Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Goal Setting – Why is it Important?

When I first began my journey I did not have an idea what I was doing. I worked out using the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred video and Jillian spoke a little about goals. Once I got my hands on my first Eat Clean book that was it for me. I realized without a plan I was only spinning my wheels.

Why are goals important? Goal setting prevents you from becoming so overwhelmed with what you are trying to accomplish. For example if your goal is to lose 60 pounds and you keep looking at that big number your heart rate quickens, you begin to self-doubt and you finally just give up. Well what if I said instead of looking at the 60 pounds you look at losing one to two pounds per week instead. Now looking at one to two pounds doesn't look so bad right? Your monthly goal would then be to lose an average of 4-6 pounds a month. This is exactly what I did and the reason I was able to accomplish my goal of losing 58 pounds in six months was because I set my mind on weekly goals.

Weekly goals can also include food and beverages. If you are a Diet Coke addict then your goal is instead of having three or four diet cokes a day you go to one or two. Then you drop down to one and eventually you eliminate your Diet Coke habit. Why is it important to get rid of this horrible habit of drinking Diet Coke or Diet anything? Diet drinks contain an ugly sweetener called Sucralose this is also in Splenda. This nasty sugar was developed by a chemist in a lab and it is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Duke University confirmed that sucralose reduces the amount of "good" gut bacteria by 50 percent. Without these good gut juices your body will retain waste causing your gut to fill up with none other than poo. Sorry folks but it has to be said. Sucralose also causes significant weight gain especially in the belly. Sucralose also contains chlorine these manufactured sugars can cause damage to your organs and reproductive functions.

Here is a story from my experience with setting goals. When I decided on my goal I weighed 180 pounds at 5 feet 5 inches tall. My waist measurement was about 38 inches. As you can tell I was carrying a lot of belly fat. My husband told me after I lost my weight that I kind of looked like the Grinch. I had really skinny legs but my belly was very large. Now I can laugh at this but if I would have known that is what he saw I would have been mortified. I shared with my family and friends my goals. I had tried to lose weight before but I never stuck with anything or I would have a "setback" or "too much going on" to even try. I remember telling one of my closest relatives that I wanted to weigh 135 pounds. I was very upset when I was told, "don't set yourself up for an unrealistic goal." This coming from a close family member and I was upset, hurt, angry and most of all more determined than ever. Most people would give up if someone they loved told them they were setting unrealistic goals. I on the other hand used those words as my fuel and kicked my butt into overdrive.

You have to realize that when you first begin your journey you might not have supportive people. Your friends and family the ones you believe will support you all the way might not. This is ok and don't get too upset. Once you start making changes and they see you are really serious or once they begin to notice physical changes in you they may jump on your cheering squad. Again don't be alarmed if they don't. I lost some friends through my journey because I started making changes and I no longer wanted to eat out or drink alcohol. Instead of going out late I was going to bed early so I could get to the gym in the early morning to workout. You will make new friends that have similar goals at a gym or in a fitness class. You will become friends with your instructors or trainers. You will begin to see there is an entirely new life out there for you that you didn't even know existed. Especially if you are very heavy and you have been limited on things you could do because of your weight.

It is important to share your goals with everyone. This way when you are eating out and you decide to eat only a nice big salad or grilled fish minus the baked potato, butter, sour cream, and adult cocktail; your friends or family wont' tempt you too much to join in their bad habits. If you attend a birthday party and pass on the cake don't let people guilt you into eating it if you don't want to because, "it's ok to cheat every now and then". This one was my favorite line. If you haven't learned to control your sugar intake just yet you definitely want to avoid listening to these people, if not you will looked like a starved animal going back for more. These friends or family members will accidently sabotage all the good you have done.

Also remember it is important to set fitness goals. One of my goals was to complete the Mini Marathon and I did. I joined a running group and found a running partner. I never ran a day in my life until the February before my first Mini. Completing a half marathon was an overwhelmingly satisfying accomplishment especially knowing I ran the entire race. The last mile I was running on straight adrenaline. Knock yourself out when setting your fitness goals. Don't let anything stop you.

People who set goals have a greater success rate than those who don't have a plan. I said it before without a plan you are just spinning your wheels. You will become frustrated and you will be more likely to throw in the towel. Remember set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. These little goals will add up and help you reach that ever impending scary goal.


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