Goal setting for the ‘simple’ minded.

On February 21, 2010, in Goal Setting, by Emily

I love closure. I know that I’m not unique in this. I love being able to say ‘okay, I’m done with this, let’s move on’ and it’s really taken care of. I wanted to believe the statement of ‘Mission Accomplished’ just like many of you, even when I knew that the mission itself was far from complete. I want to be able to say ‘I’m done with this diet and exercise thing’ and officially ‘close the door’ on this particular facet of my life.

It is so difficult to wrap my mind around a conscious lifestyle change. To be mindful of the ‘things that need to be done to lose weight’ that are constantly being parroted like a mantra in the back of my head is a battle in itself. To even focus upon the highest priorities is a challenge because those tips change like the positions of leaves in the wind. Lifestyle change, too. To be honest, I find it a jump to be able to focus on anything more than a day or two in the future, much less ‘the rest of my life’.

With ‘lifestyle change’ there is no closure. I can’t say to myself ‘okay, I’m done with this, I can move on’ because ‘moving on’ means that I’m dead. I have to come up with goals that I can easily wrap my brain around. Losing 200 pounds, to me, is like saying that I owe a billion dollars to someone. Logically, it may be true, but there’s a part of me which doesn’t UNDERSTAND and COMPREHEND that fact. How do I overcome this mental barrier?

Through the application of persistent self effort.

By breaking down the large goal into a bunch of little goals, there will be a tipping point from ‘you have got to be insane’ to ‘wait, I can do this!’. The trick is to have a plan and to make sure that the goal is realistic. To make it realistic, the timeframe must first be established. ‘I will lose 200 pounds by March 1, 2010’ is unrealistic, since I don’t have a time machine, nor do I have that ‘happy little pill’ that will relieve me of the weight. I might be able to avoid being a zombie, but setting that goal would be setting myself up to fail.

It took me nearly 25 years to put on this kind of weight. I wasn’t being mindful of what I was doing at the time, gaining weight ‘behind the scenes’ until it came around again. ‘Hey, Fat Lady! You’re not able to sit in restaurant booths! You’re not able to do THIS or THAT because of your weight – you should change that!’ That’s when I decided to change it. I put on a little bit here, and a little bit there. It wasn’t overnight – it was indeed persistent self effort to weigh what I do. I think, though, that I can get it off faster than 25 years. Let’s say… five. I will lose 200 pounds by January 1, 2015. That sounds like a realistic goal.

How do I take what’s in my head and turn it into something tangible for my body?

2015 is a long way off. Sure, I know that it will exist, just as I knew that the year 2000 would eventually exist when I was 15, but it’s too far off for me. When the job interviewer asks, ‘so, where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ I have to make up something because I can’t rightly say that I will be there the next day. I’ll leave the conversation about probabilities and possibilities for another time. Needless to say, I know that there are things that I’d like to see in 2015, but I have no real conception of that far ahead in the future.

January 1, 2015 is approximately 249 weeks away from right now. Breaking that goal of 200 pounds down to a ‘week by week’ basis, I would need to lose less than a pound a week. Heck, I should be able to do that with my eyes closed, right? There should be at least a little challenge to it, so let me change the time required to achive it. After all, I don’t want the goal to be akin to the easy task of ‘wake up every day’ or something like that. Let me take off 104 weeks. I will lose 200 pounds by January 1, 2013. 145 weeks – that makes it around 1.5 pounds a week. This goal evolved from ‘I will lose 200 pounds by January 1, 2015’ to ‘I will lose 1.5 pounds a week for the next 145 weeks’. Slightly more realistic, but still not basic enough.

Why isn’t it basic enough?

I need my world broken down into things that my entire brain can wrap around. I’m intelligent, and my conscious mind understands the concept of a billion dollars, but the one who works on a day to day basis does not. My conscious brain understands 1.5 pounds a week in 145 weeks, too. I attempt to be in the HERE and NOW. HERE and NOW don’t synch very well with something as nebulous as ‘145 weeks from NOW’. The solutions to problems are not ‘what can we do next week’ but more ‘what can we do RIGHT NOW’ to alleviate the conflict? I weigh 345 pounds. I don’t want to weigh 345 pounds. What can I do RIGHT NOW to resolve this conflict?

My calories need to be around 17836.7 (2548.1 x 7) in order to maintain my weight at 345 pounds for the entirety of a week. To lose 1.5 pounds over the course of a week, I need to have 5250 calories LESS than that, for a total of 12586.7 calories over seven days. That means that I need to set a dietary limit of around 1800 calories a day in order to lose 1.5 pounds a week. That is *completely* doable and workable in the overall scheme of things, but I want to make that goal even more simple – to less than a day’s worth. I need to think of each meal that I have in terms of calories that I’m taking in. Fortunately, if I eat three meals a day, that’s 600 calories per meal – enough for a LOT of veggies. If I eat more than three meals a day, I can divide accordingly but I will be able to DO this because the tiny goal is not unrealistic.

I WILL do this.

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