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Goals, Again February 25, 2012

Posted by Optifast Blogger in Maintenance.
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And again about the class I took a few weeks ago at work (and blogged about before). The workbook finally arrived that was missing at the time of the class, and I’ve discovered more lessons in the class that can be applied to our weight loss/fitness journey, especially related to goal-setting.

Goals have been a key part of my Optifast program. We learned how to set good goals, S.M.A.R.T. goals, where the letters may stand for different things but usually start out with specific and measurable. Being accountable for goals was also urged. We had exercises in our weekly support group meetings where we told a partner a goal for the next week (related to food, walking, water consumption, etc.), and then accounted to them about that goal the following week. And at almost every meeting, even in my current “Lifestyle” (maintenance) phase, we log how we did on our goals for the previous week and what our new goals are, on a sheet that gets passed around to everyone in the group.

Now, back to the workbook I got for my class where I work. Among other things, it says, “Research shows that you have a 40 percent chance of achieving a goal if you write it down, 65 percent if you write it and share it with someone, and 95 percent if you write your goal, share it and follow up with an accountability partner.” Which of course is exactly what we did in our Optifast support group!

This last week (somewhat dismayed at my weigh-in “blip” that hadn’t gone down) I did a spreadsheet for myself on with goals on water, exercise and food tracking. I was diligent using it most of the week. And it paid off at my subsequent weigh-in – I had lost 4 pounds. Although I didn’t have an accountability partner to share goals with, I did write down my goals, which gave me a lot better chance of achieving them than if I had just thought, “Oh, I should drink more and exercise more this week, and track my food,” and then forgotten all about it.

The workbook also has some good suggestions (as part of “Action Planning”) for reviewing your progress (or lack thereof) on the goals you set. It recommends that you check your progress with the following questions in mind:

  • What did you accomplish?
  • What did you learn by meeting or not meeting your goals?
  • What should you do differently next time?

So if you are consistently not meeting your goal of say sleeping 7 hours a night, probably something has to change. (You can put the blame on me if you end up telling your snoring husband he has to sleep on the sofa…) Or if you aren’t meeting your goal of drinking 64 ounces of water a day, something different needs to happen (extra water bottle for your desk at work, buying bottled water for the car, etc.). If we just keep setting goals without reflecting on whether they were met and why not, it’s kind of like the hamster in the wheel.

The big goals – losing weight, getting fit, becoming healthy – are made up of lots of little goals, so the better we are at setting and achieving those little goals, the more likely we are to reach our big ones.

Good luck with our short-term, specific, measurable goals this week, and our long-term, we-can-do-it goals!