Friday, January 13, 2012

Success without Goals

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? For someone on what could be termed a “weight loss quest”, I have few articulated goals. No goal weight. No short term weight loss goals. No metrics with which to empirically judge my progress. This struck me when reading this great post by my friend Gwen about her goals. It made me realize that it was kind of strange that I did not have anything similar. I understand the concept of having something very specific and measurable to work towards, but somehow I never really put that together for myself.

I remember having vague ideas of “if I lose an average of a pound a week, in a year I’ll be 50 pounds lighter!” That sounded kind of nice and also kind of incredible, as in no way in hell could it happen. So, I let go of that idea and just decided to focus on what I could actually control: my behavior, attitude, and choices on a daily basis. I ditched the weekly weigh ins for monthly ones that also included measurements. I set a calendar reminder and didn’t think about it until the time came (for the most part, I’m human after all). Even in a “slow” month, I could see that I had lost maybe 2 lbs – if I’d been checking weekly I’d most certainly seen weeks with no change or just tiny ones or heaven forbid, gains! Waiting for the month to be up gave me something to hold on to, no matter how small. This freed me up to focus on what I was doing each day rather than on the results I wished to get from those actions. This was helpful because – as anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can tell you – the scale is fickle. But knowing this does not stop many of us (myself included) from taking its pronouncements as some sort of reflection of not only our compliance, but our worth.

I’m not saying goals are bad things to have – for some they are very motivating and just the thing to get them going. I like reading other people’s goals and cheering them on. But for me, I’ll keep going with my non-goal oriented quest. It seems that I got to that 50 pound non-goal after all!

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