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Life Transformation: Developing a Pre-Goal Setting Mindset

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If you read last week's blog post, "So Long Summer: A Personal Gripe With a Twist," you know that i am gearing up to make a couple of major changes in my own life. The biggest change will be to live a much healthier lifestyle... eating better, exercising, etc. I'm no stranger to taking on this particular hurdle.The only real challenge here for me, as with most people in my position, is to practice the healthier lifestyle on a continuous basis. I've lost 30+ pounds twice in my lifetime (not including post-pregnancy) and 20+ pounds a few other times. Needless to say, weight control is the biggest obstacle I face on a daily basis. Thankfully I was raised by a vegetarian and was an athlete much longer than I was, well... not so athletic. I know how to do it. It's just a matter of getting it done!

plant a tree

Although the major change in my life is to be more mindful of my food-intake and step up my exercising regime, there are different areas where people choose to improve in their own life. Do any of these sound familiar: (Found on statisticbrain.com)

  1. Lose weight - this is the #1 New Year's Resolution every year!
  2. Get organized - this is #2 and, yes, on my list as well
  3. #3 is to spend less and save more - although this is not on my list, I actively work to improve my finances

I would like to think that people fully intend to stick to their New Year's Resolutions but here's the harsh reality:

  • 45% of Americans make New Year's Resolutions
  • Only 8% of those 45% actually achieve their goals
  • 80% of those who make New Year's Resolutions, stop by January 20th

Ugh... really? Yep, according to Answers.com. For these reasons, it is imperative to create S.M.A.R.T. Goals. If you're not familiar with this goal-setting outline, click the link to get a thorough explanation of what and how each letter of the acronym works. This information, and other valuable self-improvement guides, can be found on the TopAchievement.com website. 

The word "goal" has been knocked by a few "experts", including John Dilemme of Top Achievement, but you have to understand why, before saying, "I'm not setting any goals. What's the point?!" Your mindset is the point. If your reason for setting the goal is bigger than the goal itself, then guess what? You will achieve that goal, accomplish that task or conquer that feat. Why and how? Because you kept "your eyes on the prize" and that's all it takes! 

Just think back to high school. When you were in Spanish class, (or whichever language you studied), and you had a test on conjugating verbs coming up. You had to achieve a passing grade in order to pass the class, right? Each test, quiz, homework assignment and class participation grade counted toward achieving a passing grade in that class. Achieving each of these goals in every class, and every grade level, led to accomplishing your long-term goal, right? High School graduation... WooHoo!

This is no different than with any of your current life goals and challenges. The only difference is the sense of urgency you put behind them. In other words, how soon do you want your current situation to be a part of your past? This applies to your current eating habits, financial situation or work situation. Yes, it's up to you. No, it's nobody else's fault that you're not in your desired state or situation yet. But keep this quote in mind, "If not you... then who? If not now... then when?" Unknown. I don't have to know who said it to realize how relevant it is. 

So now that you've (hopefully) developed the proper mindset to achieve your goals and make some major changes in your life, we can begin to start setting those life transforming goals and work toward making your dream you a reality. There are 3 types of goals that you must incorporate into each goal you set:

  1. Short term - In 3-6 months, what steps will you take toward accomplishing a specific goal? For example, if weight loss and overall fitness is your ultimate goal, adapting healthy eating habits should definitely be part of your short term goals. For me, doubling up on my salad intake is priority, so I'm working on building up to five large salads each week, by month #3 (December). On the flip side, simultaneously cutting my coffee intake, by half, is a must! Therefore, I will cut out 20 ounces of caffeine per day by December. Be specific! No fuzziness here :-)
  2. Mid term - This should cover what phase you'll be in, in about 1-3 years. Keeping with the weight loss example, I will be 20 pounds lighter and completely toned from head to toe by December 2015. Keep your goals specific and high, but very attainable. Don't set them so high that you'll get overwhelmed just thinking about how to accomplish them.
  3. Long term - Here is where you will visualize and plan for just how reaching your goals will completely transform your life. Where will you be in 5 years as it relates to your goals? As for my weight loss, I will feel better, breathe better and look better, to me. My clothes will fit better and my skin will look and feel great because of the healthier balance of nutrients and vitamins I am taking in. I haven't decided yet, but I'm actually thinking of incorporating a vegetarian diet with my goals. I'll let you know. 

Be completely honest with yourself. You know you better than anybody else, right? So who are you fooling with the unrealistic goals or steps to reach a goal? We are our own worst critic, but don't abuse yourself if you don't clear that hurdle by that date. "This too shall pass." Get in your own rhythm and you'll be in a somewhat uncomfortable stride that you can live with, in no time. Remember, your comfort zone is what got you where you are now, and is the reason why you're even thinking of changing that part of your life, to begin with.

Lastly, please remember that these are crucial to being successful, if you are even half-serious about making a major difference in your life:

  1. Write down every step of your goals. Read them in the morning to keep them fresh on your mind, and before bedtime to reflect on how well you did and where you can use some improvement. Many "experts" suggest keeping a journal. That's a good idea, but completely up to you.
  2. Don't talk about your goals to everyone. Even though we know we have some nay say-ers in our circle, we keep them around, for some reason. But, these are not the ones to discuss your plans with. Instead, speak to the people you look up to. Don't have any? Uh oh... sounds like you might need to change circles!
  3. Be ready for a major life transformation. When you actually accomplished your short-term goals, will be a great reason to celebrate! Remember, the majority of people quit by Day 20! 

Next week will be the first of a 3-part series titled, "Best Practices For Setting Life Transforming Goals." If you have any experience in this area, please feel free to share. I'd love to include any valuable tips and tricks you found helpful in your own journey. Thank you!

Ok, I've put myself on the line here and hope you hold my feet to the fire! I want to hear from you, too. Do you plan to, or are you currently working toward any goals in your own life? Have you set and accomplished any goals i the past? If so, let's hear the "What", "Why" and "How". Please leave your comment. Let's talk about it!

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