Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Definitive Goals

I was having a conversation with Amber the other day about fitness and motivation and so on.  A few of the blogs I regularly read have been focusing on that as well.  I got to thinking about what motivated me and what my goals were.

I think that so many people view weight loss in and of itself to be a goal.  I think that is why so many people have such a struggle.  Losing weight isn’t a goal, it’s a means to an end.  I read lots of things like “I’m not just a number on a scale” and then a post following it, is a weigh in with emotions and all attached to how the newest number makes them feel.

My goal when I was losing weight, was not to lose weight, it was to achieve a level of fitness that would allow me to grade for black belt.  Weight loss was simply a necessary by-product of getting in shape.  I had a definitive goal, separate to that of simply being smaller.  My goal was not open-ended, it was a pass/fail.  I either got in shape to grade, or I wasn’t grading for black belt.

Did I have to be a certain weight for that? Nope.  Did I have to be able to do a whole bunch of things, push my body to the limits of what I was able to do? Yes.  And that is how I improved, that’s how I lost weight, not by “losing weight” but by “getting better”.

I read so many bits about dieting, and cheating on that diet, and such too.  About how those people feel bad about cheating on their diet, or good about a low calorie intake day.  I did track what I ate, for almost two whole years, everything was taken into account.  I can look at the chart now, and of the weight ups and downs on that same chart and see which days were good and bad, some days were surprising.  I can honestly say the only times I was upset by any of that would be when I ate very little but still went up in weight.  I was never upset if I went to a potluck and then the next day gained a pound.  I simply vowed to burn it off that same next day.  I knew when I would be eating more and planned to do something about it.  I wasn’t on a diet necessarily, I was training my body to eat the actual amount of food that it required.  Diets are doomed to fail.  I have read that more than once.  A change in attitude and lifestyle is required for success.

Let’s say you are trying to lose weight and reading this.  I want you to think about a couple of things.

1)Why?  What is the end goal?  I am suggesting to you right now that “to be skinny” or “to be fit” are both too vague to be valid answers.  Find a goal, one that is a pass/fail and not based on weight or clothes size, one that you really want to achieve, and work toward it.

2)What are your benchmarks for success?  How are you measuring your progress?  If it’s just a number on a scale I submit to you that that is also not good enough.  Find other areas to measure success.  Can you run faster? Lift more? Be active longer? Jump higher? Find many of these things and use them.

Definite, time sensitive goals are easier to aim for, they don’t allow you to be wishy-washy  in regards to your progress.  It has to be a reason you really want though, something that will drive you forward!


  1. Those are good things to think about. I need to find something that I really want to do, since I'm not a runner or lifter or anything.

  2. Hi Chris! Very well thought out post, from a guy with vast experience in this department.

    I agree with your more holistic approach. It's a major lifestyle change to lose a lot of weight. If a person imagines that they can lose pounds on the outside but keep inside thoughts exactly the same, then they will be greatly disappointed. The inside thoughts have to change before the fitness and weight loss happens.

    Your point about a number on a scale not being enough by itself seems right in my mind. To many people, losing weight seems like the biggest change in their life they could make. Yet, it isn't the loss of pounds that makes a person feel better about their lives. It's more of the assertiveness, gain of control, and going after exciting goals that is the huge thing for happiness.

    :-) Marion

  3. This has given me a lot to think about. I focus so much on weight and clothes size. But what I really want is to set an example for my nephew. I want to be able to run the 10 mile run I have signed up for. I'll definitely be doing some thinking over the next couple days.