Setting Goals – Diet Day 37

From a very early age I found myself setting goals for things I wanted to accomplish. Whether it was learning a new skill, getting better at playing baseball, or managing my time more efficiently, there was always a goal. As I grew older that formal goal-setting sort of fell by the wayside. I don’t really remember why that happened. Perhaps I thought I had outgrown the process or maybe I had gotten frustrated when the goal was not realized. Whatever the case I stopped doing it.

During this week’s diet homework the chapter was all about goal setting. As I read through the material I began to understand why setting goals was important, especially for me. I am very results oriented. This is both a positive and a negative. On the one hand having a goal with measurable results gives you a way to track your progress. On the other hand, having defined measurable goals can also cause you to become frustrated when you do not reach them.

Clearly, for me to be effective I needed to set aggressive but attainable goals in order to track my progress and keep me focused on where I am trying to go. Goal setting is not just about writing things down on a piece of paper where you can review them every so often.

Formal goal setting is defining the end state to what you are trying to accomplish but also putting a plan together to achieve your desired results. Saying something like “I want to lose weight” is a noble thing but unless you develop a plan to accomplish the task it is nothing more than wishful thinking.

I took some time and tried to develop a set of long-term goals but with shorter-term milestones where I could see whether progress had been made and to allow me to make mid-stream adjustments if the results did not meet expectations.

I broke the goals up into several categories. I wrote down goals for eating habits, physical activity, and mental aspects of my life. I didn’t want to get tunnel vision in one specific area but instead work on all parts a little at a time.

Eating healthier and monitoring portion size was a logical goal but was a little nebulous. Instead I needed to define specific criteria such as eating smaller meals every 2-3 hours in calorie controlled portions of 100-200 calories was a much better goal and one that I could monitor and evaluate my progress.

Likewise getting more exercise sounds like a great goal but how do you measure that? Instead I defined progress such as walk 10,000 steps per day and burn 2,500 calories every day.

From a mental perspective I sidestepped the obvious listen to my wife more and ponder the universe. Instead I described my goals in terms of taking time to talk to Trina every day and understand her day and how she is doing. I could couple this with the above exercise goal by going for nightly walks and using that time for conversation.

In the end I feel like I now have a plan. It is now a matter of putting in place the vehicle for me to achieve the plan. I will clear away some of the clutter than seems to creep into my life and instead focus my time on the above goals. That should provide me with direction and allow me to measure success to becoming healthier. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

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