Setting and Achieving Goals

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One of the most important factor in any type of success is setting and achieving goals. Whether it’s running or losing weight or a million other things, if you don’t know where you’re going or why you’re going there, how are you going to get there?

setting and achieving goals

photo by just warr on flickr

Early in my weight-loss journey, I decided that I was not going to quit this time. Although I don’t think that I fully realized the impact of that decision – that mindset – I knew, from that moment on, that this time was going to be different.

I had set my initial goal at losing 52 pounds by the premiere of Eclipse, then I worked on keeping a two-pound-a-week average loss. I didn’t always make it, but that was my goal

The first time I ran a full 5K, I told myself I was just going to keep moving. When I got to about a mile, I was ready to stop. I told myself that I was just going to get to 2 miles and see how I felt.

When I got to 2 miles, I decided that I’d get to 2.25 miles and see how I felt. When I got there, I decided that I could make it to 2.5 miles.

The whole race went that way, but I kept moving and I ran the whole thing. That was also the race in which I managed to snag a 3rd place medal in my age group.

I’ve been reading Reshaping It All, by Candace Cameron Bure. In Chapter 4, she talks a lot about setting and reaching goals. She starts by outlining five simple, but often profound steps in reaching goals:

  1. Envision your goals
  2. Formulate a plan
  3. Consider the gain
  4. Count the cost
  5. Do the necessary work to achieve it

I’ll tell you one big reason that I set goals for myself: because, if I don’t set goals, I can quit at any time.

The first time I did a 6-mile long run I decided before I took off that I would stop for water at 3 miles and 6 miles, knowing that I’d just use water as an excuse for stopping when I got tired, otherwise.

In the interest of full disclosure, about a mile in I did change that to 2, 4 and 6 miles because it was hot and I knew I needed the hydration.

I knew when I started, though, that those were the only times I’d stop and I’d run the whole thing. I didn’t hope I’d run it or think I’d try to run it. I knew I was going to keep putting one foot in front of the other and run it. I think I was pretty much putting the 5-step plan above into action.

I knew what it would look like to run that 6 miles. I had a plan for how I was going to run and when I was going to stop. I knew from experience that the gain would be the feeling of accomplishment from completing the run and the cost would be a hot, sweaty, tired me. Then, I set about to do the work to achieve my goal.

I love the verse that Candace (because you know we’re on a first name basis now) shares in Chapter 4:

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” – Luke 14:28-30

That reminded me so much of why I started this blog. I knew that laying it all out there in such a public forum would motivate me to do what I set out to do, rather than just quietly trying to lose weight on my own, where I could also quietly quit if things got tough.

the importance of setting goals

photo courtesy microsoft.com

Sometimes, making such a visible, public profession is the motivating key to follow through. I recently read an article written by wellness expert, Pamela Peeke. The whole article is an inspiring read, as Dr. Peeke recounts her experience of completing the Fitness and More magazine half-marathon for women.

One of the most interesting aspects of the race demographics that Dr. Peeke noted were the number of women who were running the race in celebration of significant weight-loss achievements.

However, I particularly enjoyed her retelling of meeting Tara Costa (The Biggest Loser, Season 7). Dr. Peeke noticed that Tara was wearing a bracelet made from those little craft alphabet beads. It said, “I {heart} Kona.”

Tara explained that it’s her goal to compete in the Ironman competition in Kona, Hawaii. Having a visual reminder keeps her focused on her goals. She said she is “conscious of the choice I must make…Kona or a cookie. I’m going with Kona.”

Next week, in Part 2, I’ll share some ideas for different types of motivation and reminders of your goals.

Have you spent time defining your weight-loss or health and fitness goals?

Do or do not. There is no try.

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