Goals and Timelines

I’ve always been reluctant to set a firm timeline for my weight loss — knowing that keeping at it will show me the results that I want to see. It maybe won’t be as fast as I’d like, but it’ll happen. Sure, I’ve always had an idea of where I want to be and when. Like, “Gosh, I’d love to weigh XYZ by the time I do ABC.” But I’ve been pretty flexible with myself because I know how hard I work. Plus, honestly, sometimes you can do everything right and your body has something else in mind (as I’m being brutally reminded lately). And if you miss a set-in-stone weight-loss deadline, you can feel like a failure and give up, finding yourself retreating to your comfort zone of bad habits and terrible choices. And for anyone starting out on a weight-loss journey, I encourage you not to set firm deadlines like that because it can be discouraging and somewhat overwhelming, particularly if you’re new to the healthy lifestyle game or have a significant amount of weight to lose.

Does that mean you can’t have goals? No. Not at all. In fact, you need to have goals or else you won’t know what you’re working toward and can easily get off track. They should just be a little different. Like setting a goal to run a 5k. Or hitting the gym x number of times a week. Or hitting your calorie goal 5 days out of 7. Or losing body fat percentage. Or being able to lift a certain amount of weight. Or fitting in to a pair of pants you haven’t been able to wear for a year. Or seeing your collarbones. The list really goes on and on — depending on what’s important to you. But “I want to lose 5 pounds in two weeks” may not be realistic and could potentially do more harm to your efforts than good.

All this being said, I know that this doesn’t work for everyone. Your truth isn’t necessarily my truth. Some people find that having a specific date to lose a certain amount of weight works. It can keep them honest. For me, it doesn’t really. This was especially true for me in the beginning when I was still learning how my body reacted to certain activities, foods and practices.

So, what’s the point of this post? I had a loose goal of hitting my goal weight (151) by Dec. 31 so I could start the new year with a focus on a new goal (triathlon training, 15k training, etc.). But I realize that with the slowness of my weight loss over the past couple of months, that may not be realistic. However, I’d sure love to be at my goal by the time my 30th (gasp!) birthday rolls around in February. Is it doable? Oh yeah. For sure. Will I be devastated if I don’t hit it? OK. I admit it, I’ll probably be bummed. But I won’t let it take me off track.

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