Saturday, January 04, 2014

Screw New Year's resolutions...set smart goals instead!

The only New Year's resolution I have ever kept to was the one I made last year:  Get healthy, get active - lose weight in process. 

According to a 2007 study from the University of Bristol, I succeeded where 88% of people fail.  Of course, I was involved in the Times Colonist Health Challenge and I had the support of my ninja and personal trainer, Jonathan Carpenter, the staff at the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre, my dietitian from Pure Nutrition, Heather Dueck, mental coach Christie Gialloreto from PISE, the other contestants, friends, family, readers of the TC, etc. etc. etc.  But, at the end of the day, even with all those people rallying behind me if I didn't commit myself fully to this healthy new lifestyle by eating a nutritious well-balanced diet and hitting the gym like an athlete, I wouldn't have had nearly the success that I have had.  So, I guess Nike was right all along...JUST DO IT.

And, I just did it for the last 11 1/2 months...and I continue to do it as I have done it for the last near year.  Perhaps it is time for some resolutions...though I never stick with let's just call them New Year's goals.

goal noun \ˈgōl, ˈgül\ : something that you are trying to do or achieve

Now that I've defined goal properly, let's see what the University of Bristol's study says on the subject, shall we?  Well, apparently men were 22% more likely to achieve success with New Year's resolutions if they followed a system of "goal setting" and women were 10% more likely to triumph if they "made their goals public and got support from their friends."  Last year, I did both...and I'm going to do it again.

So, what's a good system of goal setting?  I'm glad you asked!  I have learned to set smart goals in life...and by that, I mean:
Specific - What, where, how? A specific goal is distinct & defines as much of the objective as possible.

Measurable - From what and to what? A measurable goal is one where progress can be tracked, and a final outcome agreed upon.

Actionable - Outline specific steps to achieve goal. Goals should be realisable though activity.

Realistic - Is goal feasible? Identify resources needed in order to attain goal, and keep reviewing and revising the plan to achieve goal.

Timely - When? What is the time frame associated with the goal, the start and the finish? Deadlines = commitment with accountability.
Get it? is kinda management here's what I did last year.  My New Year's resolution was just a tad too vague, so I had to break it down.  Get healthy, get active - lose weight in process became pray to goddess that the Times Colonist picks me to be part of their health challenge.  After that happened (Thanks Universe!), I had a tête-à-tête with the ninja.  I told him that I just wanted to get fit and healthy, grow some muscles, climb stairs without nearly fact, let's just up the ante here, I want to climb Mount Fuji, and fit into sexy bondage pants...perhaps not simultaneously.  After my blah blah blahing he asked me at what weight I saw myself eventually, my answer was 150lbs.  Not skinny, I still wanted to be a curvy bombshell.  Then Jonathan broke it down even further, what were my goals for the Health Challenge?  Well, I knew that healthy weight loss was about 2 pounds a week, and so that would be 24 pounds in 12 weeks.  There ninja, take goal made...then Mr. Carpenter doubled it.  50 pounds in 3 months.  Ack!  Here are the logistics:     
Specific - Lose 50 pounds in 3 months.  Go from 292 (or 294 according to the ninja) to 242 pounds.  Follow a healthy eating plan, set out by dietition Healther Dueck and combine with exercise plan set out by JCarps It's black n' white thinking, but if you have a plan...follow it.  
(Here we go with the JUST DO IT reference again, but have you ever wondered why Nike is an extremely appropriate brand name to go with such a powerful trademarked slogan?  I haven't, because of my degree in Classical Archaeology - I knew that would come in handy at some point - Nike is Greek (Νίκη) for victory, pronounced [nǐːkɛː].  Mythological Nike was a goddess, often winged, who personified victory.  Wicked.) 
Measurable - Obviously, the number on the scale, my body measurements, fold tests, BMI, and clothing sizes would serve as benchmarks along my journey.  At PISE, Holly and Paula took my basal metabolic rate, and recorded a bunch of other fancy things taken while I had a tube strapped to my face.  Jonathan also mentioned something about me losing 30 pounds in my first month on  So my big goal had also been broken down into smaller goals for me.  Excellent. 

