I have made a SMART goal to lose weight. I want to lose 40 pounds by my wedding day in June 2016. I want to look good and feel confident and comfortable in my wedding dress.
June 2016 is over a year away, and I could write the manual on procrastination. It is easy to say, “I’ll go on a diet tomorrow,” or “I’ll start my exercise plan next Monday.” This is how I’ve spent nearly a decade of my life being overweight and miserable. I have 9 years of procrastination to thank for that.
Over those 9 years, I have grown as a person and have found out what makes me tick. Although I am excellent at procrastination, I am a goal-oriented, Type A perfectionist. This explains why I fail at dieting and exercising. I’m not forgiving of myself when I make a misstep, and this leads to a sense of failure and hopelessness. This sense of failure drives me to the apathetic, self-destructive attitude of “screw it, I’ll eat the whole thing and start over again tomorrow.”
The idea of starting over again tomorrow, when I can be perfect is seductive and damaging. I could have eaten a slice of pizza or a single serving of something that is good for the soul. I could have shrugged it off, but no, I had to eat the entire row of Thin Mints.
It’s okay to have a treat, and enjoy it fully. It is okay to take pleasure in small things. It is okay to acknowledge that I am not perfect and I don’t have to be.
Once I acknowledged these things about myself, I began to set goals in a way that used my own personality traits to my advantage.
1. I make to-do lists constantly in my planner. It keeps me sane and keeps me accountable for my job. Additionally, it gives my mind a break from having to be the sole keeper of tasks. I acquired this habit when my fiancé gave me a small purple notebook, and encouraged me to record everything I did and needed to do for work. I am grateful for this gift that he has given me, and have extended this habit to my weight loss effort. This comes in the form of files in a notepad with a few simple goals that I need to achieve by the end of the week.
2. I deal with metrics and numbers as evidence of improvement, or “Key Performance Indicators”. My weight on the scale is just one KPI. I like to include miles of cardiovascular activity, repetitions, and pounds of resistance as evidence that I am improving.
3. I ensure that my goals are short-term. I got through a difficult program in college, one day at a time. Weight loss is no different. I may not have enough focus to make it through a year-long program of diet and exercise. I can, however, make it through this week.
4. I ensure that my goals have a certain amount of forgiveness. This allows for changes in schedules and plans. I have a hectic lifestyle and I enjoy going out with my friends. My goals allow me to do this without guilt.
5. I reward I myself when achieve my weekly goals. I buy that new pair of shoes that I’ve been looking at for weeks, or I splurge on a luxurious lipgloss. I take a break from the treadmill and go for a long walk outside. This reward rarely involves food, as that seems counterproductive to my weight loss goals.
Setting small, process-oriented goals help me to achieve a larger goal without feeling overwhelmed. I