Read Part 2 here.
“Hey Jhansen!” (That’s me by the way, just in case you are confused.) “You’re fit, tell me, I want to lose weight.” Yup, that’s what my family member said to me. She’s a tiny 5 foot nothing, coming in at 160 pounds.
My reply, “What are you doing right now to move forward towards your goal? Like, what sort of things do you like to do? Do you have a gym you can go to?”
“None of those. Nothing,” she says. “I feel like a whale.”
I don’t know, when I see whales, they always seem to be having a good time! BUT…
OK! Let me stop here. I don’t want to fill you with a long drawn out conversation that went on for like 10 minutes of me poking and prodding and providing ideas and suggestions and got us nowhere. The gist was: I didn’t know what her motivation was. I didn’t know what she meant by “lose weight.” I had no idea what, in her mind, were plausible and doable things to get her on the right path. I couldn’t provide her with any answer or any answer she wanted to hear.
The thing about weight loss is that it can happen in so many circumstances. For instance, starvation, running on a treadmill with a garbage bag over your body, pancreatic cancer, the flu, cholera, salmonella, and the list goes on and on. Oh yeah, through eating clean and vigorous activities is also a way.
When I hear someone say they want to lose weight, I get really confused. I mean, I can simply say, “stop eating garbage processed foods! Stop eating so much! Or, get active and eat healthy, use the stairs to get to your desk, take up boxing, swimming, anything! Well, not anything, golf, bowling (lawn and alley kinds), darts, and poker (I’m still utterly confused as to why this is a sport) aren’t vigorous enough.”
An open-ended goal will lead to open-ended pathways. End result? Usually failure. Becoming overwhelmed is quite common. Eventually quiting, like the January New Year’s Resolution as evidence of poor goal setting. I mean, search all the memes out in Googleverse and you will see it’s not just a thing. It’s a problem.
Then what are we to do? Formulate our goals with two questions in mind: Why and how. If we can answer the why, it will help us maintain focus and keep us motivated to continue. Then we can, in most situations, reverse engineer from the end goal and work back to determine the how. The how portion can then be further broken down to smaller goals which then become achievable which then leads to smaller successes along the way.
So instead of, “I want to lose weight” it would be better if we took the time to address why and how. As an example, “I want to get super healthy and fit so I can look and feel good about myself, and more importantly, I want to finish a Sprint Triathlon.”
Now they want to be super healthy and fit as well as feel and look good about themselves and they want to finish a Triathlon. Those are totally achievable goals. The goal can be narrowed down even further like “drop my cholesterol levels to normal” or “be able to run for one hour non-stop”; the more specific the goal is, the easier it will be to track and record and maintain focus. But this is a good starting point that can be put into action immediately.
So now how? That’s where getting a personal trainer, coach, or someone like me can come in. A professional can take us from couch to triathlon, or one hour of running non-stop, or marathon, whatever our goal may be and they consider our schedule and what sort of timeframe we would like to achieve this goal by, and offer advice about nutrition. Or if some of us are resourceful we can hop on over to Google and search “from couch to triathlon in …. months/weeks” or any kind of training plan of our desired activity. Some are free and some are paid and we take on a considerable amount of risk.
I did a quick search for “from couch to marathon” and got this:
About 527,000 results (0.34 seconds)
Consider hiring a professional to develop a plan as an investment in your health and it will be so much easier to execute your plan if you receive guidance. You’ll also see results much more quickly than if you were to go at it alone, especially if you don’t have a health and fitness background.
Why and how in goal setting will drastically improve our chances of success with virtually any goal we set out to do. If we find ourselves bogged down during the process it means our goal is no longer serving its purpose and it is time to revisit it and perhaps make some changes or simply sharpen it by making it more specific.
Stay connected as I delve deeper in the subject of why “I want to lose weight” on its own is a terrible goal. Click here to read Part 2.