Resolutions versus Goals - Who wins?

Last week, we talked a little about resolutions and why they don't work so well... Now that we're three weeks into 2018, how are you doing on those resolutions?

resolutions v goals blog title

I'll be honest... I've probably already fallen off the wagon on one or two of those goals I shared with you, back on the first. The difference is this: Since I don't make resolutions, I don't have to worry about failing. I might miss a deadline, but I can adjust those, and get my butt back in the game.

By now, you've figured out that I'm not a huge fan of resolutions anymore. But I am a huge fan of planning, goal setting and achieving something tangible. Not to say that the only goals I set have tangible results, but for my own sanity, I work towards at least having something to show for what I've done. Because, let's face it - it's a lot more motivating to work your ass off to achieve something when you end up with something... anything... to show for it.

But a resolution isn't the same as a goal.

resolutions v goals not the same blog graphic

Not even in the same ballpark.

A resolution is a proposal. "Here's what we want to do..." Back in high school, I was on the debate team. A resolution was what we spent all our time preparing to argue over. It wasn't a plan. It wasn't a roadmap. Heck... often, it wasn't even an end result. A resolution is something you resolve to do. Great! You want to lose weight. That is an awesome, even laudable resolution. But it lacks any driving force.

And here, in the third week of 2018, if you've already fallen off of at least one resolution, I'm going to challenge you to do something with me. Let's make this failed resolution a goal. I don't care that it's no longer New Years (when exactly does it cease to be a new year, anyway?), you're going to make this a goal, and start pursuing it today.

Courtney Lodge, in his book Personal Mastery,(affiliate link, btw) sets this standard for goal-setting:

SMARTER goals blog graphic

A goal should be, not just SMART, but SMARTER:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Assigned resources
  4. Realistic
  5. Timed
  6. Evaluated and
  7. Rewarded

Let's take that "I want to lose weight in 2018" resolution, and turn it into a SMARTER goal.

[If you are reading past this, you acknowledge that you understand that I am not a health care practitioner or expert, that this does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cure, and that you will speak to your own health care team about your health goals.]

It should be specific: "I want to lose weight" is great. It's admirable. But it's vague. "I want to lose 100 pounds" is specific.

It's also measurable. One hundred pounds is an easily measured number. To check my progress, all I have to do is step on the scale.

Let's assign my goal some resources. First, I need time to work out. Twenty minutes a day of walking is a good start (and something that I can manage with my current pain levels). I also need time for learning about nutrition and meal planning. Allot myself about 3 hours a week for those two things, and make sure I do a little research ahead of time to know where I can go to get information and planning ideas. I might also need to reassign some of my budget to allow for some supplements, or to cut out some of my eating out budget.

We need this goal to be realistic. My ideal weight for my 5'6" frame (yes, I know it's entirely controversial, but I can get on board with this weight, because I've been there before, and was healthy. Looked healthy and felt good.) is 135 pounds. I'm intentionally ignoring BMI, because it's not an accurate measure of health. I've also spoken to my doctor about this weight, and she agrees that it's a difficult goal, but it is reasonable. I am currently 269 pounds, so 100 pounds doesn't put me at my ideal weight, but pretty close to it. it's also just under 2 pounds per week, which is what most health experts now agree is healthy and sustainable.

What's next? Ah... We need our goal to be timed. Well, we've said that I want to lose 100 pounds in 2018. To refine this, I will instead say, "I want to lose 100 pounds by December 31, 2018." I've also set a mini goal of losing an average of 2 pounds per week. (and yes... I made an awesome little spreadsheet with dates, weights and rewards for milestones... we'll get to rewards in a minute.)

Evaluation: I can't do this part right now. In fact, I can't tackle the last two parts of this goal for a little bit... but I can plan how I'll execute them. How do I evaluate how I'm doing with my goal? I can step on the scale, for starters. But my personal goal isn't just losing the weight. I'm aiming for better health, which means that I'll also evaluate my diet and see where I can improve. I can set dates on my calendar for more in-depth review of diet and exercise (monthly or quarterly - I opted for monthly), and have a standing date with my scale every Sunday to check my progress. [Note: To date, I've lost...]

Finally... Rewards! What's the point of doing all this work if you don't get something for it? No, you're not a dog in training, doing tricks in exchange for a biscuit. But you do work harder when something's on the line, right? Now, I could easily say that looking a heck of a lot sexier and feeling a whole lot healthier is my reward for losing 100 pounds. But... erm... Not.

Instead, I've set up little milestones, each with its own reward. I can order myself a new crystal under $5 for a five pound loss. I get a new piece of jewelry under $10 for hitting a ten-pound milestone (all of this is based off my starting weight, by the way. So 270 would be a crystal reward, 265 is a new ring, etc.). I get a really great reward of a new dress or entire outfit (top and bottoms) at 20 pounds lost (in this case, at 255 pounds). Let's face it. When you drop 20 pounds, nothing fits quite right, so it's not only an incentive, it's practical. Once I hit a 20 pound reward, I start over. 

When I lose all the weight I want to drop, and hit my ideal weight, I get a really super-awesome-sparkly reward. And I'll admit it now... I haven't defined that reward. 


Maybe because I'm still seeing 135 as unrealistic. And that's a problem for me that I need to work out, post-haste.

S'okay... your turn! Pick one of your resolutions, and turn it into a goal. You don't have to tell me all the steps above. Just tell me what you started with (your resolution) and what you've turned it into (your goal statement).

Next week, we'll turn our goals into intentions, and really light a fire under our asses to make progress. See ya then!


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