Reaching Goals In A World Set On Failure

January 15, 2011
Written by Terez Howard in
All About Family
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Setting goals based on a plan.

Americans from the Pacific to the Atlantic rang in the New Year with a list of resolutions. The New Year, for many, symbolizes a new beginning. Therefore, people repeat promises to lose weight, stop smoking, or make their marriage work, and within a couple months, or for some, weeks, they hopelessly leave behind their noble intentions.

For some goal setters, they are not at fault when their resolution wilts with the passing of time. For example, the odds are much higher for men to lose weight as opposed to females. The facts show women’s body fat percentage is naturally higher than men’s.

Anneli Rufus, an author and journalist who conducted researched studies that explored the factors indicating when a couple is headed for divorce reports, “If you are an African-American woman, your first marriage has a 47 percent chance of ending in divorce within 10 years. The likelihood is 34 percent for Hispanic women, 32 percent for white women, and 20 percent for Asian women.”

Does this mean that since I’m an African-American woman, I’m doomed to be an overweight divorcee? Those are not my goals.

Last January, I set the goal to lose weight, more specifically to shed five pounds. I established a plan to count calories, run, and do Pilates. My husband joined in my initiative. I lost 10 pounds, and he lost 20.

From this experience, I learned two simple ways to meet my goals. First, I made a plan. I didn’t just say that I was going to lose weight. I figured out how I was going to do it, and I was realistic in my planning.

The UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, a newsletter on nutrition, fitness, and stress management published by the University of California, advises, “Start by adding a few minutes of increased activity to your day, and work up to 30 minutes at most, and preferably consistent for all days of the week.”

That same principle is applicable when setting any goals, start small, and build up slowly to reach the goal.

Secondly, surround yourself by others who are working toward a similar goal. I didn’t lose weight on my own. I had my husband, who I talked to about the number of calories we consumed in a day, how to reward ourselves, and what new exercises to try. We supported one another. A supportive friend gives you the encouragement you need to continue working toward your goal.

Lastly, if you do fail, that does not mean you are a failure forever. I gained a few of my lost pounds back during a summer full of steak and cheesecake. I lost that weight again by sticking to a weight loss plan.

Remember the words of Dale Carnegie. “The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.”

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