Thursday, February 21, 2013
"A goal without a plan is nothing more than a dream." -Unattributed
I have been reading, and responding, to several blog posts from people who are unhappy with their progress on reaching their goals. Almost without exception they don't really have a goal, just a number they arrived picked out of thin air. Before I respond to any post or blog I go to the person's Sparkpage and try to learn something about them. Many people don't make their nutrition and fitness tracker public or even their Sparkpage public so it makes it really hard to offer sound advice to someone asking for help. One thing I have noticed is most of the people on Sparkpeople who are failing are doing so because they don't have clear goals or a step-by-step plan to reach their desired outcome (notice I didn't say goals).
For the next few days I am going to be writing about Goals and Goal-setting.
Today I want to share what I have learned about creating Goals. Goals must meet the following criteria in order to be effective, otherwise why have them at all.
1. Goals must be WRITTEN DOWN. In order to be a true goal it MUST be in writing. If a goal isn't written down it's a wish not a goal.
2. Goals must be SPECIFIC. It's not enough to write down "I want to be thinner." How much thinner? How do you define thinner? Thinner than whom? It's not enough to have a goal of "losing weight." How much weight? How much do you want to weigh? You need to be specific. "I want to be thinner by reducing my waist by 6 inches, my hips by 10 inches and each of my thighs by 8 inches. I also want to reduce my weight by 40 pounds." That is a specific goal.
3. Goals must be ATTAINABLE. A real goal is one that can be reached. If you weigh 300 pounds and your goal is to lose 180 pounds in a year, that's probably not attainable without professional intervention. However, by adjusting your goal by either giving yourself more time or weight loss within the year, you can make your goal attainable. Which leads me to the next criteria...
4. Goals must be TIME SENSITIVE. By definition, a goal has an achievement date. To write down a goal such as "I want to lose 100 pounds." is not enough. It must have a completion date, a deadline if you will. "I want to lose 100 pounds by December 31st, 2013." That is a specific, time sensitive goal.
5. Goals must be REALISTIC. This single element is the most important part of any written goal, it MUST be realistic. Take me for example, it is not realistic for me to ever get my weight down to 145 pounds again. On my frame, with my skeletal structure and minimum muscle mass, I will never be able to weigh 145 pounds or even 150 pounds. But realistically, I could get down to 160-165 pounds again.
6. Goals must be Relevant. A realistic written goal must be important to the person setting the goal, otherwise there is no "burning desire" to achieve the goal. Irrelevant goals are like New Year's Eve pledges, they fall by the way-side after a few days or weeks. A real goal is important. It's something you work toward a little bit every day. It's in the forefront of your mind every day.
These are the six major criteria for creating a GOAL. Next we will explore creating a plan to achieve our goals, A PLAN FOR SUCCESS.
Until next time, JUICE to you all!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Happy Valentine's Day! If you don't have a "valentine" let me be your valentine. I love this week actually. My birthday was just the other day and now V-Day. I know many of you are sad today, but today is really a day to rejoice. It's a day you can decide to love YOURSELF.
Think about it. How can we expect others to love us if we don't love ourselves? How can we expect others to accept us for who we are if we don't first accept (and respect) ourselves? I think we have all taken a step in the right direction by realizing we needed change in our lives and joined Sparkpeople to help us along the way. We are changing every day. We are learning to love the healthy food choices we make, the healthy exercise routines we do, and hopefully we are passing that love along to our families, friends and significant others.
We "spread the Spark." I say we spread the LOVE! Share our journey toward better health, both on the inside and the outside. It's not only about how we look in our clothes, but more importantly, it's about how we feel inside. So, get out there and show the love you have for yourself with everyone around you. Be the light!
Again, Happy Valentine's Day and JUICE to you all.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Sorry I've been gone so long, I've been painting the inside of my house. But I'm back now and wondering... What's going on?!?
I"ll bet I read 25 blogs and postings today about the scale and weight, and most of them horrified me. I couldn't believe how much personal power people give away to an inanimate object. I couldn't believe how people tied their success to a number that means absolutely nothing.
Let me make one point perfectly clear, there is no such thing as a healthy "weight". It's a myth, a misnomer, a non-fact. Over all health is determined by health markers such as blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol levels of both HDL and LDL, VO2 Max (a measure of oxygen in the blood), body fat content both vitreous and non-vitreous levels and several others markers as well as physical fitness.
