you should do something. Although this may trigger you to take action, over the long run it can be easy to lose sight of why you started. Inspiration on the other hand fuels your spirit.   Looking to lose 10lbs or run your first half-marathon? Set these as your long term goals, but your initial actions should bring joy to the process. Buy new workout clothes, take a healthy cooking class, find a new running route. You don’t have to lose 5lbs this week or run 10 miles today. Rather, stimulate your internal spirit, the essence of inspiration.

2) Tactful Triggers

Morning cup drive-through joe, mid-day fast food binge, late night snacker? These bad habits are often mindless actions triggered by your behavioral patterns. If you are thinking your post meal bowl of ice cream or movie butter popcorn, while eating dinner… you may be on the path of mindless eating. Identify such triggers by becoming mindful of your behavior patterns and break your habits by changing these patterns. Instead of turning on the latest episode of the bachelor and crying over a bowl of ice cream when your man doesn’t get a rose, wear your walking shoes at dinner and trek outside after you eat. Sit on a different spot on the couch, brush your teeth after dinner, take a different route to work, pack your workout clothes before you got to bed. These minor changes don’t have to be consuming. Rather, they should alter the mindless actions you take each day that prevent you from achieving your goals, while making it easy and mindful to be successful.

3) Community and Environment

You’re not alone! There is a community of support, accountability, and intelligent people willing to help you be successful. Weekly taco Tuesdays and Friday pizza and Beer with your friends is sure to be a great time, but are these outings withholding you from your goals? Can you alter these social engagements to be more conducive in supporting your goals? Be vocal with your community about your intentions, your ambitions, and what you might need of them. If they aren’t receptive, you don’t have to break all ties. Rather, you may need to alter how, where, and when you get together. Suggest a Saturday night dinner party where everyone brings their favorite healthy dish. An easy afternoon hike that everyone can do and enjoy. If your peers just aren’t having it, hire a personal trainer, join a walking/running club, volunteer at a local event that inspires you. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can help take weight off your shoulders while building a network of people that you can enjoy the process with.

Don’t Forget to Reflect!

The journey toward your goals is likely to be a bumpy road. Don’t forget to reflect not only on what you want or why you want it, but also your everyday successes. It’s okay if you didn’t make it to the gym or perhaps you overindulged over the weekend. Life happens and sometimes we have to feed the soul. Each night before you go to bed, share with someone or reflect on a small highlight of your day. What was your favorite part of the day? Why? How did you feel? These small affirmations of success will catalyze your love of the process.

Ready to achieve your fitness goals and become the best version of yourself?

Get started