I proudly finished with my first 10K race a time of 55 minutes on the dot. Afterwards, I challenged myself to complete another 10K. For my second race, I set a personal goal to beat my first time. It wasn’t always easy, but I finished my second race with a time of 50 minutes and 15 seconds.  While working hard to shave 5 minutes off of my finish time, I learned some important lessons between my first and second race. After reaching my goal, I realized that the lessons I learned were the exact same ones my weight loss coaching clients were applying to their everyday life… And were the reasons they were losing weight!

1. It’s all about your mindset.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the quote, “It’s mind over matter.” I’ve heard it 100 times, but to be honest, I never really believed it. I thought that no matter how hard I worked, I could achieve anything I wanted. Little did I know I was missing out on a HUGE part of the puzzle.

For my second race, I visualized myself running a faster, more efficient race. I knew I could physically run 6.2 miles… After all, I had completed that distance during my first race. But this time around, I actually spent time focusing and imagining myself running a faster race.

Physically, I didn’t train for my second race ANY differently than I did my first race. For both races, I ran anywhere from 2–4 miles 2 mornings a week, and spent one morning on the weekends running 4–5 miles. Mentally, I had imagined running faster during my second race SO many times I knew it would happen. It was a done deal — I was 1,000 times more prepared for my second race mentally.

I can’t begin to describe how important it is to have the right mindset when it comes to reaching ANY goal you may have, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Truly envision yourself eating healthy, enjoying exercise, and losing weight, and you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily your visualizations become reality.

2. Goals require serious commitment and dedication

I wish it were as easy as laying down and simply envisioning yourself reaching your goals… Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Goals don’t just happen overnight. They take commitment, dedication, hours of planning, and hard work. If your end goal seems too large or overwhelming to reach, break down your end goal into smaller goals. For example, losing 20 pounds doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes many weeks, sometimes even months, of eating nutritious meals and exercising to lose 20 pounds.

While training for my race, I couldn’t just go from sitting on the couch to running over 6 miles overnight. I began by only running 1 mile at a time, and strategically planned for my runs to gradually get longer, so I felt prepared to tackle 6.2 miles on race day. I remember the first time I ran 3 miles while training for my first race. I thought to myself, “That was SO hard, there’s no way I can ever run 4 miles. How will I ever be able to complete 6.2 miles?” With commitment and dedication, I was able to easily up my mileage from 3 miles, to 3.5 miles, and then to 4 miles. Before I knew it, I had built up the strength, stamina, and endurance to complete the 6.2 miles.

3. It wasn’t always easy, but it was ALWAYS worth it.

While training for my race, it wasn’t always easy. There were definitely mornings when I DIDN’T feel like running or cross training. The weather didn’t always cooperate when I needed to run. It was extremely hot and humid some days, and I ran threw light rain on other days. Some longer runs felt easy, and other short runs felt nearly impossible to finish. But it all came back to my mindset. I KNEW I had the strength to complete this race feeling strong. The pride I felt when I reached the finish line in both of my races is truly indescribable. It was completely worth all of hours of training I had completed.

4. Keep your eye on the prize.

Any time I found myself losing motivation (which definitely happened), I focused on race day. I definitely would have given up on my goal if I didn’t continue to focus on race day. During those runs where it was lightly raining and I felt like giving up, I knew that finishing this run wasn’t an option, and that it would help me finish on race day.

If you’re trying to lose weight, always remember how you’ll look AND feel when you reach your target goal. This will help you stay inspired when you begin to lose weight. Don’t get distracted by quick-fix diets and exercise programs. Focus on creating healthy nutrition and exercise habits, and the results will come.

5. Chart Your Progress.

While training for my race, I tracked my progress on my iWatch, and began to pay attention to some of my workout patterns. I observed that my best (and fastest) runs were in the morning after I woke up, but before I ate breakfast. On the flip, my hardest (and slowest) runs were usually in the afternoon or evening time, when I struggled to find energy to run. I noticed that no matter what time of day I ran, I struggled when I ran within 2–3 hours of eating a meal.

If you’re trying to lose weight, I strongly suggest you keep track of your progress. I have created a tool called the Portion Control Guide to help my clients keep track of portion sizes without the stress of counting calories or using food scales. If you’d like a free copy of my portion control guide, so that you can easily track portion sizes and lose weight, click here for your free copy.

Whether your goal is to complete a race or lose weight, it’s easy to see others’ achieve their goals and forget that they put in hours of dedication to achieve that goal. Remember that it takes inspiration, motivation, hard work, and the right mindset to achieve your goals. If you always keep your eyes on your goals and keep track of your progress, you’ll be surprised at how quickly and easily you can achieve your goals.