Like clockwork, my routine the first of the month is identical. I start by opening my bank account online to see how much I have. I then go through my carefully created spreadsheet to look at the month’s expenses, and then subtract those from what I will earn in the following weeks. The number that is created becomes my 'tangible goal' amount to reach. “If I can pull in this much money, I will finally be satisfied.” And of course, life happens. I spend a little too much on groceries. My SiriusXM license renews to my surprise. Gas prices go up and I do a little more driving than I expected. And when the end of the month rolls around, I fall short of that goal. Weight loss follows a similar routine. I continue to set a goal weight to reach, and if I do not find that mark, I become very discouraged.
All our lives, we have been programmed to think one single thing about goal-setting: Make sure that your goal is tangible and reachable. And as a society, I think that can set a very dangerous precedent that is not conducive to an overall improvement of life. Take my examples above: Instead of setting a monetary amount that I want to hit, wouldn’t it make more sense if I taught myself to avoid certain purchases in order to help improve my financial setting? Or, instead of trying to find a goal weight, how about encouraging myself to stay active in order to look and feel better? For many, once a specific number or value is reached in the goal setting process, a fall could take place. How much incentive do I create for myself by setting a hyper-focused goal and reach it? What is the incentive beyond that?
Goal setting needs to start from a more holistic method and take more of an INTANGIBLE form. If your goal is to feel better about your overall health and body, encourage yourself to take small, focused steps without a specific value in mind. Once you program yourself to live healthy, the TANGIBLE numbers will follow suit. Our general nature asks us to be the best at all times, thus forcing us to create goals that are extremely unrealistic. Start small and determined, and ignore the constant obsession around you to hit a ridiculous value that society seems to ask.
Unless you are in an absolute rush for time, make sure to slow yourself down and focus. Focus on exactly what it is that you want to accomplish and make that part of your daily efforts. Do not be discouraged if you miss a "value" that you set for yourself. Once you start thinking in terms of black and white, goals will become that much easier to achieve.