Are You a Dreamer Or a Go-Getter? Let’s Find Out!

dream catcher

A goal without a plan is a dream. We all have dreams… But how many of them turn into reality? That’s right, unless it’s planned, it’s unlikely to happen. You could argue they could come true on their own, but I wouldn’t rely on luck too much these days. I’m a big dreamer myself, I regularly daydream about many things: a future promotion, a future celebration, a future success of any sort… I think the main thing is actually to be aware you need to turn these dreams into goals in order to make them happen. One of my dreams was to get healthier and feel great in my own skin. It took me some time to put a solid plan in motion. But once I started, I became unstoppable because I was focused. I lost 25 kg in less than 8 months and achieved my goal.

The difference between dreams and goals

A dream is something that inspires you. It’s something created from your imagination, most of the time related to the future. A dream is like a wish, or a hope something will happen someday. You can be or achieve anything in your dreams, nothing is impossible in your mind.

A goal brings you down to reality. It’s something tangible and concrete, with a plan to make it happen. Its costs you time and energy, your imagination won’t be enough. The difference seems super clear! But then why are they often confused with one another?

This is key to understand why so many people never accomplish their dreams. They just forget to set clear goals for themselves. How to make the distinction between dreams and goals:

  • Dreams allow you to create whatever your mind wants, regardless of what’s actually possible
  • Dreams give you an easy escape from the real world, instantly
  • Because dreams are imaginary, they don’t produce tangible results
  • Goals require you to take action, in a specific and consistent way
  • Goals have deadlines and they require hard work
  • Because goals are based on reality, they produce results

So how do you make sure a dream can be turned into a goal, and then into a reality? Reaching a goal is a matter of effort and focus, it’s a conscious decision. Below the well-known S.M.A.R.T. technique in order to set the right goals:

  • Specific – Set up a nice, firm and objective goal that is unambiguous in nature.
  • Measurable – If you can measure it, you can easily see if you’re on track or if you need to adjust your plan.
  • Attainable – Take into account your current situation and set realistic expectations for yourself. If it helps, break down your goal into smaller ones!
  • Relevant – Don’t ignore the social conditions and current events in your life which may go against your goal. It will save you a lot of frustration.
  • Time-based – This is when you want to achieve your goal by, like your own time limit.
don't doubt yourself, just do it

Are you more of a dreamer or a go-getter?

You’re a dreamer if you:

  • Use the word “someday” rather than more specific terms
  • Allow yourself to go on exciting adventures when you close your eyes
  • Prefer getting lost in your imagination rather than face reality

You’re a go-getter if you:

  • Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish
  • Break things down easily into practical steps
  • Know what you want and are determined to be successful

One might come more naturally, while the other requires more conscious cultivation. We can all be either, depending on the situation. The idea is to ask yourself if you’re more of a dreamer or a go-getter for a specific thing you want, not in general. For example, I’m a go-getter when it comes to my own health but I’m also a dreamer when it comes to moving to Singapore. One day… Maybe!

Why dreams are as important as goals

Goals can change your life. But before they do, dreams are what inspire you. They are the starting point, this very first step which is absolutely crucial. If you make sure you don’t stay stuck at that stage, dreams are actually very important too! Don’t be scared to dream big… As long as it’s something you can turn into reality. Visualise your objectives by closing your eyes and imagine how you would feel once you’ve achieved your goal. Having a dream also contributes to your wellbeing. Plan it out as if it’s going to happen. Personally, I think taking the time to dream is what makes the difference when it comes to overall happiness. Take the chance to just sit and dream, let your mind wander, breathe and let yourself relax. And then simply remember this: if dreams don’t usually come true… goals do!

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Suzy Kassem

So which of your dreams do you need to change into a goal?

Big Girl x

Weight Loss Tips: How to Stay Motivated

you got this motivational quote

Yesterday I went just under 75 kg on the weight scale, which means I lost 10 kg since I decided to be healthier, 3 months ago. It’s an achievement in itself but it’s always easier to lose the first kilos when the motivation is at its peak. How do you stay motivated all along? It’s too easy to give up before you reach your goal, and even when you reach it, it’s quite hard to maintain your healthy weight in the long term. Look at me, I failed at it 3 times already. This time I won’t, but I still need to get there first.

1. Keep in mind why you’re doing it

It’s ok to want a slim body but a “healthy” body is more important in my opinion. Do you want to decrease your risk of getting type 2 diabetes? You know someone who suffered severe health conditions because of their weight and it made you realise how important it was to take back control? Do you want to achieve something that requires you to be fit, like running a marathon for example? Are you getting married and you want to look good in that dress? List all reasons you want to lose weight and write them down, keep them in mind at all times.

