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Old 07-16-2008, 12:47 AM   #1
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Default What if You Can't Set A Goal?

Hi everyone! I LOVE this forum over all because there are so MANY wonderful posters and I learn so MUCH!

I've been here reading and getting some great ideas on how to progress on my journey. I saw "don't get overwhelmed" and "take baby steps" and "set goals". One my favorites "Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail".

Then it struck me - what if you can't set a goal? Of course there is the long term goal of the weight I want to be at. But that is a ways off. I thought of what a reasonable goal weekly or monthly goal would be. But what if I don't meet that goal? Or what if I exceed that goal?

Then it came up - am I REALLY afraid of SUCCESS? Are you kidding me? NOW what do I do?

I think I am very overwhelmed. Trying to find a plan that works for me, changing my life long habits. I HAVE figured out that I am an "ALL OR NOTHING" kind of gal and THAT'S not working for me.

And all of this has come up because my father passed away last month from cancer (among other health issues) and I realized that if I keep on the path I am on right now that will be my fate as well.

Wow - there's some heavy duty stuff there! But I know some great advice is about to come my way! And for that, I am truly grateful. Thank you all!
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:53 AM   #2
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You know, it IS kind of scary setting off on this kind of journey. It's scary thinking about failing, and it's scary thinking about succeeding too, sometimes, because changing your body and your life is such a big thing. But you're being very sensible about this - you know that you need to get your head together first, which is at least half the battle.

How about aiming to lose 5lb a month? Or giving yourself a target like going to the gym X many times a week, or something like that?
June goal: 198lb. July goal: 191lb

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

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Old 07-16-2008, 08:27 AM   #3
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First, I LOVE your avatar. My two pugs are snuggled up right next to me. They are all precious!!

Okay, it sounds like you've stirred up a lot of emotions! I think that often happens on this journey.

A lot of people like goals, as it gives them something to work toward. I started this journey 3 years ago, when I was 39 and I set a very long term goal -- to be fitter when I'm 50 than when I turned 40.

Nice idea, but kind of vague. I was well over 100 pounds overweight, got virtually no exercise and paid no attention to what I ate. A long term goal was nice, but it didn't help me make a plan. I was scared to set weight loss goals, too!

So, I just started making changes. At first all I did was bring snacks and lunches to work and watch portions. I slowly added in other behaviors -- I started calorie counting about a month later... as I went on, I added monthly exercise goals (number of minutes/month)... and so it goes.

I don't know the point of my post (but I had to respond to a pug lover!). But a goal can be anything, really. Short or long term, about behaviors or outcomes. Think about what you want to be!

My 5 C's of healthy living: Commitment to conscious control, with the understanding that choices have consequences
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:08 AM   #4
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I'm not really a formal goal setter, mostly because whenever I've said 'I'll weigh x lbs. by this date' in the past, I've always failed. I already feel bad enough about myself without setting myself up for more failure, right? So I quit doing that.

Nowadays I sort of stumble upon mini-goals by accident. For instance, I said recently that I really wanted to be under 190 by the time I leave for vacation next week. So here I am at 189: goal accomplished! It feels pretty good, even though I'm losing slowly. But if I'd said 'I'll weigh 185 by 7/21', I would have failed. Under 190 was managable even at my snale's pace where weight loss is concerned.

Another goal I accomplished recently is running a mile in under 15 minutes. I am a sloooooow runner and I don't really enjoy it, so that was a big deal for me. Yesterday I managed to do a full minute of this heinous ab exercise my sister (also my trainer) makes me do. That was a big deal, and made me feel good about my fitness progress. I didn't realize it was a goal until I'd accomplished it, but I'm counting it anyway.

So I guess my answer is that I let my goals sneak up on me. I tried it the traditional way and it just made me feel worse, so rather than give up, I'm doing it this way. It's working for me, though I know it wouldn't work for everyone.
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:21 AM   #5
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I totally understand your feelings on this.

