Polar Bear

Polar Bear
My Boy

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When goals become G-O-A-L-S

OK, so obviously math ain't my thang...you'd never know that I have to use it everyday.

Here were the Hot 100 goals that I posted a while back:

My goals:
1.  161 pounds by year end-59 more to go
2.  No weeks with a weight gain
3.  No days eating over 2000 calories during the holidays

So ~60 pounds in 3 months=20 pounds per month.  So far the most I have lost in a month is 18 in my first month, ever since it has been 3 pounds per week.  And eating about 1000 calories a day leaves little wiggle room to ramp up exercise without my body eating my muscle.

Um, can you say backpeddling??

So I may have reached a little TOO high when I wrote #1.  However I have upheld #2 and #3 so far, but I guess Halloween will be the first big seasonal challenge of the big HOLIDAY SEASON.

This brings me to my question.  When does a goal become less about reality and more about fantasy?  Sure until a goal is actually reached, and I would argue that it must be held onto and maintained as well to qualify as 'reached', a goal is merely a fantasy.  Like an oasis on the horizon, there may be water, but I'm not quite there yet to know for sure.

However I have struggled for many years in setting goals for myself.  Early in my youth I started setting goals either extremely high or completely unreachable (such as, ehem...marrying Derek Jeter).

The problem is that some of these goals actually came to fruition, when they probably should not have.  I should say that they came to fruition probably due to 70% luck and 30% hard work.  This has propagated me setting high goals for my whole life so far...

But when setting a goal that will require 100% hard work by you and you alone, such as weight loss, is it better to set many dispersed mini goals that can be attained, in order to spawn more motivation to finish the journey? 

Should we not just aim to be slightly under an 'overweight' BMI, but in the middle to lower end of the 'ideal' range?

Is setting more difficult goals setting ourselves up for failure, or are they necessary to avoid 'near goal' slips and complacency around the upper 'ideal' border with 'overweight'? 

So how do you set your goals?  Do you set many that are easily attainable and reaching them keeps you motivated along the way without dispair of a far reaching goal on the horizon?  Or do you strive towards ONE?  Or you dream big like me and set a monster G-O-A-L (weight in an impossible time frame)?

By nature of the word itself, goals are to be strived towards and made, but how far is too far which may make us forget why we started to begin with?

Where does an impossible dream begin and a goal end?


Amy @ Findingfitme said...

Goals. This is a hard area for me. I think how you set/view goals is completely dependent on the individual. I found in my nearly 9 month journey that I am not so good with goals. I get very close but not on the mark. I get disappointed = depressed = sabotoge.

Your goal is very strong. my 2 cents is that you aren't giving yourself or your body much room to adjust to such a quick loss. There is a great blog http://escapefromobesity.blogspot.com/ I would reccomend. She is on medifast and many times she has written about the mental adjustments she has had to make.

If you think you can do, then do it but please don't beat yourself up if you don't make it. That's the key.

MB said...

When I read your goals for the Hot 100 I thought to myself "I wish I could even THINK about losing 59 pounds in 100 days." I would be so happy to lose a third of that by the end of the year.

I think having high expectations gives us something to reach for but I like to set smaller, more attainable goals so I can pat myself on the back for a job well done instead of beating myself up because I didn't succeed. Maybe you could make some smaller goals for yourself while still striving for the ultimate goal.

Whenever you get there I will be like the soccer announcers screaming "GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLL"

Polar's Mom said...

Amy-Thanks for the suggestions! I have read escapefromobesity, and while she has some great points, she and I do our Medifast plans differently... Honestly, I am not too worried about not reaching my goal. I figure sooner or later, probably later rather than sooner the way my body lets go of pounds, I will get down there. But I think I would like to set a lower goal weight-not by January of course! ;-)

Hey MB-You are a liar, you thought I was CRAZY for thinking I could lose 59 pounds that fast! Admit it! Hahaha. I don't know what I was thinking. ;-) I thought about setting smaller milestones for me, and rewarding myself with non food items, but that final number is all that resonates in my head-so maybe as it turns out I am just a crazy final goal kind of gal... ;-)

Moderate Means said...

