Goals – the challenges we create for ourselves


Are you setting goals this season? Many of us save our goals for January and claim them as New Year’s resolutions only to find ourselves loosing steam by February and back into our old habits by March.

In the fall, with so much change all around us, the outdoor environment may provide some motivation for our own choices to change.  We’re approaching what one of my clients this week called the “eating season” that stretches from Halloween all the way through New Year’s Eve.  A season in which we’ll encounter many, many opportunities to add calories to our usual consumption – and often empty calories in the form of candies, desserts, pastries and other sweets.  Saying no to the bounty that shows up can be difficult.  As a result, it may be a harder time to practice restraint – especially if you’re inclined to set a weight-management or harder still, weight-loss goal this fall!

What helps when you set and meet a goal?  Three things come to mind: 1. Shaping the environment to help you manage behavior; 2. Planning your time, so the goal is woven into your agenda for the day; 3. Tracking your progress toward the desired outcome.  Let’s tease these apart. . .

1. Shaping the environment to help you manage behavior. This can mean anything from packing your gym clothes and putting your gym bag by the door, or even in the car the night before.  It might mean clearing your kitchen pantry of your worst temptation foods and stocking it with healthy choices. Or it could be as simple as clearing a space for your yoga mat, so you aren’t discouraged when you’re ready to add some stretches to your morning!

2. Planning your time, so the goal is woven into your agenda for the day. We’re pretty good at keeping our business appointments but, we wimp out on ourselves when it comes to promises we’ve made for our health and well-being. So why not make appoints for yourself WITH yourself?  Put them right on your calendar, just as you would an important call or visit you’re expecting.  Honoring yourself in this way elevates your goal to “business” status – and isn’t that what the business of life is all about?

3. Tracking your progress toward the desired outcome. There is no one way to track your progress.  If you’re minding your eating then tracking your consumption may help you notice any mindless snacks that sneak into your day.  If you’re tracking your balance, it may be about having a clock or watch handy so you know how long you CAN hold tree-pose on each leg by counting the seconds.  If you’re hoping to re-shape your sleep experience, noting when you actually darken the room, turn off all the screens and lie down for your night’s rest. You may even want an electronic tracker to help you, so you can track not only the length of your sleep but the quality of your rest as well!

Don’t be afraid to set goals this fall – change is in the air and it can be part of what you choose for yourself as well, if you’ll put just a little time and attention into it!

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