It’s January 1st, 2018. An invitation arrived in your Facebook feed for your 20 year class reunion. You want to blame your morning coffee for the sudden onslaught of nausea but subconsciously you know it is because you have promised yourself for the past 10 years that your 20 year reunion would be your chance to ‘show them.’ Well, the opportunity is here but you are carrying around 15 extra pounds of ‘baby weight’ leftover from your 10 year old. Hardly the physique you had dreamed of showing off to your high school classmates.
Well, it’s a New Year and a new you, right? You’ve never kept a New Years’ Resolution before but this is different. You need to lose 15 pounds in order to cultivate the appropriate levels of jealousy and desire in your peers from the past.
January 10th, 2018 finds you snacking on a Snickers bar and browsing Netflix from the comfort of your couch. How has another New Years’ Resolution so easily been sent to the scrap pile of life goals? You had so much motivation and drive this year.
Hope is not all lost though. Let’s pick up the broken pieces of your pride and repair that damaged ego. You are going to set a new goal. January was a free trial month and now it is time to sign the contract for a great year. We have some tricks to walk you through the process and give you the tools to set, achieve, and surpass your goals.
Progression in life is made from a combination of goals and habits. Let’s focus on goal setting in this post and habit formation next week.
3 Goal Setting Questions:
- Where are you now?
If you get in your car and have no idea where you are, you are effectively lost. How will you get to your destination? The same applies to goal setting. Before heading out on your quest for weight loss and high school reunion stardom, take a moment to assess your starting point.
Progress pictures can be valuable. We also recommend writing down a few of your current abilities and emotions. Some ideas of things to write down: How fast can you run/walk a mile? How much do you weigh? How do you feel during the day? Do you have any aches or pains? How much do you sleep? What types of food do you crave? How much water do you drink per day?
The changes you see as you reach goals may be unexpected so use this time for a thorough inventory of yourself. Include current emotional states, fears, relationships, etc. (Fitness is so much more than physique and pant size.)
- Why is this goal important to you?
Contrary to what your ego is telling you, the real benefit of setting a goal is not achieving the goal. The hidden rewards are the things you do and the person you become while working towards the desired end.
It’s very easy to exalt about the results of a goal: “I’m so excited to fit into the smoking hot cocktail dress I bought.” It is much more helpful, however, to find joy in the intrinsic motivators: “I want my husband to be proud of the work I’m putting in.” What are the deeper drivers for your goals? How will losing weight add value to your life in ways that go beyond numbers on a scale? What will be the daily merits of working towards your goal?
- Is your goal SMART?
“I want to lose weight” is a nice dream. A real goal, however, should be SMART. Intelligent, yes, but SMART in this sense also stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
This is your chance to hone in on exactly what you want to achieve. Ambiguous goals lead to ambiguous results.
Be a bit of a mathematician and fall in love with numbers. Goals with exact numbers are better achieved.
While it is true that we are capable of more than we know, it is also true that setting a goal outside the scope of our abilities is hugely discouraging.
We live in a world with fairly consistent physics. Set goals that fall within the realm of what is realistic. If you are 5’9” and want to weigh 110 lbs I would suggest reviewing some basic human anatomy – that would be unrealistic.
Our motivation for goals has a relatively short attention span. Goals which can be attained within a 2-8 week time frame produce the best results. How long will it take you to reach your goal? If you will need more time to reach a long term goal, check back next week for a look at how to develop better habits for long lasting life change.
Yes, the couch is comfortable and soda tastes amazing. Although you may be swimming in self-pity right now, you are still able to put down the soft drink and get off the soft cushion. That squishy 8 pound brain of yours is supremely powerful and you can achieve goals you set for yourself on January 1st, January 26th, or any day in the future. You still want to show up to your reunion looking like every man’s dream, right? No need to give up. Lay out a new, more attainable goal, then reach that goal and beyond.
Contributed by Danielle Radden