Making Simple & Realistic Goals (3 min read)

I’m a go-getter and I have big ideas. I like to envision the future and what it will look like. While it can be a great quality to be a visionary, to look ahead, to be ambitious, there are times that it can defeat me as well. I get frustrated because things don’t seem to be happening fast enough. I feel like I’m doing so much and getting nowhere. I understand that it’s perception because things are happening, they’ve been set into motion, I’m making progress, etc. In theory, I understand this. In reality, I am often left frustrated or defeated.

This was a barrier in my health goals for a long time. I’d have a lofty, vague goal like “I want to lose weight” or an ambitious more specific goal like “I want to lose 30 pounds.” Sometimes in order to meet these goals, I’d set unrealistic expectations for myself — “I’m going to workout for an hour every day” or “I’m going to stop eating sweets.” I know my schedule and my body and that working out every day, at least to begin with, isn’t going to happen. I know that I have a sweet tooth and it’s too much to go cold turkey on desserts. 

It’s not that I can’t achieve my vague goal or even my ambitious goal. 

These are goals Dana made in 2015. While many were accomplished, they are not refined enough. They’re desired outcomes, not goals.

It’s that they’re not refined enough. They are simply my desired outcome. I need to refine my desired outcome into simpler, smaller steps. 

As an over-ambitious person the word “simple” has a negative connotation. Go big or go home! Maybe that’s true in some cases, maybe I can still hold onto my ambitious goal for the long-term, but the truth is, simple doesn’t need to hold that negative connotation. Simple makes that 30 pounds more attainable. Simple allows it to be easier, one step at a time. Simple is not bad, but realistic. 

In my case, I started with small, attainable steps to help me reach my weight loss goal. I set a water intake goal for each day, then a movement or step goals, and then I added a caloric intake goal. I didn’t try to do everything at once. I took small steps and implemented each for the needed time to make it a habit. Some were easier than others. 

These are Dana’s movement goals. They are much smaller and broken down. Simple and achievable.

For me, I was already meeting my step or movement goal most days, I just wasn’t cognizant, but my water intake was less than I realized. I needed to find a method that worked for me to remember to drink water, so I set reminders on my phone for every 3 hours to refill my water bottle. If that reminder went off and I hadn’t finished my water, I drank it right then and refilled. I had to do this for at least 6 weeks until it became innate. Others may find that drinking water comes easily to them, but they are sedentary most of the day, so making a step or movement goal is difficult. This may take more time to implement, but making sure you set a reasonable goal and then finding a method to make sure it happens (a reminder/alarm, a carved out time in your calendar, getting up once an hour and walking 5 minutes, etc.). 

Quote from Wayne Dyer, “Healthy habits are learned in the same way as unhealthy ones – through practice.”

These steps may seem simple, but once they are made a habit and incorporated with other small steps, they become more complex and intertwined, yet easier to achieve because they’ve been broken down and implemented over time. 

It’s okay to start simple. Simple makes it achievable and ultimately, what do we care about – achieving it! So why does it matter how we get there?

What’s your desired outcome? What’s a small step you can start today to get there?

Author: Dana Perich, Lifestyle Mentor