For myself I'd say smaller is definitely better, because I tend to beat myself up,and I think I have to fight some perfectionistic tendencies. Plus, the all-or-nothing thing makes me completely overwhelmed. So, some goals for me might be:

1) work out 3 days per week (if I am thinking about working out, and I can't seem to get a rhythm with that and five seems too many or overwhelming and I might just give up altogether if I have to think about five days in a row). AND if that doesn't work, then I say, today I'm going to get my gym bag packed and in the car....

2) try to lose 1 pound, or
3) try to keep a diet journal for 2 or 3 days to see how it goes.
4) buy 3 healthy snacks and GET to the STORE!
etc. etc.

I'm still working through some of your questions myself, so I'd be interested in what other people say has worked for them.
Good luck and let us know how it's going!
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Last edited by wistfulgirl; 07-16-2008 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:08 AM   #6
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Having short term goals is a help to some, but for others it can be counterproductive. If you don't like the idea of goals with dates attached, which if you don't make it you will feel like you have not succeeded (I have only lost 4 lbs by the end of August, not 5!), then set goals without dates attached. If you stay on plan you will eventually get there! Make them realistic and achievable. Also goals do not have to be weight-related. I had a goal of making a strenuous hike up a mountain this past year, and I made it! That was a great goal to achieve. A goal can be something as small as making it through one day completely on plan. The next day, try for another day. And give yourself rewards for making your goals. Different things work for different people and you can make goals work for you.
Life's a journey, not a destination.
It's easier to stay on plan than to get back on plan.
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Old 07-16-2008, 11:22 AM   #7
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I don't like the idea of goals with dates, but I do well with just having something to strive for.

Right now I'm striving to be in the 150s. I don't care when I get there (ok, other than sooner, rather than later! ) and I don't care if i'ts 159 or 155. I just want to be in the 150s. So that's my current weight goal to get below 160.

Another goal I have is to be able to do 50 pushups.

A food related goal is to eat more protein.

None of them are absolutes - in the sense of I must achive X by Y date. They're just things i'm working towards and if I keep working towards them, I will get there.

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Old 07-16-2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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I also agree that goals can be whatever you want them to be! I have not been a fan of weight loss related goals, mainly cause we only have indirect control over what the scale says. But we have direct control over our behaviors. So when I set measurable goals, I make them behavior goals. My current goals are to learn more about weight lifting, to do a pull up, to run a half marathon, and to improve my biking skills. Some of these are concrete and measurable and some aren't I guess, except in my own mind.

Maybe you would like to make it a goal to try a new veggie each week. Or to walk 15 minutes a day. Goals have a way of growing out of goals.

Are goals even necessary I wonder? I am very goal-oriented, but I wonder if the concept of goals might not work for everyone. I guess though when we change we need an idea of how we want to change, so I suppose goals are inherent in that. But one could always rephrase "goals" to be something else. "Steps", "changes", or "behaviors" maybe.

My condolences for the loss of your father.
"And that's how Beowulf rolls"~ my DD

Last edited by midwife; 07-16-2008 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:27 PM   #9
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I'm so sorry about your Dad! I lost my mom due to complications from diabetes not long ago. It was one of the things that made me take my health seriously. It has been a huge motivation in my weight loss. I'm an all or nothing kinda person too, which does not work well for weight loss. I've learned to just try to control what I can. I can control exercise and tracking my food. I can't make that scale move fast like I'd like it to. My goal is to control the food and the exercise and the scale follows, maybe slowly, but it does it's thing and I do mine. I try not to look at the long term goal as much as ten pounds at a time which helps too.

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins... Not through strength, but through Persistence.
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Old 07-16-2008, 05:27 PM   #10
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Great! I knew I would find help here!

I guess I was looking at the weight loss goal. Which has been pointed out here - I can't control that scale. I really like what H8cake said about the scale, "does it's thing and I do mine". Words to live by!

I think I have to set goals because they are going to give me an idea of the direction that I need to go. But I like setting lifestyle goals rather than weight goals, and not setting a date. I'll have to try that one out!

Thank you all for your great wisdom! It has really helped me!

Heather - you have Pugs? I LOVE my Pugs. Well, I only have one now. Best thing that ever happened to me - seriously! I always tell everyone - you can have a dog, but once you get a Pug you lose your mind. In a good way, of course! PM me!!!

Thanks again everyone!
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