Friday, July 8, 2011

Setting and Achieving Goals

One of the most important factor in any type of success is setting and achieving goals. Whether it’s running or losing weight or a million other things, if you don’t know where you’re going or why you’re going there, how are you going to get there?

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photo by just warr

Early in my weight-loss journey, I decided that I was not going to quit this time. Although I don’t think that I fully realized the impact of that decision – that mindset – I knew, from that moment on, that this time was going to be different.

I had set my initial goal at losing 52 pounds by the premiere of Eclipse, then I worked on keeping a two-pound-a-week average loss. I didn’t always make it, but that was my goal

The first time I ran a full 5K, I told myself I was just going to keep moving. When I got to about a mile, I was ready to stop. I told myself that I was just going to get to 2 miles and see how I felt.

When I got to 2 miles, I decided that I’d get to 2.25 miles and see how I felt. When I got there, I decided that I could make it to 2.5 miles.

The whole race went that way, but I kept moving and I ran the whole thing. That was also the race in which I managed to snag a 3rd place medal in my age group.

I’ve been reading Reshaping It All, by Candace Cameron Bure. In Chapter 4, she talks a lot about setting and reaching goals. She starts by outlining five simple, but often profound steps in reaching goals:

  1. Envision your goals
  2. Formulate a plan
  3. Consider the gain
  4. Count the cost
  5. Do the necessary work to achieve it

I’ll tell you one big reason that I set goals for myself: because, if I don’t set goals, I can quit at any time.

The first time I did a 6-mile long run I decided before I took off that I would stop for water at 3 miles and 6 miles, knowing that I’d just use water as an excuse for stopping when I got tired, otherwise.

In the interest of full disclosure, about a mile in I did change that to 2, 4 and 6 miles because it was hot and I knew I needed the hydration.

I knew when I started, though, that those were the only times I’d stop and I’d run the whole thing. I didn’t hope I’d run it or think I’d try to run it. I knew I was going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and run it. I think I was pretty much putting the 5-step plan above into action.

I knew what it would look like to run that 6 miles. I had a plan for how I was going to run and when I was going to stop. I knew from experience that the gain would be the feeling of accomplishment from completing the run and the cost would be a hot, sweaty, tired me. Then, I set about to do the work to achieve my goal.

I love the verse that Candace (because you know we’re on a first name basis now) shares in Chapter 4:

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” – Luke 14:28-30

That reminded me so much of why I started this blog. I knew that laying it all out there in such a public forum would motivate me to do what I set out to do, rather than just quietly trying to lose weight on my own, where I could also quietly quit if things got tough.

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photo courtesy microsoft.com

Sometimes, making such a visible, public profession is the motivating key to follow through. I recently read an article written by wellness expert, Pamela Peeke. The whole article is an inspiring read, as Dr. Peeke recounts her experience of completing the Fitness and More magazine half-marathon for women.

One of the most interesting aspects of the race demographics that Dr. Peeke noted were the number of women who were running the race in celebration of significant weight-loss achievements.

However, I particularly enjoyed her retelling of meeting Tara Costa (The Biggest Loser, Season 7). Dr. Peeke noticed that Tara was wearing a bracelet made from those little craft alphabet beads. It said, “I {heart} Kona.”

Tara explained that it’s her goal to compete in the Ironman competition in Kona, Hawaii. Having a visual reminder keeps her focused on her goals. She said she is “conscious of the choice I must make…Kona or a cookie. I’m going with Kona.”

Next week, in Part 2, I’ll share some ideas for different types of motivation and reminders of your goals.

Have you spent time defining your weight-loss or health and fitness goals?

Do or do not. There is no try.

6 comments:

  1. I just did a post very similar to this. You can read it here. http://fatchickfedup.com/2011/07/01/goals/

    What I love about this post if that you didn't give up-even if your goal wasn't met in the exact way you wanted it to be, you still pressed on. I am finding that to be so important, even just starting out, as I encounter numerous obstacles. I can't let that halt my momentum. I think it is vital to have a very specific set of goals-but also to recognize that if you don't attain those goals that doesn't mean you have failed. It just means you need to re-evaluate and make adjustments, but you ALWAYS keep pushing on. That's the ONLY way to get there. There are no easy fixes. It's gonna hurt. It's gonna be hard. It's gonna take it's toll and you are going to be tempted to throw in the towel. It's gonna take blood, sweat and tears. But, like you said, the important thing to always remember is your ultimate goal and CHOOSE that you will NEVER give up. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION! That's what keeps me going anyway. Look forward to the next post.

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  2. Yeah, I read yours last week and thought it was great. Mine has been sitting
    in draft for two weeks. I made myself stay awake last night long enough to
    finish it or it would still be in draft. ;-)

    That's a good point about readjusting your goals. Sometimes you just have
    to...like those times when you're doing everything right, but your body just
    doesn't want to cooperate. I agree; that's not a failure. I had hoped that I
    would be at my goal weight by last November, then, by my birthday in June,
    now I'm hoping by my anniversary in August. I don't feel like I've failed
    because I didn't reach those goals, though, because I'm still working toward
    reaching them and still moving in the right direction. However, I would have
    been giving myself the option to quit at any time if I hadn't had those
    goals in place, so they served a vital purpose in my weight-loss success.

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  3. I soooo needed this post right this minute!  Last night, for the 1st time, I could actually feel & envision what it would feel like to be at my goal.  (which, by the way is a number I haven't seen on the scales since like 1996)  And then tonight I made a pot roast deal and went 397 calories over my budget.  What?!?!   I've stayed on target so far this week (fully realizing that only involves Wed & Thurs, ha ha), so I'm not off course completely, but I blew it tonight.

    Sometimes I wake up in the morning and love that flat, empty, clean feeling that eating healthy brings...and honestly, sometimes I hate it.  But, right now, I'm feeling really full and hating that even more.  I forgot.  Maybe it's cyclic and maybe it's just something I have to work through.  I have lost 7 lbs so far and my own clothes fit better and I feel more energetic already.  WHY do I start to slip at this stage of the game?!

    Anyhoo, thank you for your timely post.  Maybe the Lord held it in queue for 2 weeks just for me.  We're pretty tight.  ;)  I'm thinking that counting the cost in step 4 might be a little more involved than I first suspected.  Have a fantastic weekend!  :)  

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  4. Maybe He did. I love when things like that happen and you read or hear or
    see something at just the right time. I'm glad I could be a part of it.
    Sometimes figuring out the why is the hardest part -- but it's also one of the
    most important. When you have an idea why you do the things you do and make the
    decisions that you do, you can start to change the behaviors.

     

    Just remember, blowing one night doesn't mean you've blown the whole week.
    It just means it's time to recalculate (http://eclipsednomore.blogspot.com/2011/01/weekly-weigh-in-step-by-step.html).

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  5. WHAM! Did you hear that way down where you live? That was God's 2x4 smacking me upside the head. I've been quietly setting goals and quietly letting them slip away. This will be the week the goals come out, the accountability becomes even more public, and my "do not" becomes, "do!" Thanks, as always, for your encouragement, Kris!

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  6. I did hear something, but I wasn't sure what it was. ;-) I'm so glad I could
    encourage you. I can't wait to see you start achieving your goals!

    ReplyDelete

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