Tracking Progress and Setting Goals 101
‘If your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough’.
It’s important to push yourself and to believe that you can achieve anything that you put your mind to, but long-term ‘dream big’ goals can lead to feeling overwhelmed or lost along the way.
How are you supposed to gauge progress when your goal’s timeline might take several months or years? How can you continue to feel engaged with the process when you might not be seeing physical changes every day or adding pounds to the bar every time you’re in the gym?
Start backward to move forwards
1. Figure out where you want to be for your ‘end goal’ first and an approximate timeline. For example, you want to lose 15 lbs for your wedding that’s five months away.
2. Set a medium-term goal based on that timeline. Using this timeline would mean about 3lb per month. As we know, weight loss is not linear, so this is a general guideline.
3. Have short-term goals and commitments, sort of a daily checklist that you can follow to ensure you’re making progress and it’s being reflected in your actions.
Limiting eating out to 1x per week
Completing your daily training or cardio
Hitting your macros within range
Taking 20 minutes to work on mobility to keep your body well recovered
Drinking 1 gallon of water per day
Not all goals are quite as tangible as losing a certain amount of weight, but you can use a similar outline to break down the steps. Let’s use another example of being more mindful when eating or snacking.
Goal: I want to eliminate mindless eating and increase awareness of my hunger cues
Some short-term goals that support that behavior shift could be:
Sitting down for each meal
Not watching TV, scrolling on your phone or computer while eating
Before eating, take a moment to assess whether you’re experiencing true hunger cues or you are wanting to eat due to stress or boredom
Since behavior shifts are less cut and dry than losing a specific amount of weight, keep an ongoing journal to assess and reflect. This could be as simple as sitting down each night to write out a few things you did that day that worked with your goal as well as a few things or situations that you feel you could handle differently the next day.
Reflecting on your actions is NOT about judgment. Even after handling a tough situation successfully, it’s important to understand why you handled it better than in the past to employ the same strategies later on.
Celebrate your successes!
An unfortunate tendency that people have is to minimize their accomplishments. In order to feel like you’re making progress, it’s essential to recognize your progress- all of it. Give yourself permission to be excited about hitting a new milestone, even if it’s ‘only’ half a pound, or being able to confidently pass on the second glass of wine. The small wins are what get you closer each and every day to achieving the goal that’s so big it scares you!
Download the WAG Goal Setting Guide for a more in-depth look into the art of setting (and achieving) your goals.
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