Well, Mrs. Jeter, I'm rather lax about goals. I set them based on ideals that I would love to see happen. But I'm not uber-dedicated to them either and happily change goals when one seems to overwhelming (or hard, if I'm being truly honest.)


Sue said...

I hate setting goals. I have recently set some on my blog page but they are all attainable if I just concentrate on the big picture and don't get off track. I don't like setting them because then people/myself can see my failures, I don't want to see them or have others see them either.
However I have set them and they will stay for now anyway....

Katie J said...

I prefer to set small attainable goals so it more of a Set-Achieve-Set-Achieve pattern.

Thanks for your comment today :)

Jennifer said...

Goals are tough. I have been at the same goal to see the 150's since June. I am down 65 lbs so far and just cant seem to get out of the 160's regardless of my efforts. And the way I see it, the 160's is way better than the 220's and 230's I once saw. So its not so bad. Plus I am more active and can wear smaller clothes now and it makes the scale a little less important...but just a little :) I still want the 5!!! I think you are doing great. Do the best you can and thats all you can ask of yourself, right? Keep it up.


Mom to the Fourth Power said...

The problem with weight related goals is that once they are reached, we feel we are done, and so we can "relax" or not necessarily maintain what it took to get there.

But if you have a goal that is not just a point you reach but a way you want to be and maintain, then we are more likely to keep the good habits we acquired to get that goal.

For example: I want to loose 100 lbs. vs. I want to be healthy and fit
or: I don't want to feel sick and tired anymore vs. I want to ride my bike 10 miles each week. Etc. This is stuff I learned from Dr. A's book and it's changed the way I think about goals. I don't want to slip back into old habits!!


JW said...

Hi, I am new to your blog and your journey. First of all - Congrats on your successes thus far, Awesome!! I am not the best with goals because I have given up weight loss goals and have now turned all my attention to life goals. In the meantime, I am shrinking, but I am still new into my experiment, so I don't suggest it to others yet. :) No matter what you do, celebrate your successes and find some joy in the journey. :) Janelle

Waisting Time said...

I'm going to be totally honest and hope I don't get beat up over this. I don't really like goals that have to do with a number of pounds lost. I have come to the conclusion over the years that we cannot control the number. We can only control our actions and hope that the number follows. So I am all in favor of goals about behavior. Yes, I have a goal weight in mind. But the goals that I work on, so to speak, are all about action. Then it does not matter if you are being realistic with a number or not. If you eat right and exercise, that is what counts. The number may be slow to follow.

Amy @ Findingfitme said...

59 pounds is an awesome goal. My end all goal is 140 but I break it down to little goals along the way as a way of attainment. It makes the journey easier then seeing I have to lose a total of X for the total. My first was to get under 200, in to ONEderland. Now it is to be below my hubby. It just makes it easier for me, 140 seems like a pipe dream right now.

Waisting - I totally get what you are saying. It makes sense to me.

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

Goals are tough, especially when you DON'T make them. I didn't make weight loss one of my goals. If I achieve my goals, losing weight will be one of the rewards but I hate putting a number on my goals. Then I get so disappointed when they don't turn out well.

I'm trying to have the attitude that I want to lose 1 lb. Just one pound at a time. Much more attainable!!

Weightless said...

I set big goals, that are attainable but challenging. If I don't make the big goal, I tend to have made significant progress. I set smaller, mini goals to keep me accountable, on track and satisfied along the way. If I made all my goals, small then I wouldn't have much to work towards. My Hot 100 is to lose 30 lbs. Considering it's the last 30 lbs I want to lose, I know it will be VERY challenging. If I only lose 15 or more I will not be disappointed. :)

Anonymous said...

This is a tough one to answer. I would say that if the most you have ever lost in a month is 18 pounds, it is probably too high of a goal to say you will lose 20 pounds per month for three months. You can do it, but it also borderlines on potentially discouraging. Goals need to stretch you, but not discourage you. A really tough balance to find.

Jo said...

I agree with Debbi. Weight loss is not one of my official goals, but if I reach the others, I will lose weight.

Goals in general? I like to set the bar high. If I get halfway there by deadline? It's win-win for me. I set some more attainable ones, too, so at least I'm progressing.

Kat said...

Goals can be tricky. I try to make them SMART - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. That being said, it is most important to me for them to be attainable. Hope you are having a nice weekend!