2. Have realistic expectations

If your goal is “I want to lose 10 kg in a month”, it would not only be unhealthy but you would go straight to failure. You can make small changes in your diet and lose easily a few kilos without making much effort. But if you want to aim to lose 1 kg a week, it will require more substantial changes in your routine so you need to know if they are sustainable in the long term for you. Losing more than 1 kg a week is probably not recommended anyway as you would put your health at risk.

3. Break it down to smaller goals

If you have a big amount of weight to lose, it could seem a bit daunting at first so it’s better to break it down to smaller goals and achieve them one by one. Look, if Adele did it, so can you! My ultimate goal is 60 kg but my next step is being under 70 kg by the end of November. I’ll focus on that mini target first as I know the ultimate goal is still a few months away.

4. Involve your partner

Or a friend, a roommate, a family member… Anyone who would support you and make sure you stick to it. When you’re in a relationship and you’re the only one who needs to shed some weight, it could be trickier. He eats breakfast, I don’t. He needs roughly twice the number of calories I need just to maintain his weight. There are other ways to support you than sticking to the same weight loss journey.

My fiancé is terrible with gifts for example… Rather than being upset about it, I choose to have a laugh and use it to keep me motivated in this journey. I like useless stuff anyway, so we agreed he would buy me a small gift each time I lose another 5 kg. It’s a bit like when I was a kid at school and the teacher gave me a gold star sticker when I did something good. It’s not about the quality of the reward, but the fact that you’re getting one. I still have 15 kg to lose, which means another 3 rewards to look forward to!

rewards for weight loss

My rewards so far: Bath bombs, Bear Hugs photo holder, “How to be British” guide *

* Slightly out of topic but this is an interesting and funny little guide, I will most probably come back to it in a future post to share some tips about “How to be British”. This culture fascinates me and clearly my fiancé still thinks I have some efforts to make in that area…

5. Document everything

Personally I keep track of everything, every week. I record not only my weight but also other important data such as: % body fat, % body water, % protein, muscle mass and metabolic age. I measure all this with a smart fitness scale that logs everything into an app (I use VeSyncFit but there are plenty of options out there). Finally, I also measure my waist and hips every week as they are also good indicators I’m heading in the right direction. Sometimes I look back at these graphs and it helps me realise everything that I’ve already done so far!

6. Choose the best way to achieve your goal

It’s probably a good idea to list all the things you’re doing wrong and what you think you can change easily. Sometimes it’s not about eliminate some foods or drinks completely but just limit their consumption, or find a good alternative. Based on your answers, consider what’s the best diet for you and commit to it. I’ve decided to go for intermittent fasting because it suits my lifestyle very well, I can stick to it easily and it’s also something I can keep doing permanently thanks to its many health benefits. This is absolutely not for everyone though, I’ll go through it in more details in tomorrow’s post.

7. Talk about it

You may think people don’t care about anyone else’s achievements but you would be surprised how many people are going through the same thing at the same time. You will also find a valuable source of information online by talking to people who will give you interesting advice. Don’t keep it to yourself, share it, talk about it positively and embrace it. If you were running a marathon, would you keep it to yourself? Well this is also a serious commitment that requires the same qualities to succeed: determination and discipline. And if you feel like you can’t do it all alone, seek professional help.

8. Be kind to yourself

Even if you fail, don’t be too hard on yourself. Failure is often part of the road to success. My Japanese mum raised me with this proverb from Japan that says: “If you fall down 7 times, get up 8”. It says it all, what matters is the final result. If one day, you really crave a big fat burger that contains more calories than your entire daily allowance, don’t punish yourself with low self-esteem. If you’re changing your lifestyle with the aim to better listen to your body needs, chances are your brain is going to deter you from the idea anyway. But remember it can take some time to adopt a new positive habit.

Do you have any other tips? How do you stay motivated yourself?

Big Girl x

My Weight Loss Journey: Past Failures & Current Plan

My weight loss journey

If 2020 will not be the best year of my life, it will be the year I decided to lose my extra kilos and become healthier, for good. To me, it’s a lot more difficult to keep the weight off than losing it. I guess I’m disciplined enough to stick to a diet and motivated enough to not give up until I reach my target. But it’s just not sustainable in the long term, the extra kilos come back easily afterwards. The word “diet” is the word to ban here, I’m now aiming for new healthy habits designed to stay.

