December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolutions Must Include Goal Setting!

Pants...tight. Stomach...bloated. Head...fuzzy. Motivation...nil.


I may have looked like this a couple of times....I don't remember.
 Man, I love the holidays, but always seem to feel the same at this point (the point between Christmas and New Years). I dread getting back to it because I've enjoyed a few days off, but want to get back to it because I'm sick of eating and drinking like I'm the King of England celebrating the coming of the Renaissance (excuse my ignorance of history...I'm just trying to make a point and it felt good at the time). I'm literally wearing fat pants and dreading having to put on dress slacks for work again for fear I will have to keep them up with a safety pin.

Needless to say, I'm reacquainting myself with my journal and working on my list of New Year's Resolutions. Yes, I believe in them. I have many friends who don't, but I'm a behaviour change specialist...it's my job to believe in them. To resolve to change is to have hope and motivation. Unfortunately, they aren't the only things we need. We need a plan of action.

So I have begun this process by creating a list of long term goals I wish to accomplish by 2012.  You wanna hear 'em?

Goal #1:  To drop the final 10 pounds of my previous weight loss goal of 2011 by December 2012.

Goal #2:  To have completed 1/2 of my second book by December 2011.

Goal #3:  To kick the procrastination habit.

Okay...that's me. What about you? What long term goals are you playing around with? Writing them down will help you deconstruct them so you know exactly what it will take to achieve them successfully.  I like to refer to these as "umbrella goals". They represent the ultimate change.  But the goal setting process is far from over, next you must place a set of steps under each umbrella. For example....

Goal #1:  To drop 10 pounds in one year.
Step 1a:  To eliminate processed food and focus on a diet based on veggies and suggested serving sizes.
Step 2a:  To increase the number of resistance exercises and focus on building my cardio safely.
Step 3a:  To enjoy red wine on the weekends and share (only) one bottle with my man-friend.
(This one is due to my passion for the grape. It's a deal breaker and one I will not do without.)
Step 4a:  To record and grocery shop regularly to keep the house full of the good stuff.

These would be the action steps under my umbrella goal. Although they appear simplified and detailed each one could serve as a heading for their own list of steps. For example...

Goal #1: To drop 10 pounds in one year.
Step 1a:  To eliminate processed food and focus on a diet based on veggies and suggested serving sizes.
Action 1: To clean kitchen of processed food (based upon the ingredients list).
Action 2: Create a menu plan for the week and a shopping list that represents it.
Action 3: Do a grocery shop every week for whole, fresh, healthful foods predominantly veggie-based
Action 4: Record your progress every night if possible or as much as possible outlining what is working and what is getting in your way....make changes accordingly.

I have met soooo many people
who feel like this after even one
month of exercise.
See what I mean. If I didn't fear boring you, I could even take Action 2 and 4 and create sub-steps for each. My point is that goal setting is more than just stating a desire to lose 10 pounds in a year. I could teach a course on the subject (and am at the North Island College - see "Speaking Engagements" - pardon the plug). It is no wonder that over 60% of those starting a new exercise program or diet will drop out of it before 6 months. That is what the statistics suggest, I would suggest (through experience of working with many who try) that it is within the first 2 months.

We all want it now, want it fast, want it to be easy and want it to be pain free. Unfortunately, Real Life Health changes take time, are challenging, and - although they should be physically pain free - can be emotionally painful at times. Just try passing on a double-fudge chocolate cake during a brutal bout of PMS...not that I would know anything about that..... 

Behaviour change isn't what it
once was....I hope.
Over the course of the next few weeks, in keeping with the first month of the year, I will be posting on behaviour changes and providing my own real life examples of what I'm planning myself. Personally, I'm tired of procrastinating and always saying I'll get to it later (my book). I have made an effort to post on most days of this year to the point of realizing that I could have written my book - ouch.  I am sick of wasting time watching some stupid TV show and I 'm ready to make some serious changes.  Perhaps you are too. I think we all have something we would like to change, the trouble is those who have a less-than-successful experience in the past tend to wave it off. It takes about 9 attempts to change; previous attempts act as stepping stones. 
I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking and then I thought "What the hell good would that do? - Ronald Shakes
I mean, we aren't getting any younger (at least I'm not - if you are...please let me know your secret). I always think that I will be 50 (if I'm lucky) no matter what. I would love to be 50 with another published book on my shelf, healthy and injury free, and looking fabulous! That's my motivation. What's yours?

That's all I got. Thanks for reading!
K

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