When I wrote my goals in the beginning of the year, I wrote “…if you will allow me to have you as an accountability partner, I plan to provide updates during the year.” We are almost a quarter of the way through 2016 and it is an appropriate time to provide an update. My goal for the year was to lose weight and exercise. Basically, I wanted to spend this year focusing on putting myself onto a healthier track. Let’s face it, if done correctly, this process should start within me and radiate out to other aspects of my life.
Here are some of the statistics since I started – I have lost 8.6 pounds, reduced my waist by 4 inches, and 2 inches have gone from my hips. In terms of body fat percentage, I have gone from 18.5% to 14.4%. I exercise at home 15-20 minutes 4 days during the week and go to the gym with Debbie on the weekend.
What are the differences between last year and this year? January 2015, I set the weight and exercise goal to achieve by the end of the year. Making the decision to take action was good. While I did set attainable goals, unknowingly, there were some, what I would call, significant Failure Factors:
- The timeline was too far into the future - I gave myself 1 year, or 12 months, or 52 weeks, or 365 days to achieve my goals. I set the horizon for achievement too far into the future and provided more than enough time to wait to start. I know some planning thought leaders advise you to break down our goals into smaller units; 10 pounds and 10-15 minutes of exercise would be fractional numbers per month.
- No measurability – I had set down no criteria for success and measuring that success throughout the year. When I run a project, there are milestone, tasks with due dates and status meetings to ensure we are making progress. If there is no progress, those check points provide a chance to adjust so that we can have the successes we desire. I did none of that.
- Exemplified procrastination – Based on the above two points, I waited until 3/4 through the year to even think about addressing the two goals. By that point, not doing anything became the norm, so I just continued what I was doing.
January 2016, I set the weight and exercise goal to achieve by my doctor’s visit in April. The success seen so far, I can attribute to what I would call Success Factors:
- The decision to act – It was not enough that I had a goal, but I also went into 2016 with a plan in mind, a vision for what the results would look like and a means for measuring progress. I was able to hit the ground running on January 1st, instead of procrastinating until I “felt like it.”
- I made the commitment – Changing pieces of our lifestyle, in terms of what we eat and how we make healthy choices has to be a commitment, especially when we exist in an environment where doing something different will make us stand out from everyone else. My commitment meant having to say no to certain foods, decide to taste vegetables I passed on in the past, waking up earlier to exercise and agreeing to set aside the time to go the gym. "Commitment is doing the thing you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has left you." ~ George R. Zalucki
- Diligence – It is not enough to accept a healthier lifestyle on January 1st. Nor is it enough to agree to it on January 2nd. I have to maintain the choices every day. Are there “cheat” days…yes. I am no angel, but cheating is limited and I return to my commitment. Is this easy…no. Easy is seeing that candy bar calling my name and answering it. Easy is eating those rolls before the meal comes at a restaurant. Easy is noshing on those fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Diligence is remaining consistent on my commitment.
Creating new habits is difficult and it takes time until the new routine becomes a habit. It has only been just shy on 3 months, so while I have been “on track” so far, I need to be on guard that I do not slip back into my old habits. Bottom line is that I feel great and happy with what I have done so far. How have you done with your New Year’s Goals?