It is that time of year again. Goals. I’ve not really done well with goal setting since the start of this blog. This is my 4th go at it. And, I’m not really happy with how I set goals in past years.
The first year was 2014 soon after I started this blog. That year I had huge list of goals and then set monthly interim goals. That was sort of OK, but I had a leg injury during the year that made many of my goals impossible or inappropriate. But, I felt sort of locked into them since they were annual goals.
So for 2015, I decided to do quarterly goals recognizing that a year is a long time and stuff happens. I also reduced my total number of goals. Even so, I felt I still had too many goals. I do better if I focus on 1 or 2 things at a time.
And, that leads to 2016. I set 2 annual goals — improve body composition and live a healthy lifestyle in terms of food and activity. I then chose 2 actions that I intended to work on to progress on the annual goals – increase the number of calories burned daily and cook more real food at home and eat out less. I planned to update the actions throughout the year. But, then I had plastic surgery and that derailed all that. I think my problem was I had forgotten that annual goals were really not a good idea.
Where does that leave me for 2017? This year I do remember that annual goals don’t work for me. I certainly have aspirations of things that I would like to see happen during this year. But, I also think that goals should be behavior oriented. That is a true goal to me is a behavioral goal not simply a wished for result. Trying to set a goal for the whole year is unlikely to be a good behavioral goal.
I think I was on the right track in 2015 when I did quarterly goals. But, I really think even quarterly is too long a period for me. And, I think I was right in 2016 to want to focus on a couple of things at a time. I do better when I do that.
And, that leads to 2017. Instead of annual goals, I am going to have monthly goals to work on 2 or 3 things. As I start consistently doing something from a behavioral standpoint I will change the goal. If it is something that I have now made a routine habit, I will still do the action but remove the goal from the next month. If it is something that I am making progress on, but want to do with greater intensity I will change the goal (for example, if I had a goal to strength train twice a week and achieved that I might make a new goal to train 3 times a week).
With that my January goals are:
- Cook more food at home and make freezer meals for future use. A couple of years ago I really started working on reducing my eating of processed foods. And, I started cooking more at home. I didn’t do as much as I wanted but I was going in the right direction. But, over this last year with the surgery I got out of the habit of cooking. And, I went back to eating more frozen foods and eating out a lot. This year I want to cook more. I don’t like to have to spend a lot of time cooking when I am hungry right then so making batches of things and freezing them for some meals works well for me.
- Rejoin the YMCA and start strength training again. I was regularly going to the Y before I had surgery. I worked with a personal trainer on strength training twice a week for almost a year. And, then, I couldn’t do that type of exercise for months. I can now do some strength training and need to get back to it. I dropped my Y membership when I wasn’t able to use it. I want to rejoin and start going at least a couple of times a week.
I have started out with a little progress on the food part. On Wednesday, I made my Turkey 3 bean chili and froze several extra batches. And, then a made chicken/bean/rice burritos and froze those as well. These make good healthy meals that I can heat up quickly. I still need to do more, but it is a good start. I haven’t done the Y yet. I actually went in to rejoin in late December, but they said they were about to have a special where there would not be a joining fee so I decided to wait to join. I’ll probably go by there this weekend to rejoin.
[For those who might wonder… No, I am not going to set a weight loss goal for 2017. While I am at my Weight Watchers goal weight I do actually want to lose a few pounds. In short, I don’t set weight loss goals because weight loss isn’t a behavior. I talked about this at length in this post.]