It is possible to have a BMI of 25, 26 or 27 and still not be healthy. Just because you are 5'-5" and weigh 130 lbs doesn't mean you are healthy. You can still have high blood pressure (or low blood pressure for that matter), a rapid pulse, high cholesterol, low VO2, poor muscle tone, etc... and be in the "healthy" range on some weight table.
Losing weight is not the end-all be-all. As a man, I would rather be 15 pounds "over-weight" with 12% body fat than 2 pounds under the cut off line on some table with 20% body fat. Because I know I'm healthier at the lower body fat than the lower weight.
That's why I say people shouldn't pin their hopes to a number on a scale, but rather, look at "Leading health indicators" and track those. If you make yourself healthy and physically fit, the weight will come off. Trust yourself and stop making yourself crazy looking at the scale.
Good luck and JUICE to you all.
Sunday, February 03, 2013
What a great day! I love Sundays. I do a stretch video and a yoga video from my P90X program and cook all afternoon.
Today I am making Vegetable Soup and Gazpacho, both from the P90X program (Thanks P90X). They are very low in calories, high in fiber, full of vitamins and they really fill you up. I always keep at least 4 kinds of soup in my fridge and freezer and have a serving of soup with my dinner every night. Another advantage is everything is pre-made and pre-measured so it's heat and serve. In one afternoon I can make 30 servings of soup. One less thing to do during the week for more than a month.
I'm also cooking up a couple of pounds of chicken for omelets, chicken salad and to add to my dinner during the week. This does three things for me. It save me time cooking, helps me plan my menus for the next two weeks, and helps keep my nutrition on track because all I have to do is 5 minutes of prep to have a meal ready to eat. Since everything is pre-measured all I have to do is add heat and a couple of vegetables and I'm having a 3 course meal.
Meal planning is essential for my personal success. If I don't have something I can throw together in 15 minutes I'm tempted to order a 1200 calorie pizza or something and undo days of success. I'm sure you've all been there. Two hours of planning and preparation on Sunday saves me 8 hours during the week and keeps my nutrition on track.
Give it a try.
Until next time, JUICE to you all.
Saturday, February 02, 2013
I was reading a Sparkpeople article this morning, as I do every morning, and it got me thinking. The article was about goal setting, which we have talked about here several times, but that isn't what I want to write about today. In the article the Spark-coaches brought up an interesting point about how people often compare themselves to people they see on television or in magazines. You know the ones, the skinny girls with the fresh looking skin and the made for bikinis body. Or the guy with the perfectly proportioned muscles, the ripped 6-pack and 3% body fat. Ya, those guys.
The coaches made reference to how we frequently compare ourselves and our bodies to those people and react with disappointment in ourselves. What we know inside but fail to acknowledge is, that no matter what we do, we will never be THOSE people. Not that we won't become one of those rich and famous beautiful people, but we won't become that particular model or celebrity. We can only be better versions of ourselves.
Week after week, even day after day, we step on the scale and see no significant movement of the needle or the number on the LED and we get an overwhelming sense of failure. Why? Because we didn't take a step closer to being one of those "beautiful" people. What a crock! This is exactly why I tell people to ditch the scale and stop worrying about their weight. Your weight is a by-product of your overall health. Your weight shouldn't be the goal, it should be a MINOR measuring marker of your greater goal, smaller healthier YOU!
The coaches brought out another point I think is worth mentioning. They said we live in a cut-throat society in which we feel we are in competition with everyone else to look good. You know what? That's all in our heads. It's unrealistic. There will always be someone taller, or thinner, or more muscular, or prettier, or more whatever. THE ONLY PERSON WE HAVE TO COMPETE WITH IS THE PERSON WE ARE TODAY.
I believe the only end goal we should have is to be a little bit better person when we go to bed than we were when we woke up this morning. And I don't mean a little thinner or a little lighter, I mean a better PERSON. A person who gives each day his best effort for that day. A person who made himself a little bit healthier by eating 3 servings of vegetables instead of 2 so he could go on to be of service to others. A person who did 5 more minutes of walking each day this week than he did last week so he could be around to see his children or grandchildren get married. Do you see where I'm going with this?
It's great to have goals, but have the right goals. Have goals that mean something to YOU. Have goals that inspire YOU. Have goals that create a better YOU. We can only be the best person we are. We can only improve ourselves. Now join me in becoming a better person today than I was yesterday.
Good luck to us all in our journey, and JUICE to you all!
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