here’s the whole plan

But first of all, a couple of updates.  I’ve had several independent confirmations that I’m now back to the weight I was in high school (and actually a little smaller).  First, when I went shopping on Saturday, I bought clothes in the size I used to wear in high school, and even one pair of slacks that was a size smaller than I used to wear in high school.  Second, I tried on my prom dress yesterday and it fits again!  And it even is roomier than it was when I wore it to prom!  So this is exciting, because it’s nice that my first goal weight loss brought me back to the weight I was before college, so now I’m back to that and can focus on my next weight loss goal bringing me down closer to a healthy weight.  So, good first step!

Okay but the point of this post.  I’m reading 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman, which is all about scientifically proven ways to increase your happiness (it’s a really fun and informative book, and I totally recommend it), and all of the suggestions in it are things that take very little time or effort (hence the title).  Anyway, in the Motivation chapter, there’s a suggestion about how to achieve a goal.  One of the proven ways to increase your odds of achieving a goal is to get it down in writing, including splitting it up into subgoals, and specific plans for achieving each of the subgoals.  So, here is what Wiseman suggests writing down for the goal and each subgoal:

1. What is your overall goal?

2. Step-by-step plan:

For each subgoal (maximum of 5 subgoals per major goal):

 a. This subgoal is to….

 b. I believe that I can achieve this goal because…

 c. To achieve this sub-goal I will…

 d. This will be achieved by the following date:

 e. My reward for achieving this will be…

 f. The reason this subgoal is important is…[This isn’t in 59 Seconds, but I added it]

3. What are the benefits of achieving your overall goal? (Focus on benefits, not escaping the negative aspects of not achieving the goal)

4. Whom are you going to tell about your goal in order to have social support and accountability?

When I was on the airplane coming home for Spring Break, I decided to answer the questions on paper, so now I’m going to type them it up into this note.  If you believe it will help you to achieve any of your goals (and hey, research suggests it will), then feel free to answer any of the questions by commenting on this note, or on your own Facebook note, or in your journal, or whatever works for you.  It’s nice to get it all down on paper (well, in any sort of writing).

So here I go (note: the last two sub-goals are based on the idea that losing 50 pounds total will get me down to a healthy weight and that I can then go on maintenance; if when I reach that weight loss I decide along with a doctor that I should lose some more, that will change it.  But anyway, here’s the plan based on my current estimates.  And these 5 subgoals are based on the 25 pounds I have left to lose, since I’ve already done the first 25 so I don’t need to plan for those, but those 25 pounds are included in the total numbers I include):

1. What is your overall goal? My overall goal is to lose 25 pounds (50 pounds total). 

2. Step-by-step plan:

Step One:

 a. This first subgoal is to lose 5 pounds (30 total).

 b. I believe that I can achieve this goal because I’ve already lost 25 pounds. I now enjoy eating healthy food, and exercising feels great. I have so much support from my family and friends. 

 c. To achieve this sub-goal I will continue buying groceries every weekend and preparing as much ahead of time as possible. I will continue recording all of my food and exercise on the LoseIt application on my iPod. I will go to sleep at a reasonable time (by 11 whenever possible) to have enough energy to exercise most mornings.

 d. This will be achieved by the following date: April 11th, 2011. 

 e. My reward for achieving this will be ordering something (a DVD, book, or something else), from Amazon, likely something fun and fitness-related.

 f. The reason this subgoal is important is this will keep me in the habit of losing weight (which I’ve drifted away from a bit since I reached my first goal), so I am as successful as last time.

Step Two:

 a. This second subgoal is to lose 15 pounds (40 pounds total).

 b. I believe that I can achieve this goal because by this point I will have already lose 30 pounds and will be on a roll. 

 c. To achieve this sub-goal I will continue everything I stated in the first goal.  In addition, as at this point I may feel weary and may it a plateau, I will consult with my support network for guidance. I may also decide to maintain my weight for a while if I decide this will work better for me. I will continue to remind myself of how rewarding this is, and will make a list of why losing weight is so important. 

 d. This will be achieved by the following date: May 23, 2011. 

 e. My reward for achieving this will be to purchase some new clothes and a fun item.

 f. The reason this subgoal is important is that this will bring me only 10 pounds from my goal, and this makes the final stretch attainable.

