JOE (SparkPeople Fitness Coach): Having hope that you can attain your goal is so important, and small achievements can go a long way in creating more hope. I think the combination of the lofty goal and the small achievements is what keeps you moving forward.
As far as aiming low or challenging yourself, I think it all depends on your priorities. If you’re going to aim for something big, realize that it will take a lifestyle change. If you’re not willing to make a major change right away, it may be best to aim a little lower and work your way into it.
Everything should be based on results. Why else would you work so hard? The key is realizing there may be more ways to measure results (like Jen mentioned) than you initially thought of. Emphasis on the outcome is a tricky one, because so many things can happen between the time you start and the time it ultimately takes to reach a goal.
JEN: Nicole- I agree about comparing oneself to others. People think there is something wrong with them because they can't lose the weight, when our society has set people up to fail! Super-sized meals, video games, etc. -- all of it has become the unhealthy norm in our society! Then people see pictures of skinny girls in magazines and think that is reality and there is no reason they shouldn't look like that, so they become even more depressed. Again, I think the focus is on the wrong thing - the number on the scale. So many people think that if only they were skinny, they would be happy and healthy. I've known a lot of depressed and unhealthy skinny people.
BECKY: Small Goals = BINGO! Recently I worked with a woman who went from eating 5 Danishes at night, down to 3 and lost 1-2 pounds a week. Small but effective...slow and steady wins the race.