Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Next Step: Goal Setting

So, if you've been to the doctor and you know your body, it's time to take a good, hard look at where you are now and where you are going. First, look at the big picture. Sometimes, the words can be a little vague. "I want to feel healthy" "I want to reduce stress" or "I want to lose weight" are all abstract ideas. So, start with the abstract and move on from there. Let's look 5 years from now. Where do you see yourself? A new job? A new feeling? What about the little things that you want to make easier? Run up a flight of steps without stopping? Play with your kids on the playground? Do you want to find your true inner self? There are so many connections between our personal life, spiritual life, career life, and our health.
OK, so you see yourself in 5 years. Now, how are we going to get there? Baby Steps, like in the movie "What About Bob." Take the first baby step. Where do you need to start? Is the problem eating? Exercise? Both? For most people, it is both. For most people, finding little fixes in those two departments works wonders for the whole picture.
SO, if that's the case, Step 1: throw stuff out. Go through your kitchen and find anything that you KNOW does not belong in your body (don't use the kids as an excuse). If it does not have nutritional value, it's gone. Of Course, dump the food in the garbage disposal and then put the packaging in the recycling bin.
Step 2: where are you going to workout and how? If you know that you are not going to workout without going to the gym, then it is time to join. If you know your time to exercise is 5 AM running/walking the dog, then set your alarm, my friend, and don't look back. Home exerciser? Time to check out the plethora of DVD's available at amazon.com (or createspace.com), Target, or any local sports store. Get workout clothes and shoes.
Step 3: schedule. Schedule your exercise within your day. AND, start noticing when your body requires food and schedule your meals and snacks around that.
So, you have a schedule, you have perused your farmer's market, and you know where you are going to start your exercise. How do you know where you will be and what you should expect? The norm is 2-3 pounds of weight loss per week. This is a roundabout and depends on many factors. Use it as a round number and set a weight goal for 2 months from now, if weight loss is the issue. If stress or general health are the issue, find a place you want to be at in 2 months. Can you make a little headway on your cholesterol? What about sleep? Do you want to be able to sleep for a solid 6 hours in 2 months? This is possible!
NOW, after you set that long term goal and that 8 week goal, make it to the 8th week and then start setting more goals. It gets easier. You will find that with a goal and a lot of self-motivation, you can get up early, make it to the gym, or eat that spinach salad instead of the TBone steak. You just have to remind yourself. A lot. And you have to be realistic with yourself. If you slip up, just get right back on that horse! A tiny slip up, you will find, really won't hurt that much in the end. It's the snowball effect that hurts. So, you just have to let it go and don't be so hard on yourself. Remember, if you don't allow yourself a piece of cake today, you might eat the whole cake tomorrow.
Finally, remember in kindergarten when you got a gold sticker for meeting a goal? We are all still that kid. We need a little external motivation. So, if you meet that goal, give yourself a gold star. What's a gold star? A spa day? A pair of shoes you have been eyeing? The clothes might be a necessity and a nice bonus. Tickets to the Astros game?
Keep a journal and hold yourself accountable. If you can't be accountable to yourself, be accountable to a workout buddy or a peertrainer group (www.peertrainer.com). It takes 3 solid weeks to make a new habit, and then you will find it's harder to live without your new healthy lifestyle. So, give it 3 weeks and then make it to your 8 week goal. Surprise yourself. Anything's possible.

1 comment:

Phillips 2.0 Pad said...

Great job! I enjoyed reading your articles. So sad you have left us. Keep up the good work and I will continue reading your blog.