improvement *is* the goal

No matter what you are doing … no matter what your goal is …

Acknowledge (and celebrate) improvement!

It is easy to set big goals and work towards them like a fiend for a few weeks, maybe … and then you’re not there yet and you’re burnt out and discouraged.  How can you get around this?

Make sure your goals are reasonable.  If you have never run before, setting a goal of doing a marathon next month is probably not a good idea.  What is “reasonable” depends on many more factors than I could delineate here — but if you need help figuring it out, ask for help!  There are training programs online, there are lots of different types of trainers/training programs you can visit in person.  Pick one and go!  If you don’t like it, pick a different one.

On the flip side, make sure you’re not totally short-changing yourself, either.  Push yourself a little.

Set sub-goals: Break down the bigger goal into smaller pieces with plans.  So if you want to lose 30 pounds as quickly as possible in a healthy way, let’s say the sub-goal is 2 pounds per week (The Biggest Loser is not real life).  So you estimate how many calories you’re burning and how many you’re eating.  To lose two pounds this week, you’re going to need to burn 7,000 more calories than you consume, and you’re going to need to get enough sleep.  Plan what you’re going to eat so you’re not starving or bingeing.  Plan how you’re going to exercise, if at all.  Make it fit the math.  Then do it.  And at the end of the week, celebrate!  (But not by eating a pint of ice cream or going out drinking.)  If you set a goal but don’t have a plan, how do you know that you’re headed towards the goal?

Just like the big picture, make sure the sub-goals are attainable.

Write down the first workout that you do (if exercise is part of your goal) or write down what you’re eating or whatever it is that you’re doing as a first step towards the big goal.  Tuck it away, and in a month or six weeks, take it out and look at it.  If it was a workout, go do it.  See how much easier it is now.  Live the progress.  (Sometimes the progress is hard to see.)  Relish in it.

Expect and acknowledge that the big picture is going to take time.  It’s OK.

One last thought: sometimes, the little goals aren’t going to get met.  It happens.  Just get up and try again.  If it’s not happening over and over, you’ll need to figure out why and make a new plan.  Maybe it was too hard.  Maybe it takes more time or money than you have or are willing to give.  Maybe you picked something that you aren’t actually interested in and shifting your focus will give you better results.  Maybe you’re trying to do too much at once.

What’s your goal?  How are you getting there?

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