Friday, April 15, 2011

Setting Yourself Up for Failure?

I can't remember how many times I used to say "I'm going to lose XX lbs by vacation."  (Or whatever big event that was coming up)  I should've known when my own wedding wasn't incentive enough after a long engagement that a vacation sure as heck wasn't going to magically change the way I did things or my intensity.  But let's say I was actually motivated to do so and I did everything right.  I ate right, exercised regularly, drank my water, watched my sodium and all that jazz and come vacation time I wasn't near the goal I set for myself.  Sometimes I would be off by a few pounds, sometimes by quite a few pounds and every time I didn't hit that number, I felt like a failure.  The thing is, I wasn't.  I was doing everything right and on paper while setting a modest weight loss goal for a month or a period of time seems like it could be incentive, it can also have the reverse effect.  We all know what sounds good on paper does not necessarily translate to the body.  You can do everything right and for whatever reason, it just doesn't happen.  After a certain amount of time obviously you have to then tweak things if what you've been doing isn't getting results.

There came a point probably about 70 lbs into my journey that I said "you know what?  This isn't working.  Every time I miss that goal, I feel like crap and don't celebrate the progress I made."  So I refuse to set pound related goals for myself because it doesn't change my intensity, commitment or the way I do a single thing.  This journey is so mental that any added stress you can take off of yourself is a step in the right direction.  All I can ask of myself is that I make the very best choices I can every day and stay within my calories and bust my hump doing my scheduled exercise 5x week and that has to be enough.  The slow downs are frustrating enough but they're that much worse when you add "and on top of that I'm even FURTHER from my weight loss goal for the month/trip, etc."  I give my all and I weigh in once a week to see where I'm at and just hope that I'm that much closer to where I want to be and if I'm not, I know I can honestly say I gave it all I had for the week.  I'm done with setting myself up for failure over something I don't have complete control over.

Do you set weight related, time limit oriented goals?  Why or why not?

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6 comments:

  1. I used to set goals and mini-gifts to get if/when I reached them. Unfortunately, I'm not one that really deprives myself of little things and would often buy them for myself prior to reaching the goal, so...fail.

    I think when you're first start really trying to lose weight, that there's all this momentum behind you and you spend a lot of the time emmulating practices of others that have worked for them (i.e. little gifts as rewards), instead of focusing on your own intrinsic motivation.

    Now that I've been at this a while, I'm more comfortable with setting realistic goals, mainly because I know my body. That's not to say that I don't push myself, but I'm also not one that can lose 8-10 pounds a month. I'm usually a 1 pound a week girl, and that's fine with me now.

    So, as for goal setting, do I still do it? Yes and no. In late February, I decided that I would like to lose 20 pounds by my birthday. Not because I'm doing anything fancy, but just mainly because my birthday is smack dab in the middle of the year (7/1) and then another 20 pounds after my birthday prior to the end of the year. It's realistic. And if I hit that goal, I've allotted $300 to do something for myself that I've wanted to do. Get my teeth professionally whitened or buy a guitar or spend a day at the spa or put it in my travel fund...nothing concrete.

    I heard somewhere once that people can inspire you, but they can't motivate you; and when I stop and think about that, I'd say that I agree. Motivation comes from within, inspiration comes from external sources.

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  2. That is a tough one. You are totally right, so much of this is mental and so many people miss that. I think you are right about setting goals and while sometimes those goals can be helpful, sometimes they aren't. When they aren't, you aren't doing yourself any favors beating yourself up about it. I think so much of this is trying out different things and seeing what works for you. It's not a one size fits all (which can be frustrating) and you have to toy around to find what works. Right now I have a goal in mind but really I just want to get my stuff in order and get going on a healthy path again. When the scale follows I'll take what I can get. If it doesn't go down as much I want and I did everything I could, I will accept that and move on. You gotta find a way to balance it all.

    Thanks for giving me something to think about. I hope you have a great weekend!

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  3. I have weight loss goals, of course, but not with a time limit. I have been at this long enough (15 months), lost enough (77 pounds), and done it before (too many times to count) that I am acutely aware that my body is not a machine: X calories burned - Y calories consumed = Z pounds lost is nice in theory, but it doesn't work precisely that way in real life. Eventually the pounds drop, but it's not as neat and clean as the formula suggests.

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  4. I do mentally but rarely make them public because I often do fall short. I have made my goals more, less excuses more actual exercise related now. I am trying to go from couch cushion to less lazy LOL.

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  5. I do have weight goals and a time frame (52 lbs in the 52 weeks of 2011) but I'm not going to be crushed if I don't make it. It's a missed goal, not the end of the world. Mostly right now my goals include building and maintaining better habits.

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  6. (late to the convo)

    I have set (and accomplished) on reward goal. But I didn't set the reward until I was quite close to the goal (set reward at 25 lbs lost, got reward at 30 lbs lost--half way to my total goal).

    It did help me but it also frustrated me a bit. But overall, it was worth it. I got a reward that was completely frivolous (a $30 necklace), something that I never would have given myself without a GOOD reason.

    What's really surprising me is how much this reward necklace can pick up my mood on days when I feel "blah". It's a shiney reminder of what I have accomplished so far (and reminds me to never go back to my old ways!).

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