There is a lot of attention paid to “goal-setting” in weight loss and fitness, as there should be; it is essential to success. With so much information and guidance out there, it was a little overwhelming to get started.
Then I stopped stressing about it and got to work. Through this process, I developed a system of goal-setting that moves as quickly as I want it to. There are really only two principles on which it is built:
#1 It’s important, very important, to set goals.
How will you get what you want if you don’t know what it is? Goals bring focus to your energy. They provide an opportunity to examine and adjust your behaviors with intention, and make it easier to choose the right thing. Goals give you control and ownership, and remind you that your success is determined by the sum of your OWN actions and decisions.
#2 Goal-setting is much less complicated than it seems.
There are endless resources on goal-setting, and a huge variety of approaches. For me, it had created unnecessary pressure to come up with perfectly and articulately defined goals, along with spectacular and elaborate plans to reach them. If it is the first thing we are supposed to do, and I’m stumped already, then how can I start?
Then I got it. I just had to START. So I picked a short-term goal. And I began defining my long-term goal. The short-term goal was to lose 11 pounds in time for an event I was going to attend. The long-term goal was to fit back into my favorite jeans from a couple of years prior. That was about 25 pounds away.
(Long story short, I lost 8 of the 11 pounds I had wanted to lose prior to the event, I’ve been back in my favorite jeans for months)
#1 + #2 = My goal-setting system.
Understanding the IMPORTANCE and SIMPLICITY of goal-setting helped me create a system that has brought me tremendous success:
- I always have 2 goals, one short-term and lone long-term;
- The short-term goals are challenging, achievable, consistent, and aligned with your long-term goal; I set and achieve them one after another – set it, get it, and on to the next one; they keep me moving and motivated;
- The long-term goals (obviously) have a longer timeline, and the challenge should reflect that; they should excite you enough to make your knees shake a little, but still be realistic; I set one and keep it in the distance as my guiding light, then set a new one once I get there;
- Examine choices in the context of these goals, “Will this choice bring me closer or further from achieving my goal?”
It may seem simple, but that’s one of the things that makes it so powerful. The combination of short- and long-term goals means I will always be working toward something, and always achieving something. The momentum builds confidence, and exist in a continuum of positive change.