“To be really successful, I need to set goals – weight loss goals, exercise goals, health goals; clear small steps that will get me where I want to be.”
At Green Mountain at Fox Run we frequently hear moans of despair about not reaching weight loss goals, exercise goals or health goals, followed by self-recrimination about not being motivated, self-sabotaging or just being a “lazy slob.”
This despair ratchets up as weight loss, exercise and dieting deadlines loom on the horizon. And it reaches a fevered pitch in January, when people start unrealistic New Year’s Diets.
But far from motivating you, the louder your negative self-talk, the more paralyzed you get. For women who struggle with eating and weight, the usual reaction is to turn to numbing eating to take them away from feelings of worthlessness, desperation and funk.
When Setting Goals Might & Might Not Work
Many people have a mindset that setting a goal will improve your chances of achieving it. This is absolutely true for some.
For others, maybe not so much. According to Anthony Gregorc, PhD, creator of the Mind Styles™ Model we can plot our personality styles depending on whether we are concrete vs. abstract and sequential vs. random thinkers.
- Concrete sequential – Likes to plan, track, and even graph accomplishments. Through the designing, implementing and accomplishing of the goal, they feel more motivated to set the next goal. If this is your personality style, you might find goal-setting just your cup of tea.
The opposite might be the:
- Abstract random – You might have an allergic reaction to setting goals. The minute there is a whiff of a goal, you get rebellious, say “screw this.” You not only ignore the goal, consciously or unconsciously you do everything you can to do the opposite.
You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto
It’s not better to be concrete sequential or chaotic random or somewhere in between — it just is. It is your style. One key to success, then, is to learn how to make your style work for you instead of against you.
You might figure out your style by reflecting on your track record. If you set goals and fail again and again, perhaps you and goal setting aren’t a good match. So what can you do instead?
From Goal Setting to Experimenting
Step into the possibility of doing it different in this minute. You can always go back to doing it the way you did it before.
Instead of goal setting, EXPERIMENT.
- Pretend you are a scientist and you’re gathering information about what helps the person who is you get things done. You may discover that it is much easier to make it to play tennis then go on the elliptical. You may notice that you are less likely to sneak eat if you have fed yourself well and at predictable times throughout the day.
An Extra Special Ingredient
The process of experimenting is the opposite of setting goals. But what we see time and time again is that experimenting with adding pleasurable behaviors around eating and movement helps women get where they want to go.
Connecting with pleasure helps us live in our bodies now. It motivates us to keep the pleasure coming. Maybe that’s an objective we can all live with, regardless of our learning style?