Stop Wishing, Start Writing: The Losing Edition

After incorrectly spelling my name a dozen times in the address bar, a friend of mine eventually found this blog and read through the website last week. As we were talking, Todd said, “So, you’re going to try to help people by telling them different ways that you’ve screwed up, what you learned, and how they can avoid or recover from the same mistakes?”

“Oh, I don’t know if I’m really going to do all that. We’ll just see where it goes,” I responded.

“No,” Todd challenged, “your About page says that you’ve screwed up, a lot by the way – a lot, and you want to teach people from your experiences.”

What I heard him say was, “It’s been a month and you’re abandoning why you started the blog? You’re giving in that quickly and easily to the voice in your head that’s saying your writing is blah and your effectiveness is nil? I understand trying to find your voice and your frequency, but your purpose should be clear.”

If I was Taylor Swift, the conversation would have inspired a song. But I’m me, and Todd was right. So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about – not goal setting – but the tools that I used to achieve some goals in my life because, as Jon Acuff says, inspiration without instruction is useless. (Have y’all bought this book yet?)

When I stepped on the scales in March and saw the number 202 appear, I wasn’t shocked, but when you’re 5’ 9-1/2” tall, your weight shouldn’t begin with the number 2, even if you have a “solid” frame, or “stocky” build or whatever term people use to make us feel better about having worn Husky jeans as kids. I decided that I had to do something. I had to drop at least 10% of that mass, and I really wanted to lose about 15% of it. When I stepped on the scales on June 14, I weighed 182.

Accomplishing the goal took sacrifice, and it wasn’t easy. My body doesn’t want to get up at 4:30AM, but my daylight hours are largely communal. Daylight is for commuting and working and coaching and playing toss and teaching children to ride their bikes, even when dogs are barking – ESPECIALLY when dogs are barking. No one needs me at 4:45AM, so that’s when I go running. Sacrifice is a horrible motivator, though. I needed something else to keep my goal in front of me. So I wrote down my goal. Genius, I know.

Writing down your goal, whatever your goal is, does something to you – to your determination and your desire. Writing your goal down makes it real. It’s no longer some “one day I’d like to do that” wish that we keep hidden under the averageness of our day, it’s something that you can see, and touch, and it’s there in front of you every day.

Writing down your goal is a huge step, but just as important is measuring and recording your progress toward your goal. I needed to know daily – and some times throughout the day – that I was moving in the right direction. For this purpose I used, and continue to use, LoseIt. It has a great web interface and a tremendous mobile app, which I prefer. It allows you to set your weight loss goal and the date on which you’d like to achieve the goal. You can enter workout information and, of course, calorie consumption and see the balance of calories that you have for the day. You can look up restaurant or brand name foods, and the latest version includes a bar code scanner that is quick, simple and super easy to use.

I don’t know what your goal is, but I do know that you’re not going to accomplish it on accident. You’re going to have to accomplish it on purpose. Why don’t you start today? Write down your goal, then record and measure your progress. I’ve done it. I know that it works. If I can help you get started, let me know.

I hope you’re having a great week. See you Friday!

Photo credit: LucasTheExperience / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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