As we work toward our Goals, it’s easy to get discouraged because we don’t always see progress. We want a quick result or at least something we can see every time we look, but this is not how we should measure progress all the time. Sometimes our progress must be measured in the daily actions we take.
When we look at one of the most common Goals, weight loss, it is easy to see why it is also one of the most common Abandoned Goals. Losing weight is a long process if we do it well without jeopardizing our health. Even weight loss surgeries don’t guarantee immediate, observable results every day. However, we weigh ourselves daily, looking for more progress; and we are disappointed when it stays the same or fluctuates up and down. The important thing is the trend, not the changes from day to day.
That needs to be repeated.
The important thing is the TREND, not the changes from day to day.
If we want to make sure the trend is going in the right direction, we have to do the right things every day to make that happen. We will not be perfect in them, certainly not at first; but that doesn’t mean we don’t follow it. Continuing with our weight loss example, what are the daily things we can track that will help us progress toward our goal weight?
First we have to break down what it takes to lose weight. Generally speaking, this means that we burn more calories than we consume. We exercise more and eat less. More than what and less than what?
Second, what are the things we can do to make that happen? For exercise, it should be simple. If you don’t have a gym membership or any equipment at home, walking is easiest. Walk 30 minutes a day. Or if 30 is too much at first, walk for 10 or 5 minutes. Then do it again the next day and the next. Almost anyone can do this.
What about eating less? This one is harder, because we have to eat to live. Food is a necessity, but it shouldn’t be an addiction. Decide what foods you will eat each day. In this example, let’s decide on a moderate breakfast to start the day with refueling and voila. Then a light lunch and a moderate dinner. We should define what moderate and light mean. This includes serving sizes and calories. We must also make a list of the foods we should eat and the foods we should avoid.
What else can we do? There are certain habits that we must develop to exercise more and eat less. Getting up early, at the same time every day of the week, is essential. You can’t eat breakfast if you don’t take time to prepare and eat it before work. You cannot exercise in the morning if that is your preferred time. You can’t take the time to review your day’s assignments and appointments. All of these things are essential to a successful day, and you can’t do them if you wake up 20 minutes before you have to leave the house.
Third, and possibly the most important factor in your progress, is creating a tracker of some kind. Even a sheet of paper with handwritten lists of things you want to do and seven boxes for the days of the week will do. Get up at 6 in the morning. Exercise. Take a shower and get dressed. Make / eat a good breakfast. Review your goals and your schedule. Types of food and amounts eaten. Amount of water drunk.
Find out the most important things to keep track of. Pick three actions and track them for two weeks. Add an action or two to track every two to three weeks until you are doing and tracking all the things you need to lose weight. This will allow you to see the progress each day as you mark each item or record the quantities. Build a sense of success and you build momentum. Weekly, you can check the goal that is driving this. Weigh the same day at the same time each week and record it. Don’t worry about the number for a moment. Your daily actions will take care of that for you.