Past attempts / Why it failed

I always struggled to maintain a healthy weight. My lowest in my adult life was around 58 kg and my highest around 85, with a lot of variation in between. I’m 165 cm tall so a normal BMI indicates I should be between 50 and 68 kg.

The yo-yo effect

10 years ago, I lost approximately 10 kg with the help of a nutritionist. But it was hard, I had to control my portions and force myself to eat foods I didn’t really like. So a year later, I quickly put them back on. Then I lost them again by practising “mindfulness eating” this time. I had regular telephone appointments with a dietician and I was going to the gym a lot. But again, I didn’t manage to keep the weight off for long. It then took me until 2017 to do something about it. I lost 20 kg in 7 months on my own, simply with a lot of daily exercise (and a fitbit to keep me on track). I didn’t change anything in my eating habits. And as you would suspect, I put them back on again within the following year…

The common mistake

Did you notice a pattern? The reason why I never managed to keep the weight off is that I never really focused on nutrition. I saw weight loss as a frustrating period when I had to restrict myself “temporarily”. I was never trying to change my lifestyle for good. Now I realise I simply needed to adopt better and healthier habits from the start!

Current plan / Progress so far

I started to stay on top of my calorie intake in August 2020, my weight was 85 kg back then, the heaviest I’ve ever been. 2 months after I started this journey, I lost 7 kg as I am today at 78 kg. There is still a lot to be done, this is why I’m happy to share updates with you to help me feel accountable and maybe even motivate those of you who have a similar journey ahead. I have heard about various weight loss programs and as I’m a fussy eater, I prefer a calorie counting diet. I just need to make sure I stick to my calorie budget: between 500 and 1,000 less calories than what I would need to maintain my weight (around 2,000).

If you’re clueless about how many calories you need each day, use this calculator. Eat 500 calories less every day for a week and you’ll lose 500g. Eat 1,000 calories less every day for a week and you’ll lose 1kg. The latter could be a bit difficult sometimes so I tend to stay in between.

Put yourself first in your to do list

My dos and don’ts

  • I’m doing this on my own but I use an app to help me count calories by logging everything I eat every day. I really like MyNetDiary but there are plenty of apps available for free. It helps you stay on target, gives you some tips and motivates you with a forecast.
  • I don’t drink any alcohol (ever) or any sugary drinks (I only drink diet soda or tea, if not water). This is a personal choice, it’s relatively easy for me as I don’t like beer anyway and wine gives me headaches. It’s probably a quick win for most people to simply avoid sugary drinks as they contain a lot of empty calories. I start the day with a big glass of water.
  • I sleep at least 7 hours a day. A good sleep is very important because you’re less resistant to food temptation when you’re tired. It’s easier to maintain a good sleep balance when you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, whether it’s the weekend or not. I wear an Oura ring to help me analyse my sleep every day, but most fitness watches also offer that feature.
  • I don’t have breakfast. This one is controversial as I heard so many times breakfast was the most important meal of the day. Surely everyone is different because every time I have breakfast I feel hungrier during the day. I just don’t think my body is ready to receive food when I wake up. I don’t even have my voice back when I wake up! Fair to say I’m really not a morning person, it takes me a long time to be ready once I’ve left my bed. Tea with a spoon of honey, that’s all I need and I’m not hungry until 12.30pm.
  • I have Huel for either lunch or dinner. It makes it so easy to count calories and it also tastes great. It’s not a replacement meal as you can have it for as long as you want, it’s designed to give you all nutrients you need in a meal without having to cook anything. For someone like me who doesn’t eat a lot of green naturally, this is helping a lot. You can use it to help you lose fat, or in your day-to-day life, your choice!
  • I avoid processed food and cook fresh food every day. If I had Huel for lunch, I’ll have a nice home-made meal for dinner. I vary between fish, poultry, beef or lamb, with usually potatoes, rice or pasta (I could never do a low-carb diet!).
  • I replace all snacks and/or desserts with fruits, preferably seasonal. I’m such a sweet-tooth, this is probably the hardest part but I fortunately also love fruits.
  • I allow myself a meal out or takeaway once a week. I stay on top on calories (estimated as it’s always harder to calculate it properly when someone else cooks for you) but I try to eat whatever I fancy so I don’t end up frustrated.
  • No unnecessary calories such as sweets. Sugar is addictive and it doesn’t bring your body anything useful. Not to mention it’s bad for your teeth.

And if you haven’t watched it yet, I recommend the 3 episodes of Lose a stone in 21 days (with Michael Mosley) – available on demand on Channel 4 – they’re full of good advice! Do you need to lose weight too? Tell me about the program that works best for you!

Big Girl x