When adults come to us, it's typically because they have exhausted all options on their own to lose weight, eat healthy and exercise regularly. They can't seem to find a way to stay on track to achieve their goals - that is, if the goal is ever determined in the first place.
For example, being "in shape" is a relative term - my idea version of being in shape is probably different from your version. Is it based on energy level? Body fat percentage? Weight on the scale? Waist measurement? A strength number? Whatever it is, how do you know if you have achieved what you set out to if you don't know what you're chasing? Next time you set a goal (right after reading this), here are a few things to consider:
Set a time frame. If this goal doesn't have a time frame, you are leaving it open ended. Create some reasonable urgency for progress to occur.
Set a measurable. The goal needs to include a figure in which we can tell if it was achieved in the time frame we set. (i.e weight loss, bench press, sales at work, etc.)
Build a path. Now that you know what it is and when you want to achieve it by, how will you get there? If it's 15 pounds in 3 months, what are your check points along the way? How will your diet change? Build out the process.
Be held accountable. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your dog. Use others' willpower to keep you on course. People will encourage you and keep you in check, which will help when times get a little tough and it's easy to back out because "no one will know the difference".
BUILD IT TO LAST. Say you hit your goal of 15 pounds lost - how did you get there? Crash dieting will put the weight back on quickly. However, building sustainable habits like better food quality, a focus on hydration and quality exercise, will last forever. Make these systems something you can stick to for the long haul!
What gets measured gets improved because you create an awareness of the steps it will take to get there. If you don't have measurements then it turns subjective, and you'll never know how to improve your process for the future. No plan is perfect - adjust along the way!