There is a very important principle that we need to go over. Let’s call it the “goals vs indicators” principle. But let’s start with why you need goals. We visited this in the last chapter from a different angle.
You need goals to:
Work systematically - if you know where you are going, you’ll get there faster. Adjust accordingly - if you know the destination, you can adjust your methods to match that course.
Keep you motivated - working towards a goal gives us a feeling of meaningfulness, motivating and empowering us.
So - the goals are important and useful tools. The problem arises when the goals are mixed up with the indicators that we use to monitor our progress.
For example. Let’s say you have to drive to another city by car. The distance is 100 miles. During your trip, you sometimes glance at the car’s distance-reading to see how many miles you have left on the journey. Now try to think that these 100 miles themselves become a journey. You sit in your car and just start driving to get to the 100-mile marker of the car’s distance indicator. Would that make any sense? Of course not. It is your goal to get to the other city, not the mile reading. The latter one is just the indicator to see if you are getting closer.
But we make the same mistake with our transformation and biology constantly. The worst abused indicator is the weight. We tend to make our “ideal” weight the only goal for us. “I need to lose 30 pounds”. What is the problem with this? The problem is that when we focus on this indicator, we forget that our weight isn’t 100% fat. It matters a lot how much of that lost 30 pounds is fat, how much muscle, and how much water. It's an ever-repeating problem that when people focus on the weight number, they don’t care what they do so long as they get closer to the goal.
You could drive 100 miles and achieve that goal, but you could end up in 100 different places, depending on what direction you started driving. The worst thing that people do is losing most of the weight from muscle. It is very easy to do and most dieters do it. That’s why indicators shouldn’t be goals.
But how do you know what your goal is? I’m guessing here, but I’m rather certain that we all have the same goal in our efforts, at least including this course: we want to enjoy life more. This is our umbrella-goal. But this doesn’t help us much.
We need sub-goals. We need short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals. Let's look at an example to illustrate this.
· The umbrella-goal (till the end of your life): enjoy life more.
· Long-term sub-goal(1+ years): be as healthy as possible - indicated by indicators such as body composition, energy levels, happiness, etc.
· Medium-term sub-goal (3-12 months): solidify new lifestyle and routines, indicated by hours physically active per week; hours slept on average every day, changes in body composition, and laboratory markers.
· Short-term sub-goals (up to 3 months): start and learn new habits, create routines and systems, get a coach, start a new nutrition plan. Indicators: macronutrients per day; physical condition, weight circumference, etc.
You need goals for every period and you need to choose the correct key indicators for those goals. This is a hard thing to learn to do and it takes years to master. The best advice for you at this point is for you to sit down, write down those goals and indicators, and return to them weekly. You will learn best by doing. Don’t settle for just: “I need to lose 30 pounds”. The point isn’t that this wouldn’t yield results. But with what methods and will they be permanent?
If you have a problem with setting your sub-goals, contact me, I will be happy to help.