Monday, June 30, 2008

Setting Goals

I have some goals. They aren't related to wealth-building, though I do have those goals as well, but they are "new" goals and I'm very proud of them. I decided that I was going to work on my body. I'm not concerned about losing weight. Certainly that does play a part in the overall picture. What I want is a body that I can enjoy and move around effortlessly in. I want to be able to do martial arts, dance, even circus stuff if I'd like!

I remember the first time I ran a mile and what an amazing feeling that was. There was much panting and sweating and effort that went into that first mile. It was hardly effortless. But I did it. I did what so many other people brag about being able to do. Something that I had always pictured as being off limits, or too hard, or simply impossible for an out-of-shape asthmatic. It was a lovely high.

Right now I couldn't run a mile if I was running from Godzilla. I couldn't run a mile to save the life of my child. I don't know that I could run three straight blocks.

This is an overview of my thought process/system for goal setting. Over the next few weeks I'm going to apply it to my finances as well.

Goal Setting #1: Set more than one goal

I find that if I only have one goal to look forward to, and I fail to meet it, I feel like an overall failure. Having multiple goals allows me to feel that I have succeeded and made progress even if I didn't cross everything off the list. After all, how do I know how much and what exactly I'm going to be able to do right now?

Goal Setting #2: Set goals that are easily achievable

I find that in my list of goals I need some that are easily achievable. These are either things that are a part of my regular routine anyway (only if they reinforce my goal) or are simply easy to do.

This week, for example, among many goals, my goal list included:
- Drink one bottle of water upon waking up before any food is consumed.
- Stop eating lunch when full.
- Stop eating dinner when full.

These are very easy to do things that can have big results. Yet they don't cause any kind of hardship. And it's simply lovely to be able to go to my goal paper, which is taped on a kitchen cupboard, and check off goals several times a day. Then, in the spirit of having "done something" those slightly more difficult goals seem less threatening.

Goal Setting #3: Modify goals frequently to fit

I've broken down goals week by week. For example I eat oatmeal most days of the week for breakfast. Not only is oatmeal healthy, it's extremely cheap. My husband and I can eat breakfast for a full week for about a dollar. Incredible. He makes his with plain water whereas I currently can't stand it being that plain. I use almond milk. Almond milk is fairly expensive. (I hate regular milk and it doesn't like me all that much.) This week I'm reducing the amount of almond milk I put in each bowl by 1/3 cup. My goal reads, "2/3 cup almond milk in oatmeal" and the column for check-offs reads, "2/3 cup," to remind me what it is. Next week it will be 1/2 cup, the following week, 1/3, then 1/4, then none. By making my goal into little goals I am more able to achieve watery goodness than by going cold turkey with it.

I'm also modifying my exercise goals. This week I've done one set of squats and two of pushups. I have one more set of squats this week and then I've met my strength training goals. I set a goal of two walks for cardio. Yes, it's a slow start, but that's what's recommended by most experts. Next week I'll add something else like tricep dips or lunges. By the end of the month I'll be doing two sets of a number of exercises twice a week. I may also add in some of my VHS tapes and so forth, but not until I know what I can do and stick with.

Goal Setting #4: Pick an irregular week

For some reason Sunday-Saturday or Monday-Sunday weeks just don't work for me for goal setting. I've known this for quite some time. This is why my "weeks" are Tuesday-Monday. Starting a day late doesn't make an impact, however having that Monday to catch up really helps. Today is the last day of my first week. It's a purely psychological thing for me that might not work for anyone else. I know that it's made a big difference to me.

My next step? Making a list of financial goals, similar to my body goals, and working on those.

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