Sunday, March 20, 2011

setting goals more mindfully

After a weekend of fun, it's time to get back to working and school. While reading through some news articles, I found an article detailing nine things that successful people do differently than unsuccessful people. I won't address each thing, but the following stood out to me:

-Focus On Getting Better Rather Than Being Good: This stuck out to me because it echoed what I had in mind when starting this blog. For so long, I've tried holding myself to impossible standards (working out every day, eating healthy foods all the time), which invariably ended up in frustration and feeling like a failure. Thus, I wanted to change my mindset... instead of focusing on never doing something wrong again, I'm focusing on doing a little bit better each time. And this works for me! For instance, when I go out to eat, I don't force myself to only look at the "healthy" options, since I know that will make me feel like I'm depriving myself. Instead, I focus on making some part of my meal healthier. (Thus, a cheeseburger with a side of fresh veggies, or half a wrap with a salad.) Slowly but surely, I'm eating better, and I'm not worried about "falling off the wagon" because I'm not focused on avoiding everything that's not strictly "healthy." 

[Side-note: something that has really helped change how I eat out is something I read on Julie's blog-- Julie often splits an entree with her husband, in favor of then also splitting some appetizers and/or dessert. Over the weekend, J and I split a couple different meals, and were both surprised to find that when we do this, we eat a lot less (and don't end up leaving the restaurant feeling so stuffed) and we get to try all sorts of cool things together! At one restaurant, we shared bruschetta, caprese salad and french onion soup, and at another, we had green beans, peanut noodles, potstickers, and salmon rolls-- all appetizers-- and left feeling happily satisfied!]

Back to the article! 
-Focus On What You Will Do, Not What You Won't Do... this goes hand in hand with the idea of focusing on doing better. I have often prevented progress by focusing solely on what I can't do. If I "banned" cheese, I seemed to only be able to think about all the cheese I couldn't have. If I told myself that I shouldn't spend any money, I would feel a compulsive need to go buy things... and find a way to "justify" every penny. However, when my goals have been to include something, like eating more vegetables, drinking more water, or reading more, I have found it to be much easier to stick to what I want to do. 
(And yes, I realize that my earlier post about cutting TV contradicts this notion... I have been trying to focus on including things that I want to do instead of watching TV. Like reading. And running. And catching up with some friends.)

Long story short: My goals become attainable when a) they are positive (inclusive) rather than negative, and b) when the focus is on doing better, not doing anything perfectly. 

this week I want to eat more vegetables, drink more water, and get more exercise. :)

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