I know there has already been a lot of talk lately about goal-setting, but I'm wondering if anyone might have some advice about my mini goal, and realistic first steps.
I tend toward being over ambitious, despite the fact that I've never had any sustained success losing wieght. A little history: I gained a significant amount of weight my last two years of college (about 50 pounds!), but otherwise I was never really overweight for my particular 5'9 frame. Consequently, I don't have a long history of dieting, or any real experience with weight loss. For the past year I've gained and lost the same five pounds, eventually just gaining ten more.
Long story short: I've suffered from an all or nothing mentality. I've only just figured that out. For the past two weeks (and two days!) I've stuck to this for the first time ever. Now I'm just wondering about setting some initial goals. 199 is the magic number in my mind, and I was hoping the first day of summer would be an ideal goal. Now I'm not so sure that's realistic - but it would be wonderful. Still, I don't want to set myself up for dissapointment. Maybe I should aim for an even smaller first goal? Something by June 1st, perhaps? Any and all suggestions would be a great help. What worked for you guys when you were starting out? I guess I'm looking to challenge and inspire myself, without going too crazy.
Sorry this is so overlong, I guess I wanted to give a little background since I've never started a thread before. This site has been huge motivation to me so far -- thank you all for the inspiration!
05-04-2010, 10:51 AM
As you can see from my signature area - I look at mini goals. I could not face the fact that I needed to lose over a hundred pounds. But, I take it five pounds at a time. It is so much more managable and real.
Many of my goals have to do with my behavior around food too: things like slow eating, eat while sitting only, no seconds, plan food, write down food, measure food, exericise, water etc. (I write them down in my journal and check them off on the days when I remember - all the time, some of the time, none of the time....)
These are concrete things I can do everyday that add up and are just as significant as losing the pounds.
05-04-2010, 11:52 AM
Hi scatterheart! Like you, I tend to be overly ambitious. I set large goals for myself in all areas of life. In weight loss, however, setting large goals for myself has slapped me in the face when I took them too seriously. When I had the "all-or-nothing" mentality, I would lose a few pounds, not make my goal, and then say "screw it" and give up. Some people do well with large goals, but my two pieces of advice to you would be
1) Set goals and strive towards them
while at the same time remembering
2) That those goals are guidelines, aspirations, not magic numbers that you must attain in a set amount of time
You'll get there eventually, if you have enough will!
05-04-2010, 11:53 AM
I definitely understand the all or nothing mentality - for me, it was always about being "on" a diet, so the second I fell off a diet, I just kept going, right back to all the old habits and regaining whatever weight I lost. Now, I emphasize to myself that I'm not on a diet, so I can't fall off! The worst I can do is make a bad choice, but I have the ability to make a good choice the every next time - the next day, the next meal, even the very next bite! I was able to modify my all or nothing attitude about this but I never had the same mindset about challenges - with those, I like having something to work towards but I don't go off track if I don't make it by a specific date.
You'll see in my signature that I am participating in a challenge to get to Onederland - the original challenge is for people to get there by the first day of summer. I knew that was probably not realistic for me, but I figured I could still join the challenge because the worst thing that would happen would be that I would make some great progress toward getting there. And I have re-framed it for myself so that I will consider it a major personal victory to get to Onederland any time this summer.
But I also had to know myself well enough to know that whenever I get there, I will in fact be happy with progress and focus on that rather than any disappointment that I hadn't achieved the goal of getting there by a certain date That's a very personal thing, so you have to think long and hard about whether it will work for you and not backfire if you get so goal-orientated that if you don't make it, it becomes and excuse to blow your plan.
As for ongoing minigoals, again, it comes down to what motivates you personally. I am mostly focusing on losing 10% of my body weight at a time, although I will have a few interim minigoals too - for instance, once I get my 2nd 10% done, the next goal will be Onederland, which is in the middle of my 3rd 10%. For me, it's about milestones that feel personally significant, so of course, they will vary for each person.
05-04-2010, 12:09 PM
I used to be the same way and it was really because, like you, I had never really done it all the way and maintained it. Iíd lose 20 pounds, fall off the wagon, and gain it back. It was back and forth, so I never really got to see what weight loss was like thirty or forty pounds in. What I can tell you is that your mentality changes pretty drastically when you really start losing some serious pounds and you change your lifestyle so significantly. In the beginning, for me, it was all about losing that next pound, push push pushing myself and beating myself up if I didnít make it or meet a (self-imposed, remember) goal.
Now? I still like to see certain numbers on the scale, but Iím much more ďbig pictureĒ. And to be honest, I just came off a month long binge during which I gained back some weightÖand as much as that sucks, I just keep reminding myself of where I came from, the things I HAVE achieved and the improvements Iíve made in my overall health and fitness. When you start seeing those kinds of changes, the numbers donít mean quite so muchÖthey matter, but they arenít the make or break factor in your weight loss. Iíve had a few goals that I didnít meetÖbut I was still seeing a downward trend in the pounds and I knew I was making changes and was proud of myself for sticking with it.
So as far as being overly ambitious? Take that initial motivation and drive and run with it, hang on to it and try to make it last. It will get kind of tough when you donít meet your goals, but itís really hard to anticipate whether youíll meet most of them or not. You just have to focus on the health aspect and bettering yourself as a person and remember that the numbers on the scale donít necessarily tell all. Goals are good ideas and give you good parameters, but they arenít set in stone and any improvement is worth celebrating!
05-04-2010, 12:49 PM
For me, scale number goals would never work. I would always be disappointed. My weight comes off in it's own time frame, not mine! lol.
What about other types of mini goals? Like X number of days on plan? Or X number of days free of ______ or _____? You could find a article of clothing too tight to wear now and see how long it takes to get into it. Jeans are great for that, make sure you can get them on, just not able to zip them. Then it is not a long term goal. Also, having a goal that doesn't have a time crunch will be more motivating. I know I will make my mini goals, I just cannot predict the time, so I count the days to get there to pass the time.
05-04-2010, 01:38 PM
I am all about behavioral goals, not scale goals or inch goals or size goals. I cannot directly control what my body does; I can only indirectly "suggest" to my body, through my behaviors, that perhaps it should lose some fat or get smaller or get buffer.
In April, my goals were:
-- To work out every day, hard, for at least 30 minutes.
-- To get up at 6 am every day, even weekends, in order to do my workout.
-- To continue with the healthy eating and healthy sleep that I've been doing for the last 2 years.
-- To make a significant average daily calorie deficit for the month.
In May, my goals are:
-- Keep up with the daily workouts.
-- Keep up with the 6 am rising time.
-- Keep up with the healthy diet and sleep.
-- Increase my average daily calorie deficit from about 650 to about 750.
-- Change up my strength training and biking to make them a little more of a challenge than last month.
-- Create a new daily habit of reading at least 30 minutes per day.
I will lose weight as the result of meeting my behavioral goals. I don't know exactly how much weight I will lose in May as a result, but my guess is that it will be in the range of 5 pounds. I lost about 3 pounds in April, and in May my calorie deficit will be a little higher.