Step Three:

 a. This third subgoal is to lose 25 pounds (50 total). 

 b. I believe that I can achieve this goal because I will be very close, and can use all that I’ve learned, and use my motivation to complete my weight loss goal. 

 c. To achieve this sub-goal I will continue my positive lifestyle choices, and will consult with my support network for any roadblocks that arise. 

 d. This will be achieved by the following date: July 18th, 2011. 

 e. My reward for achieving this will be decided at a later date.  I will likely buy new clothes, and may reward myself with buying something else.  However, my ultimate reward will be the achievement itself.

 f. The reason this subgoal is important is it will be me achieving the goal I set out to achieve.  I will be healthier, and have more energy. I will have more self-confidence because I will have actually followed through on what I wanted to achieve. Buying clothes will be easier, I will sleep better at night, and I will feel better about myself. 

Step Four:

 a. This fourth subgoal is to maintain my weight loss for one year. 

 b. I believe that I can achieve this goal because by this point, exercise and healthy eating will be part of my routine. Additionally, I’ll have a larger caloric budget so this will make the lifestyle easier. 

 c. To achieve this sub-goal I will I will continue very regular exercise, with an emphasis on fun exercise, and weight lifting.  I will continue to record all of my food and exercise to maintain awareness of my calories in/out. I will continue to weigh myself (though less frequently). I will continue updating friends on my progress. 

 d. This will be achieved by the following date: July 2012. 

 e. My reward for achieving this will be determined closer to the date of achievement. 

f. The reason this subgoal is important because this will teach me the mechanics of maintenance, and show me what I need to do to maintain for my whole life. 

Step Five:

 a. This final subgoal is to maintain a healthy weight my whole life. 

 b. I believe that I can achieve this goal because I will have all of the tools, including an enjoyment of healthy delicious food and exercise, several years of weight loss which will teach me what works for me, any exercise equipment I have acquired, recipes, and organizational tools that work for me, and the knowledge that continuing my healthy lifestyle is incredibly rewarding. 

 c. To achieve this sub-goal I will continually evaluate what I need to do to continue to maintain my weight. I will continue to weight myself regularly (at least once a month) and continue to keep a weight chart to see trends.  If I find my weight rising (or falling in an unhealthy way), I will implement a plan to slowly and comfortably attain my healthy weight again. I will incorporate active habits in my life, either by working out regularly or (and) by doing fun activities such as hiking, swimming, etc. I will seek out new healthy recipes and keep a stockpile of lists of foods that are healthy, easy-to-make, and that taste good. I will try to keep unnecessary stress out of my life in order to be able to actively devote the requisite time and energy needed for being healthy. 

 d. This will be achieved by the following date: This is an ongoing goal my whole life. 

 e. My reward for achieving this will be determined based on what keeps me motivated at each point in my life.

f. This subgoal is important because it will sustain my current actions for my whole life. It will improve my health and well-being, and it is the ultimate goal of healthy weight loss.

3. What are the benefits of achieving your overall goal? (Focus on benefits, not escaping the negative aspects of not achieving the goal)

a. Better health and longer life.

b. More self-confidence in knowing I can achieve other goals.

c. More energy for everything else I want to do in my life.

4. Whom are you going to tell about your goal in order to have social support and accountability?

I will continue using Facebook and LoseIt as a way to have social support and accountability, as well as talking to people in person. 

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Published by

thegeneticsgal

I've been writing about my weight loss (-100lbs, now just -80 bc of regain) for years. Now I also write about science. Find me at thegeneticsgal.com and say hi.

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