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Short term goals: think big or something conservative?

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Old 02-25-2013, 04:25 PM   #1
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Default Short term goals: think big or something conservative?

Some times I see people have what seem to me to be unrealistic goals, like losing 25 lbs in 5 weeks. I mean, sure, most of us would like to do that, but I think that we also know that most of the time, that's not usually that realistic.

Personally, I tend to pick time based goals on the fairly conservative side - so even if I know I'm averaging 2 lbs a week, I'll make my goal about 1.5 lbs a week. That's to give a cushion in case I stall a bit, but also because I tend to prefer to meet or even exceed a goal rather than fall short.

But then I wonder whether I'm challenging myself enough. Maybe I would do better if I made the goal something that I had to work harder to try to achieve? Of course, there is no guarantee that harder work necessarily turns into a bigger loss on the scale....

If you set short term, time-based goals, how do you decide on them? And how do you feel if you fail to achieve them?
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:33 PM   #2
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I'm probably queen of the unrealistic goals. When I started out I was going to be at 100 pounds loss by Christmas. Didn't happen. So then I just set a goal of going a month without cheating. After a big "woosh" in January, I aimed to be under 300 pounds by April 1, but then I stalled out for about two weeks, so the likelihood of making that happen is less.

I've found though that I tend to make a super ambitious goal, and then mentally, I give myself a bit of a break. It's hugely important to me to get under 300 (294 would be even better, it gets me out of "morbid obesity"), and while April 1 would be a fantastic time frame, I tell myself that if I do it by my sister in law's shower (May 4th) then I'm still ahead of the game. And I'll probably fall somewhere in the middle. But if I put it down on paper that I had an extra 34 days, then I'd be afraid I wouldn't work as hard. Quite frankly, if it hadn't been for all these darn weddings this summer, I probably wouldn't have busted my butt as much as I have.

As my mom says "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?".
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:44 PM   #3
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I failed my first time dependent goal. Gave up on making time dependent goals, then I decided to make one specifically for my birthday. It doesn't look like I'll make it, but I'm busting my butt trying.
If I don't make goal by my birthday I will be deviated :-(
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:03 PM   #4
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I made my goal of 199 solely on the fact that it was literally impossible for me to imagine ever being in the 100s again, nevermind able to get to 275, 250, etc. I never put a time limit on it as I never expected this to happen. It ended up taking me about 7 months to lose 100lbs.

199 was a number pulled from the stars and heavens assuming if I get there, it would be nothing short of a miracle.

So I hope you all believe in miracles as I am slowly closing in on it.

I am a little superstitious and don't want to change my ticker to my new goal after that but I am throwing numbers around in my head. I think I might make my new goal 185 or even 175 which will be surreal to me. But if I had seen "153lbs to go" on the ticker when I started I could never have succeeded, it would have been too overwhelming.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:15 PM   #5
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I tried time related goals before and I just put too much pressure on myself. I'm not as good as others are under pressure.

Now I try to set achievement goals, like remembering to eat smaller meals and taking an eating break before I go for seconds. Before I would load up my plate and immediately go for 2nds because it tasted good.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:05 PM   #6
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I made time based goals but always made them something achievable. They were usually a goal for a particular calendar month, doable if I remained on plan, not doable if I didn't remain disciplined.

But I also never freaked out if I remained on plan but didn't reach a particular goal. As long as I knew that I hadn't cheated myself out of success, that was all that mattered. If I worked hard, then what I got was what I got and it was good enough.

I tend to think that those who post with completely unrealistic goals also tend to jump on all the new diet fads, pills and cleanses and then fade away and don't post anymore when they find that it really all comes down to discipline, hard work and staying power.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:35 PM   #7
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I think for ultimate final goals, you should set the bar relatively high. However, you don't know how long it will take. For goals that are a particular amount of time, I think you should be conservative so you don't set yourself for failure. I also like the idea of goals that are action oriented rather than result oriented because we can't alawys control how our fat cells behave. Example: Workout 4 days a week for 4 weeks straight. Stay OP for 30 days straight.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:12 PM   #8
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I feel too much pressure with time related goals as well. It kind of makes me feel like I'm failing even though I'm making progress.

I've found I like to have a main "big picture" goal in mind, but a bunch of mini goals along the way. Lately, the mini goal that has made me feel the best is to stay on plan for the day, or for a string of days. Each night that I climb into bed is a little victory - no scale required!
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:55 PM   #9
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I agree with mandypandy2246. You can be doing everything "right" and still reach a plateau, or just lose more slowly than you expect sometimes. It's just not 100% under your control in that sense. I aim more for behavioral goals, which I can control (hypothetically, anyway!).

Every time I've set a monthly (or longer) goal, I've never hit it right on. Maybe it's because I don't have much weight left to lose at this point, but the losses are pretty dang erratic for me. I'll lose a bunch at once, then nothing for a very long time.
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Old 02-26-2013, 01:58 AM   #10
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Hmmm, my only goal was ever to not go off plan.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:38 AM   #11
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I often give myself HUGE goals - like, borderline insanity huge. Personally, if I reach a goal early I take that as permission to go off plan and eat whatever I want until my goal date. A 'hey, you're already at goal, now you can use the extra five days to celebrate!' free-for-all. I'm not disappointed when I don't reach my huge goals, since I've always lost something, so for me it's better to shoot higher than I can actually achieve - it motivates me to keep working hard to get as close to goal as humanly possible.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:07 AM   #12
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I also give myself uber-conservative time related goals. Like when I was losing 1.5lbs a week regularly, I'd estimate a goal at a rate of 1 lb a week so that I was setting myself up to succeed. Or like last year I gave myself 3 months to lose a final (I think) 10 lbs... I totally failed at that but it wasn't that the goal was unrealistic, it was more that I slacked off way too much, to be honest.

I like fail-proof type short-term goals so I can feel like a winner and like I'm making progress.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:08 AM   #13
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I set conservative time based goals and then after i've hit them consistently for a few weeks, I increase them a little with the caveat that if the new goal isn't working out for me, I'll back it back down to something more livable.

However, the scale based goals are more like milestones for me to mark my progress. If I don't hit them, I don't worry about them, as long as I am hitting my action based goals.

If I've done everything or most everything I set out to do and the scale doesn't co-operate, I'm satisfied with my progress.

Some of my long term goals are a bit more out there, but as I get closer to them and it's easier to judge how feasible they are, I'll make adjustments.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:33 AM   #14
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My short goal is to be in the 190's by the end of June, which was totally doable if I could lose 10 lbs a month. But I haven't lost anything going on two weeks now So I'm starting to see that that probably won't happen as my body apparently hates me too much the two weeks before my TOM. It'll drop when it comes, but it's never that much really, a lb or two at most if I'm lucky.

That was my short term goal, 10 lbs a month. Long term was goal by Thanksgiving, but I think pushing it back to Christmas/New Years might be more feasible!

I've started walking in the afternoons so I'm hoping some exercise will help move things along!
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:01 AM   #15
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If it is time dependent and less than 8 weeks, I usually stick with the 1-1.5lb a week range. If it's a time dependent goal larger than that, then usually I will aim a little higher. I don't mind adjusting my final goal if necessary for the larger time gaps, but for a month to two months, I try to aim low and then if I go well past my goal I feel proud!
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