Don't Quit Your Goal, Downsize It
Updated: Jan 10
Goals give us something to aim for. But have you ever felt the overwhelm that comes when you set too big a goal?
Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds in 2020
That has such a great ring to it. Seems like a perfect goal. The last time your weight was that low was 10 years ago, but you’ve been there before and it feels like reasonable weight. Unfortunately, your brain does not see it that way. It will start in on how you have tried this before (last year) and failed. Or how if you don’t do great today, it’s more proof that you won’t achieve the goal.
You’re hoping the goal will motivate and excite you, but really that is not the goal’s job. The goal’s only job is to give you something to aim for.
I love to write out goals and do game plans, I am nerdy that way.
After setting a goal, I start to list the possible things I will have to do to get there. If I have a big goal, like losing 20 lbs, I literally fill up pages with what I think it will take to get there. This is my favorite part.
I look at my game plan and it includes all the things
Planning and prepping my food
Eating tons of veggies and whole foods
I do really want these changes in my life. I must, I write them every year! And I am still feeling good about things, maybe a little daunted, but good too.
The question becomes, can I do them all at once?
My brain is looking for proof that I am the gal that looses 20 pounds. Maybe I do the game plan for the next 4 days. But when I eat Crumbl cookie, or miss my workout, my brain starts in on, “See? This is why we don’t lose the weight.” Or “Hmmmmm, doesn’t look like you’re that gal?”
My brain is actually keeping score. It wants to see if I will do what I say I will do. (Remember that big ole game plan, that seemed amazing when I wrote it out?) Maybe you keep your list in your head, but it is the same. We are trying to build a track record of achievement.
While loosing 20 lbs seems doable (people do to all the time) our brains underestimate what energy and skills it takes to make these changes. Often we stretch ourselves too far and our goal does more harm than good. We end up feeling defeated or frustrated or stressed. How do we show up when we feel defeated? We don't do our big plan, that's for sure.
Time to Downsize the Goal
Consider a smaller goal, pocket-sized, a mini. Bite-sized and believable.
My new goal: Weigh half a pound less, onetime this week before next Monday.
That's only half a pound. It’s totally in the zone for me and the best part is I believe I can do it. My thought is, “I got this!” I feel on par. It doesn’t take large amounts of excitement and motivation, just feeling on par.
How I show up when I am thinking, "I got this"
I am ready to make tons of B- choices and let that be good enough. There is no "major" game plan, I only need to up level one habit to get there. Maybe this week I have dessert twice instead of 5 times or eat out once instead of three times or stop snacking after 8 pm. I chose it and do it.
This is LITZ! (Living in the Zone).
Why this is Brilliant
I get to experience so many more wins.
I start losing weight, half a pound at a time.
I am shifting my identity to the gal that sets goals and achieves them, with the results to prove it.
I am growing my self-trust and self-belief.
I do what I say I will do (one new habit)
I enjoy my life so much more.
How to know if you've chosen the right size for you
When you chose a goal, write out the action plan it will take to get you there. Be specific and put a timeline on it. If this plan feels too daunting or your energy starts to dip or you start having drama about it, consider resizing your goal. If you’re quitting or shutting down, something is off.
You are working on weight loss, but even more important you are working on becoming someone who does what she says she will do
Make your goals simple and doable. Don’t be in a rush. Stop thinking about how long it will take. You're trying to build up some momentum. Remember, the path is the goal and this is the path.