I am late posting this because, honestly, I have given up on New Year’s Resolutions. Both making them and keeping them. It never fails that I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to change, only to realize some time later that it was not MY goal but what I thought should be my goal. It was either someone else’s idea all along or what I perceived ought to be good for me because it was popular. (Insert the ever-popular ‘losing weight’, ‘eating healthier’, ‘getting in shape’… the list goes on. And on.)
These are good goals, mine you. I would never discourage anyone from pursuing them. But those goals are not always my goals. Especially at the dawn of a new year. My goal-setting usually comes to me when I see a need. And then is when I will be dedicated to seeing change.
My point is this: setting personal goals is, as the name would suggest, a personal choice. Don’t set goals for yourself that are not your goals.
Never do it because it is popular, or someone thinks you should, or everyone else is doing it. Don’t let people tell you what is right for you. Make your own choice. I’ll add a caveat here: If your doctor tells you to go on a diet, or take your medicine, or eat healthier, you should heed that advice. That is for your well-being and your health.
I am speaking of things like going back to college just because your friends are doing it. That may not be for you. So don’t set yourself up for failure. Find another objective you can achieve and be happy with.
Here is how I set a hypothetical goal: I just bought a new outfit for Valentine’s dinner (should anyone want to invite me out!) but it is a little tight. So I don’t have to spend the entire evening in spanks and, therefore, not being able to breathe, I need to lose a few pounds.
Firstly, never buy a dress that is too tight in the store! Losing weight like this is unrealistic. Nevertheless, let’s continue with the example.
Because Valentine’s Day is less than six weeks away, I have a little time. But not much because the older we get, the harder it is to lose weight. Our bodies are made to hold onto that fat forever! I calculate that losing seven pounds would make my new dress hang very nicely over my curves.
At the achievable goal of losing two pounds a week, this suddenly seems possible. Six weeks times two pounds a week is twelve pounds! TWELVE pounds! Wow! I can do this.
Ok. First step done. Now, how to accomplish this massive weight loss? Salads, carrots, lowfat cottage cheese? No. Not for me. You see, I have low blood sugar and, therefore, eat six small meals each day. Meals that include protein and some sugars, like fruit. Both of which are usually high calorie. So I count calories and I count grams of protein. It’s like a high-wire act. And it is sometimes exhausting. The easiest way for me to deal with this is with my Fitbit. I enter in my food intake and it keeps track for me. It really helps.
But… You know there is always a big but when it comes to dieting. Since I have done this exercise multiple times, I know I won’t consistently lose two pounds a week, no matter how diligent I am about what I eat. Some weeks it will be lose three pounds, the next week, gain two. Like a roller coaster. It can be frustrating. And this is when so many people fall off the dieting wagon. I’ve done it many times myself.
I just have to stay motivated. Keep my eyes on the prize. That dress is hanging on the back of the door where I can see it every day. I want to fit into it. I want it to look good on me. I visualize myself in it, on the arm of an equally charming date. I can do this! I will do this!
So, hypothetically speaking, is this a good goal? For me, I say ‘yes’. I have identified my goal. I have set achievable, realistic measurements. And I have given myself a definite time to achieve it.
I look in the mirror with resolve and give my head a little toss. Maybe I’ll do a New Year’s Resolution after all. I can set a goal. I can make it measurable and achievable. I know how to do this.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go buy that dress. Now I just have to find a date!
Happy belated New Year’s Eve!