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A Guide to Setting Goals

Greetings on the coldest day of the new year. I waddled outside this morning to negative temps and a lovely breeze. Whoa nelly! It’s on days like this that I wish I could work from home AND afford a dual residence so I could snowbird somewhere South Jan-Mar. One day. 🙂

Today I want to talk about goals. It can be exciting for many people – signifying progress and purpose with the determination brought on by a sparkling new year – but for others it’s barely a thought. After all, doesn’t “resolution” mean we are vowing either to do something or to not do something – and if it were easy to make that change, wouldn’t we have already done it?? A week before new year’s I received a (motivational?) email from our old fitness club trying to get people to renew memberships in 2016. It contained phrases like “you will try alone and you WILL FAIL” and “why bother when you know you won’t succeed”. Wow. It fed into my own self-doubts about change but didn’t leave me feeling hopeful and empowered. I didn’t sign up.

I’m always a bit pensive about making resolutions / goals / whatever because I have a poor track record in achieving goals I set for myself. In fact, my #1 goal each year is to lose weight and more often than not I end up gaining weight!

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I’ve tossed a lot of ideas around in my head, mostly formulating how I want to approach 2016. Usually I want to have my goals written down by 1/1/20xx so that I can start rock’in and roll’in right away but I’m OK with a more relaxed approach this time around. I read a couple of interesting articles that changed my perception on goals and they are worth a pause or two before moving onward.

So here are some things I picked up. Simple but impactful and maybe they will help you when you look at any goals or resolutions you’ve set for yourself this year.

Each year you make the same resolutions.

If you find yourself in the same spot year after year, why would this year be any different unless you do something to make it different?? Instead of focusing on your end result, say to lose 20 pounds, set action items that you have total control over. For example, I can’t actually control the weight I lose or gain each week but I can:

  • stay within a specific calorie range x times a week
  • exercise x minutes x times a week

By giving yourself tasks you can check off a list, you can more easily control and move yourself in a direction you want. It allows you to visualize success and track progress. Maybe get yourself a calendar and make that big X on each day you followed your plan? Plus, if you fall off the bandwagon a week, or a month, you can just whip your action items out and start again.

You have more than a couple of resolutions

We’re all gung-ho in January but most of us fizzle out because we look back mid-year and realize we haven’t made any progress and toss the rest of the year away. Instead, focus on just one or two goals and put your energy into them. Once you see success, you’ll be more motivated to tackle other things. Pick items that you are most passionate about or ones you think are the most likely to be successful so you can set yourself up for solid progress.

You doubt that you’ll actually achieve your goals

How often do we write something down knowing we won’t make it happen? If you tell yourself you won’t make a goal, you probably won’t make that goal. It’s not easy but working on appreciating all progress instead of an all-or-nothing mentality can help. Instead of chastising yourself for making a mistake, turn it around and view it as a chance to just start over and do better. You only fail once you stop, right?

I know my two main wishes this year are to lose weight (again) and to better cope with stress. I’m so tense right now that my shoulders feel like they are inching closer and closer to my ears. It’s kind of crazy.

My actions plans for the moment are as follows:

  • Find a calorie tracker (done) and track my calories / stay within range 5 days a week (ongoing)
  • Hit the gym 3 times a week (just get the butt in the door, it doesn’t matter what I do right now)
  • Pick one thing each week to do that is positive and that will bring me joy. I’ve been taking time working on a leisurely puzzle and the quiet time has been really, really nice

008

While I’m working on trying to stay within my calorie goals each day, we plan out what meals we will eat out. Dining out used to be a frequent occurrence but it’s much more difficult to eat on plan when you can’t count all your ingredients.

So this weekend we mindfully enjoyed dining out for breakfast. Ben dove into blueberry cheesecake pancakes and was a happy guy – even so early on a Saturday!!

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I wanted French toast but got scrambled eggs too for added protein

006

We sat quietly in the restaurant and enjoyed our meal and the NFL pre-game commentary. If only the end result in AZ had gone just a little bit better!

003

I’m surprised but a little happy by how many Christmas trees I still see up and about. Work still has both of their large trees up. I guess I’m not last for once. 😉

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So I’m off to work and then I’ll meet Ben at the gym so we can cross off a box for exercising this week. Progress!!

And here’s to success in the coming year…

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