A new year. A fitness challenge. A special occasion.

All motivators to set goals to look and feel our best!

You have a nice workout planner, a new set of workout clothes and matching shoes, you’ve cleared the perfect spot to do your workouts. After filling out that workout plan, you’re excited to get started!

Then—life happens!

The baby kept you up in the night and you can hardly drag yourself out of bed, let alone change, push play and work out!

Or one of your kids (or YOU) got sick and you just aren’t up to it.

Or the washer broke and now the repair man is on his way, so no workout today.

Maybe it isn’t life’s interruptions, but overwhelm. You’re having a hard time getting 5-6 workouts in each week, feeling more tired, not sure if you’re doing the right workout….

When too many of life’s curve balls come your way, it’s easy to feel guilty about your plans—or push them aside altogether.

Are we doomed to just stay at this size, this level of health and stamina? Is there no hope?

The Real Problem

When anything is fresh and new—whether a new year or a new motivation—it’s easy to plan big! We’re excited, motivated, and we are going to conquer our goals this time! But that could be the very thing that is sabotaging our success.

Unrealistic goals.

Working out every day at 6 a.m. seems like a good idea. Get it done first thing! Unless you’re not a morning person. Or have adrenal or thyroid issues. Or you have young children.

Upping the cardio to burn fat faster seems like the most streamlined and quickest way to drop those few sizes to fit into that special outfit. Unless it wears you out so much you can’t get anything else done! Or your focus just isn’t there and you can’t keep good form or activation.

What sounds great in the moment of motivation when you set the goal becomes the source of your discouragement when you can’t keep up.

Do we just throw in the towel, defeated yet again by situations beyond our control or over-ambitious goal setting?

A NEW Way to Set Realistic Goals

Instead of giving into defeat, let’s look at a different way to set goals that are doable, even when the craziness of life hits!

1. Make your outcome truly achievable

We’ve all heard of SMART goals. But distilling that acronym down into truly achievable goals in fitness and wellness isn’t so cut and dried.

Most of us set a size loss goal for ourselves We want to be 2 sizes smaller by our anniversary. Or on January 1 we set a goal to lose 4 sizes by December 31. (I know some set goals to lose pounds, but if you’ve been around me for very long, you know I don’t put stock in losing weight as a measure of success! That’s a topic for another post!)

While you can certainly have a goal to lose X number of sizes, it should not be your only motivational goal. Why?

Because you can’t dictate to your body where to lose so you’ll fit into smaller clothes!

There are so many variables on this journey, not the least of which are health issues. Adrenal or thyroid issues, blood sugar issues or other metabolic issues will affect your ability to lose inches in all the right places.

Okay, Trisch, so what am I to do? Don’t set a size loss goal at all?”

Absolutely set your goal! I personally want to lose 2 sizes for my daughter’s wedding in 4 months. It’s technically doable. But I also know there are variables I have no control over. So while that is my “size loss goal”, my greater goals are to be in the best health I can be at that time on my journey and feel comfortable in my skin.

I’m not setting a “I should look 10 years younger and be 2 sizes smaller in 4 months” goal. I’m setting a goal of “I want to continue my health journey and be vibrant and able to enjoy the day, and hopefully be a few sizes smaller. But if not, I will know I am still on my journey and I CHOOSE to feel comfortable in my own skin!”

Go ahead and set a goal to fit into a specific outfit or lose a certain amount by a reasonable date (losing 4 sizes in 4 months is NOT reasonable, just saying!). But also have a GREATER goal that you can control!

2. Log non-scale and non-inch loss measurements

Closely related to the last point, we need to have measurements of success that don’t involve numbers! In my example above, one of my greater goals is to be in the best health I can be at that time. Again, there are variables, but I can choose to focus on victories that aren’t tied to numbers. If I need less naps, have more energy, more brain clarity (especially as we get to the last few weeks before the wedding!), less stiffness—those are all validations that I am improving my overall health!

Maybe you would like to see your blood sugar or blood pressure improve. While that involves numbers, you can still focus on overall lowering of those numbers vs “be below ____ by this date”. Otherwise your blood pressure will go UP because you’re not getting where you want to be!

Set a specific goal, but not so specific that if you don’t reach it, you’ll be devastated. Finding that balance will help you celebrate small wins along the way to the greater goal!

3. You have powerful choices

I have control over how I choose to feel about myself. For example, I want to be focused on my daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law on their special day. Not worrying about how I look in pictures. What if I smile and radiate my joy at this happy occasion vs worrying I “look fat” in pictures?

Let me say this again: I get to choose how I see myself that day. .And if I am radiating joy, I can assure you no one is going to be focused on my size!

If I am choosing to enjoy a special day, confident that I am at the best I can be at that point in my life, AND if I am focusing on others, I am free to enjoy a special day instead of beating myself up that I didn’t “try harder” at my workout/eating/health plan.

Choose to be your own best friend. How would you encourage your best friend in her goals? You’d gently challenge her when you know she’s procrastinating, encourage her to give herself grace when life hits her with unexpected challenges, cheer her on every time she got back on track—and you would–

4. CELEBRATE every small win along the way!

So why not be your OWN best friend?! Celebrate those small wins! Success breeds success! If you have other goals than inch/size loss, you will be looking for those improvements that would go unnoticed if you were only focusing on how many inches you are losing. There are so many things that you can’t measure, but that are more important than getting into a specific size!

Your formula for REALISTIC goal setting!

  1. Set a truly achievable goal
  2. Be sure to log the things that you can’t measure
  3. CHOOSE to be encouraged and cheer yourself on
  4. CELEBRATE wins along the way!

I’d love to hear what your goals are for 2020!

Would you like a little more help? Sign up below and receive my Goal Setting for REAL Life guide!

Photos by Alexa Williams, Preslie Hirsch and Jamie Street on Unsplash

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