What I’ve learned about achieving goals

It was New Year’s Day and my wife approached me with a kiss and said “happy new year, here are my resolutions, what are yours?” Her resolutions were something, like “I want to make time to read, make time to write more, and to go swimming one day a week.” She grew up swimming and this is a form of exercise she really enjoys.

I tell myself that it tastes better than it looks.

I reminded her that, I do not make resolutions, instead I have goals. For instance, I reminded her of my goal to become a vegetarian on my 50th birthday, which will be in 2022. To do that successfully, I started this journey one month prior to my 49th birthday. By giving myself just over a year to hit my goal, I assure myself that, even though I will have missteps, there is a good chance that if I stay the course, then on my 50th I could call myself a vegetarian and there is a better likelihood that this lifestyle change will stick.

I will tell you that since starting my goal back in October, I have had many missteps. I have had steak on two occasions, oxtail over Thanksgiving, as it is one of my favorite dishes, and some jerk chicken wings on two occasions. I am now three months in, so I think I am not doing too bad.

I am also trying to cut back on sugar, even though I am someone who loves sweets. For example, I decided that I will open a box of Oreo cookies and just take a smell of the freshly opened box, but will not eat any. I can say that I’ve fallen short on four occasions, where opening the box and smelling the cookies was too much to handle, and I decided to indulge in an Oreo or two. But going from a person who used to eat a package or two a day, this is much improvement. My goal is, again, to cut back on sugar while aiming to become a vegetarian by my 50th.

Set long-range deadlines that allow for day-to-day missteps.

Taking the body assessment

This idea of becoming a vegetarian all started when I had a body assessment done to see how my body functions under exercise, and to learn at what point my body actually burns fat. I found out that most people burn fat after 20 minutes of exercise, but for me, it took 40 minutes to burn fat. This is not because I was in great shape but the opposite. I was actually very unhealthy and had loads of fat around my internal organs and therefore needed to go 40 minutes for the benefit someone else had in 20 minutes. This was an eye opener and had me thinking I need to do something different if I want to see my kids grow up and be around to celebrate their achievements.

What everyone else does might not be enough for you. If necessary, consult an expert to assess your personal barriers.

I recall several years ago, a friend of mine invited me to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) weekend retreat. I do not drink, maybe one beer a month, but she was a counselor in her local area and the facilitator for several sessions that weekend. Imagine someone inviting you to an AA weekend retreat, well I had no idea what to expect. I had lots of visions in my mind which were completely wrong. I encountered the most loving, kind, sharing group of people I have ever met. To this day, I often think of how wonderful a gift it was to have shared in this experience. Everyone was so kind, and supportive of one another, perfect strangers, and so encouraging as they helped one another tell their stories. There were individuals who would stay awake for days supporting and comforting others who may have been having an urge or a craving. I recall and share this experience, for one of my big takeaways was the need to have a support group in any goal or avenue of your life where you are trying to make a lifestyle change.

Have an important reason for making a life change, and someone in your corner who will help you stay focused on it.

I do not know if you make resolutions or, like me, set goals, but I wish you the very best on your journey and hope my story reminds you that, no matter the journey, you do not have to go it alone.

READ: 6 quick tips on how to stay on top of our New Year resolutions

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