I just finished my end of year performance review process at work. This is the
time of year when we have to go back to those goals we set in January and record
how we met or why we didn’t meet them. It’s super stressful for everyone. It starts with setting achievable goals that you know you can meet by year end. Then We spend days compiling a list of all the amazing things we’ve done throughout the year to remind our managers of how invaluable we are. This is not the time to be humble; you need to be the grand marshal of the I’m-so-awesome-what-would-you-do-without-me parade, because this determines whether you get a bonus/promotion in the following year. Did I mention how super stressful it is??
As much as the process makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry for days at a time, there is some good in the whole ordeal. You get to record all of your accomplishments in one place and see how much you’ve contributed. For me, that generates a feeling of pride in my own hard work and a renewed belief in myself. It’s a great ego boost. This year, though, I had a goal that I didn’t meet. It was a result of something out of my control, but it made my competitive spirit flare up. I hated the idea that I didn’t finish something I set out to do, and I committed myself to being that much better next year.
Then I had what you might call an ‘aha’ moment. I was sitting on the couch, enjoying some Ben and Jerry’s straight out of the carton, and I wondered why I had so much trouble committing to doing the things that are important to me in my personal life.
Just go to the gym! (I tell myself while lounging in front of the tv)
Eat healthier! (Says the voice in my head while getting another slice of pizza).
It’s not that hard – I used to do it without even thinking about it. Now I eat a second slice of pizza without even thinking about it. I’m not liking the direction this is trending.
The answer was so simple – I can’t believe I didn’t see it before. The solution to all my years of loving food and hating myself for it, is to wire my mouth shut and go on a liquid diet.
Just kidding, although I’m not going to lie – when faced with the possibility of having jaw surgery years ago, the first thing I thought of was how skinny I was going to get.
But seriously, I decided to use the tried and true method of writing down my goals, just like I do to achieve things in my professional life. And in the spirit of accountability, you get to see them and are hereby authorized to publicly shame me when you see me deviating from my objective.
This is where the corporate goal setting techniques come into play. You have to understand what your goal is vs. how you will achieve that goal. You have to be specific and use achievable metrics, and define a time frame.
So, my goal is:
Be healthier and more active.
I will achieve that goal by:
– Run 10 miles
– 3 strength workouts
– Track what I eat
By end of year(that’s only 7.5 weeks for those of you already on the Christmas countdown):
– Eat in moderation during the holidays
– Log 50 miles running. (I would like to do 10/week for a total of 70 miles by year end, but I’m being realistic here and giving myself a little room to breathe).
– Up my strength training to 5x/week
– Eat clean 80% of the time (the other 20% is champagne – unless that counts as clean eating, in which case the 20% will be made up of pure sugar)
What is a stretch goal you ask? Well, let me just fill you in.
A stretch goal is something that may seem impossible to achieve. You are probably looking at making incremental changes over a longer period of time to meet this goal.
Eating clean is something I know to be super beneficial from a fitness perspective, but also when considering overall health and well-being. Read the label of anything that comes in a package and tell me that you should be putting those things into your body. But those things usually taste really delicious, so I’m making this a stretch goal. I hope to cut out the bad stuff, but I know the day will come when I want to pour melted Velveeta cheese all over my taste buds. My mouth just started watering as I typed that.
How will I keep myself accountable?
This post just made me accountable to all five of you reading it. I’m not going to turn this blog into my daily eating journal or start taking gym selfies and pictures of my weekly meal prep. I will check in from time to time though to confirm that I’m on track or failing miserably, whichever the case may be.
I ordered a fitbit.
I’ve heard so many people talk about how beneficial this is to staying on track. I like anything that I can manage passively. The great thing about this (among its many features) is that you can program in your goals and it will tell you every day whether you’ve met them. Hello easy street.
If I were designing my own fitbit, I would add the following features:
1. It will guilt you into making better choices.
Oh, it would say, going for the chunky monkey ice cream again? You know you are what you eat, right?
2. Threat level high
Step away from the refrigerator now or I’ll go into shock therapy mode
3. Negative Reinforcement
Every time you eat a cookie it overrides the treadmill commands you set and forces you to run uphill.
It’s probably a good idea that I’m not in a position to make design decisions.
So I want to hear from you – do you set goals in your personal life? If so, what are they? Do you find that the accountability helps you achieve them?
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