I remember in my early Weight Watchers days, that word, Goal took on a heavy meaning. We all used it, all the time. We’d talk about what we would do when we reached Goal. Waiting to buy clothes until we were closer to Goal. By next week, I ought to reach Goal. I picked up this Goal-speak in those weekly classes.
And I reached Goal. And then gained it back. And started again, and reached Goal. And then gained. And bounced up and down and up and down.
I think one reason I’ve been able to maintain my loss this time is that as soon as I reached my weight loss goal, I set a new goal. A fitness goal. And then a bigger fitness goal. Now I have a metabolism goal along with a couple of fitness goals I haven’t even begun to work on yet. I think by looking ahead and setting a new bar for myself, I have not allowed myself the opportunity of sinking, slipping back into old habits.
I had a nice cup of coffee with a couple of girlfriends the other night. One I hadn’t seen in awhile, and she looks great. She’s lost 20 lbs. from her tiny frame. On her the result is dramatic. She looks great. And she was chiding herself for having the same set of goals for most of the past decade. They are, Lose Weight, Get in Shape, Quit Smoking.
She really was being rough on herself about it, too.
Just between you and me, that’s a pretty heavy set of goals to combine with the other little endeavors life throws your way. Like work. Family. Community.
Now my friend is a bit of an overachiever, and if anyone can set goals that big and hairy out in front of them and achieve them, she can. But please allow me to suggest otherwise.
Try for smaller, more manageable goals. That first goal, the lose weight one, is already too big.
How much weight by when?
If I had set as my first goal to “Lose 100 lbs,” I wouldn’t have done it. Well, I didn’t. For years. Instead, I decided I’d take it 10 lbs. at a time. My first goal was to lose 10 lbs. in a month. Reasonable. Achievable. A 4-week goal. I kept setting those 10-lb. goals, and might add another for the week: Walk 30 minutes three times this week. I didn’t make any pronouncements about NEXT week. I didn’t force myself to walk every day, or make a rule that would govern my whole life. Just set goals for the week. One week. One month. I kept my number of goals small. Achievable.
And I attached real rewards to achieving each one.
I’ve talked about the goal thing before, but I think it can’t be overstated. Mince and dice those goals into little bitty, winnable steps. Little achievements. You deserve to feel successful for every lb. you drop, every glass of water you drink, every extra step you take or exercise you try.
And success breeds success. Isn’t it a lot easier to stick to your diet after you’ve seen the scale drop? Sure it is. And it’s easier to go back to the gym after you’ve gone just once.
It’s easier to take the second step after you’ve taken the first. And you’re more likely to do it if every single step is something you celebrate.
There. Now pull out your journal, and start making smaller goals. Break the big ones down into smaller, consecutive ones. And most importantly, decide how you’ll be good to yourself for achieving every single one.
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