One of my coaches recently asked me a question regarding goal setting.
More specifically, how would I encourage someone who was trying to set goals for themselves that they kept missing and continue to get discouraged by?
While I could probably write about this in a variety of ways, I’ll pose it from a fat loss angle for some perspective.
I’m going to use an arbitrary place to work from and let’s assume you weigh 263 pounds and you would like to weigh 150.
If we’re working with some simple, nuanced math, that’s 113 pounds you’d like to drop and if we work with the industry norm of 1-2 pounds lost each week (on average), it could take you between 1-2 years to lose the desired weight.
Sure, you could experiment with some more aggressive weight loss regimens and lose some of that weight at a faster clip but when we average out all of the stops, starts, plateaus, holidays, illnesses, etc. you’re probably still going to fall into that loose window of 1-2 years.
Now, I’d like you to temporarily forget about the goal.
Forget about 150 pounds goal weight, forget about 113 pounds to get there, forget about the 1-2 years.
Instead, I’d like you to focus on what it takes to change the number 263.
-Am I more motivated to get down to 260 or 259?
Most of my clients like to shift down so if you can relate, 259 is the goal.
Now, ask yourself:
What do I need to change about my diet/lifestyle that will get me from 263 to 259?
Do I need to move more (raise your daily step count)?
Do I need to snack less?
Do I need to reduce alcohol?
Do I need to remove second or third helpings?
Make note of the changes that most apply to where you are now.
And when you reach 259, you set the next goal.
Is that 255, 254, 250, 249?
There is no wrong answer.
Pick the number that is motivating to you and follow the course.
One reason why this approach to a fat loss goal is helpful is because it takes the concept of goal setting and makes it attainable.
You also have the flexibility to change the goal if life is currently too stressful for something bigger.
Note that as you continue to work the number down, you’ll also have to keep looking at problem areas in your diet/lifestyle that might be holding you back.
-Are you eating out too frequently?
-Are you consuming more processed foods than normal?
-Are you not getting quality sleep?
Oftentimes, when we set goals, they are too ambitious, too unwieldy, too inflexible and therefore, too hard to reach.
Another problem with goal setting is that we don’t realize what effect the goal will have on the rest of our lives: our families, our social circles, our workplace atmosphere, etc.
When you break a goal down into sizable chunks, realistic chunks, you can still achieve what you want and perhaps at a faster or more measured pace. You’re also crafting a series of scenarios that help you achieve wins more often.
And to my coach(Hi, David!), who inspired this week’s article: I would reiterate, if a person is constantly setting goals they can’t hit, make the goal smaller, gain momentum, and celebrate those frequent, smaller victories.
They still count.