Actionable - For food:  Journal everything that goes into my mouth, and when it goes in there.  Commit to eating 6 times a day.  Eat fruits and veggies, lean proteins, whole grains - cut out processed crap.  (On a side note, deal with food issues - look into Eating Disorders Programme for binge eating).  For exercise:  Personal training with the ninja twice a week.  Do what he says.  Go to the Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre 6 days a week, double up on cardio at least 3 times/week - yoga doesn't count as cardio...but it certainly helps me sort out all my mind chatter twice a week!
Realistic - I have a ninja, a foodie, a gym, a mental coach, 5 Health Challenge cronies, support from friends & family, and a plan...the only thing that can stop me from doing this is me, and I'm on board.  Is it going to be easy?  No.  Am I going to do it?  Yes.  For the next 3 months, I am going to dedicate myself to this wholly.  I am on a medical leave in order to deal with my health issues, so I am going to make the most of the next 3 months.  Nothing is going to stop me.  Also, there is some big time accountability because I will be documenting every step I take towards success in a blog entitled O.M.G...WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE A PRETTY FACE? and pretty much everyone who reads the Times Colonist will know what I'm doing.  Failure is not an option, at least not for me...not now.
Timely - Obviously, the TC Health Challenge is 3 months, so it's lose 50 pounds in 12 weeks.  Start of healthy eating: January 16th, 2013.  Start of working out:  January 21st, 2013.  Final weigh-in day at PISE:  Mid April, finale, and final photos the following Sunday.  And then what happens?  Make more SMART goals, of course!

There you have it.  I decided to REALLY do something about my weight after spraining my ankle in November 2012, I made that New Year's resolution on January 1st, 2013, I got chosen to participate in the TC Health Challenge shortly after that, and I wrote all of my goals down in front of someone...or at least the ninja did in front of me, then I blogged about them in front of you.  

What I learned from this experience is that first I needed to be in the right mindset to establish my goals, as well as to actually do what I needed to do to achieve them.  I had to be ready.  Mind-in-check, goals assigned, plan in place, supportive peeps around, sounds good so far, right?

I also needed someone aware of those goals to hold me accountable, to push me harder, and to not let me off the hook if I screwed something up...enter the ninja, my friends & family, the readership of the Times Colonist and followers of my blog O.M.G...what if I don't have a pretty face? 

Jonathan not only trained me twice a week one-on-one, but he also lead a Health Challenge group on Sundays that I attended.  He was pretty much at the gym every single time I entered it, there was no slacking off for 3 months.  And, if he were around, I would do my best...hopefully he would notice and would get a nice pat on the head.  Good girl.  Though originally I thought his methods of encouragement were a bit on the cruel side (Praise?  What praise?  Positive reinforcement anyone?), I now realise that he was getting me to work arduously for verbal why congratulate me for working towards my goals?  Why not let me strive further to achieve them?  Clever ninja, I'm still toiling away under your tutelage looking forward to that elusive pat on the head.

So, University of Bristol Study, what else was I supposed to do?  Oh, yes...declare my goals publicly and get support from my friends.  Well, I'd say I successfully proclaimed my intentions via the Times Colonist and O.M.G...what if I don't have a pretty face?  And support from my friends?  My friends have always been supportive.  Why would they not support my goals of health and fitness?  Done and done.

And that my friends, is how it's done...well, the first 3 months of it anyway, but you get the picture.  I'm still chugging away at it, I have 1 pound left until I hit 150 pounds - my original final destination.  However, that goal has recently been revised.  All that's left to do now is write it down smart goal style, tell the ninja, let you guys in on it, and get my friends to back me up.  I think that's doable, don't you?

Now go forth and make your own goals for the New Year.  

Happy 2014!

Happy New Year from the Spitfyres (Papa, Mama, Pinta, Suzie, & Stéffi)

No comments:

Post a Comment