How to set goals

How’s your week going? Well, I hope.

Setting goals is one of those things that seems like it should be easy, but it really isn’t. There are a lot of reasons why goal setting is more difficult than it seems.

We have already talked some about how a lot of the time, our expectations are not really ours, but often come from our family, friends, boss, society, or that bully from fifth grade.

You’ve been thinking some about what it is that you want, not all those other people and influences.

Now you are going to make your goals into an achievable reality. This week you are going to set your goals and next week you are going to work out a plan on how to best implement them.

Although it might not seem like this should be a two-step process, it really makes it easier in the long run.

Have you heard people talking about short, medium, and long term goals? That is what we are going to be doing this week.

Implementing them, which will be next week, is how you are going to make your goals into reality and where you can get some good trial and error learning in.

For now, I am going to use some examples to make this easier. Let’s use weight loss and getting organized. Weight loss is a fairly major change that touches on many aspects of our lives, while getting organized is much simpler.

So goal setting for weight loss seems straightforward: lose weight. That is definitely the end goal, but losing weight is a little more complicated than that.

So let’s try setting short, medium, and long term goals for weight loss.

Short term: Figure out what is going on that has caused you to gain weight. Are you sedentary? Did you get a new job with a longer commute? Is your stress level out of control? Has your diet changed? Have you been overweight for most of your life?

These are some of the many reasons you might need to lose weight. In my case, I had a huge increase in stress and started eating way more sweets than I had before. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but it got out of control a year ago. The stress and dietary changes led to a 30 pound weight gain last year. I’m not so happy about it, but at least I know why.

Medium term: Make a plan to address the underlying issues, which often have little to do with food. You might be surprised what you find.

As an experiment last fall, I weighed myself every day for a month and learned that I am a big emotional eater at the first and middle of the month, which is when rent is due and I pay my bills. Figuring this out was a big deal because since then, instead of eating away my financial worries, I started talking more to my husband and spent more time with my budget to minimize surprises.

I also realized I am not active enough and I have been eating too much takeout, on top of the increase in sweets. I’ll talk more next week about what I’ve been doing to address these issues in implementing goals.

Long term: Lose weight, of course! But keeping the weight off is important. Lots of people lose weight, only to regain it. This doesn’t sound very interesting to me.

A lot of my work in this area has been to figure out what my goal weight is. There is what I weighed in my 20’s, when I was very slender. At this point in my life, I am just not willing to put the work in to get to that weight again, considering I am older, my metabolism is slower, and I am 80 pounds heavier than I was then. However, in my 30’s, I was not as slender, but had filled out some. My boobs and butt looked great and I was three sizes smaller. I thought I was fat at the time, but looking at pictures, I realize I looked great.

So using pics of when I thought I looked great and my weight was about 175, which is 50 pounds lighter than I am now. Furthermore, because 175 is not as slender, it is a more realistic weight for me to reach and maintain.

Getting organized is much simpler, as long as you aren’t a hoarder. If that’s the case, you need loads of professional help and perseverance.

So on to short, medium, and long term goals for becoming more organized.

Short term: Figure out how you are disorganized and what exactly you want to change. Do you pay your bills late every month because you lose them? Do you constantly lose important documents like your car insurance or birth certificate? Does your desk/office look like a recycling bin threw up on it?

What you might find is that you have internalized nonsense that passes itself as “good organization” and then realized you don’t measure up.

Inbox zero? A load of crap.

Working 12 hour days because all your friends are? Pointless waste of time.

Trying to be Martha Stewart’s mini-me? For the love of god, why?

A good medium term goal for getting more organized is pinpointing how you are disorganized and what is really bothering you. You want to make sure your goal is in line with your life, your personality, and your actual situation. If you are a parent with five kids and a full time job, your organizational demands are going to be different than someone who is single with no children. It is important that your goals reflect your life and needs, not what you think your needs are.

Long term would be living the organizational dream and not feeling bad or guilty for being who you are.

Think about it and let me know! Email me, comment, find me on Twitter and let me know what how setting short, medium, and long term goals has been for you.

Thanks for reading- I appreciate you.

Best,

Gabrielle

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