Achieving a goal

I haven’t quite done it yet, but I’m almost there.  I have lost a little over 11 pounds. My goal is to lose 15.  I’ve been surprised how relatively easy it’s been.  Mostly it’s taken consistency and a little willpower.  I’ve changed a lot about how I eat and live, but the changes were actually kind of minor.  I cut out soda, desserts, alcohol, and carb-loaded snacks as daily occurrences.  They became treats.  I substituted fruit and vegetables, water and Crystal Light.  I can’t remember the last time I had a dessert, but I’d have one if I wanted to.  I’ve had wine a couple of days a week.  I have not gone hungry.  If I felt hungry, I ate something.  I just made sure it was healthy.

I’ve also moved more.  When I started school this week, I made sure I carried my phone with me wherever I went.  My phone is also my pedometer.  The first two days of school, I walked over 2 miles each day.  Yesterday, I didn’t get to that point, so I went for a walk when I got home.  My plan next week is to take clothes with me and go for a walk after school.  We have our academic evenings next week (3 in a row for me on T/W/Th) so I will be stuck at school until about 9 p.m. At the end of the school day, I plan to strike out on a walk, come back, shower in our lovely gym, change into nice clothes and be all refreshed for parents.  This is going to be my biggest struggle, keeping up the exercise when life gets busy.  But, now that I’ve made it a habit, I actually look forward to it.  It feels good to be outside in the fresh air.

Achieving a long term goal like losing weight, writing a book (or a dissertation), or reaching a savings goal takes some work, but mostly it takes patience, and small changes that lead to big things.  When I was writing my dissertation, I either set a page goal or a time goal.  I aimed for a single page or two or I wrote for an hour.  Doing that every day got me to almost 200 pages.  I think people look at a big goal and don’t think about the little steps it might take to get there.  They think it has to get done now!  They underestimate the time it might take, or they don’t, and are discouraged by the time it takes.  Maybe if I was someone whose eating habits weren’t already pretty good, losing weight would have been harder.  But still, I think you could take it one step at a time.  Start by not drinking soda, for example.  Then worry about the french fries.

I’m working on a couple of other long term goals right now.  They’re a bit harder, but making this much progress on the weight loss goal has made me feel like I can achieve other goals.