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Could Cutting Ties to Outcomes Help?

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

I have been sneaking up on goal setting this year but encountering strange resistance. In probing this (unusual for me) hesitation I am learning some unsettling aspects of myself. I often conduct quarterly and year-end reviews of aspirations, actions taken, and results obtained which then inform goal setting for the next block of time. This process had worked well for helping me focus on my priorities and to take steps in alignment with the goals I had set out. I went so far as mapping the year goals onto quarters, the quarters distributed onto months and the months onto the specifics of weeks and days. Less than perfect in execution, I often found myself significantly off course by the summer which then left me groping to make some vague progress toward the general goal statements but without the granular map to follow. I understood that the idea was to do the quarterly reviews and course correct at each juncture but I found myself stymied by the total lack of achieved results that were planned and desired. Does this suggest my goals were unreasonable? I don't think they were. They were SMART and attainable, in theory. The action steps were taken consistently and conscientiously for days, weeks, and months as planned. The predicted results just didn't show up as 'promised'. The issue then became that the next quarter was based on the premise of having achieved actual results in the preceding quarter and that's when the whole plan would begin to unravel. If the year plan was to go from A to B to C to D and yet each time I checked in I was still more or less stuck at A how should I continue?

This past year, surprisingly, I did see some actual progress:

until it came to a halt.

As the year came to a close, one goal stood out for me: finish the journey to normal BMI. But how? What action steps can I employ? The things that were working consistently most of the year suddenly weren't. It could be the total confusion on this is what is holding me back from setting a plan to paper but I'm not sure. Looking at the graph, it looks like I hit a brick wall; it feels like it too.

Back to the drawing board. Research on goal setting. Personality: Who do I have to be, think and act like to achieve my health goals? I scripted an identity statement that I want to internalize and own:
'I acknowledge my DM2 and take full responsibility for managing my blood sugars by controlling carbohydrate intake and committing to daily movement. I am accountable and conscientious in my choices, behavior and actions; what others choose to do is irrelevant.'

This I felt was needed as a reminder to myself when I want to pretend that I can consume whatever I want without regard to my DM2 reality. When I 'pretend', I am not behaving in a mature manner. When I 'rebel' that is the equivalent of a juvenile temper tantrum. I need to grow beyond these negative patterns and develop loving and kind coping skills that keep me aligned with my goals.

I resurrected a 'project journal' that I have used previously to map out daily action plans figuring a bit of structure can't hurt. Talk about raising my hackles! Red flags and air raid sirens would have been an appropriate soundtrack. WTH?

I realized that the reason I currently don't want to define goals much less commit them to paper is that if I do I will be obligated to take action on them. AND ? ? ? ? ? (this has not been a problem for me before; I am just stunned; flabbergasted; flummoxed)

When I pushed gently, out came a torrent:
> I don't want to HAVE TO be conscientious, obedient, chained to goals
> I Do want the outcomes but I don't want to HAVE TO do the work
> I am so tired of always having to be so careful, strict, and regimented
> When do I get to have fun? (Fun obviously being free of rules and constraints. Not reality)


The problem with basing goals on Outcomes is that lack of measureable, objective progress erodes trust in ourselves, and our abilities and efficacy, which then undermines our willingness to be accountable, consistent, and reliable in our efforts. In my particular case, this challenge to self-esteem, coupled with unemployment (loss of usefulness and autonomy) and an introverted nature (lack of assertiveness) has rendered me indecisive and impotent. I completely failed at boundary setting with DH when we had a priority setting conversation recently and now find myself attached to a list of tasks and deadlines that we 'agreed' on but that don't really take us where I want to go. Yes, I could ask to revisit this subject, but I don't have a better suggestion to offer. May as well do something.

Could cutting the ties to Outcomes help? Could setting process or improvement goals be more rewarding and successful (even if the outcomes remain elusive)? One would think being unemployed would give me more time for my own pursuits and self-care but so far that isn't happening. I may have to go to proverbial 'battle' to defend my rights and worthiness as an individual.

How do you dig yourself out of quicksand and start making progress? Throw me a rope will ya?

Peace and Care

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I related to so much of what you wrote about being sick of being regimented and wanting to have fun..with food! It's so tough and you have come so far. I have been so impressed with your progress and in awe of your willpower. I wish I had the answers or the magic spark of inspiration.
    34 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/29/2021 10:13:50 PM
    I empathize with you so much! I previously have disliked tracking my calories, because even though it is effective, I could only stand to be so "strict and regimented" for so long before internal resistance built up and I stopped tracking, and then eventually over months or years slid back into old eating habits. Recently, I've had an identity-shift: I need to accept that I'm a person who will need to track my calories every day for the rest of my life, because when I stop tracking, I've seen that I always eventually re-gain the weight that I lost.

    In one sense, it feels like a burden (to commit to such a daily "limitation"). But in another sense, it feels like a relief: I may have finally found the tool that will help me break the cycle of losing and re-gaining.

    Since having this realization, I'm trying to shift my focus to be process-based rather than outcomes-based. Essentially, my goal is to track every day, and to be less focused on the scale. Every day, I can control my tracking, whereas each day or week's weight results are much harder for me to control. I'm also planning out and giving myself monthly rewards for achieving daily tracking. I've got a 60+ daily tracking streak going, and I'm feeling much more positive about committing to this as a lifestyle.
    35 days ago
    i just told my self its all about hugs , happiness and Healthy living, I do what i love for goals, Like walking and hiking , I eat what is healthy 00percent of the time and what i like, I love to move my body, I love to eat salad. i dont love to much sugar or feeling overfull, I havent lost much this year but that is okay i do the right things and plus with covid and new ways its hard but I am happy , dont be to hard on you be happy and i bet the weight will come off easier,, Hugs
    36 days ago
    I use my Spark tracking reports, find a time when I was being successful, and look up my nutrition tracking and blogs for that time. I try to do what I was doing then, and it generally works for me. The reports point out to me what I'm doing differently that I might not have noticed because the changes were so gradual. emoticon
    36 days ago
    Maybe your body needs more time to adjust to its new normal!?!
    Also, you have lost a lot of weight this past year...practice maintenance until it feels .Ike it’s time to move on.
    Who am I to give anyone advice, tho?
    36 days ago
    First off congrats to you on such an amazing achievement. WTG! You have lost a lot of wt in the last year. Remember you aren’t the same body that started this journey. Maybe you need to change things up to shake things up & confuse your body a bit.
    36 days ago

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Respectfully, I really do believe that cutting ties to outcomes CAN help... it certainly helped me. While your goals (control BG, BMI, weight) are "SMART and attainable, in theory" you, my friend, are not a mathematical equation (and I'm not sure that your goals took into consideration all personal factors). These goals may be attainable, but they're not controllable, or manageable in a linear fashion... even if you did do everything perfectly, and no matter what conventional theories state (CICO is a myth). The experience of oh so many people supports this. My own experience supports this. Something to consider: just because something worked at one point in your life doesn't mean that it will/should continue in the same way.

    Secondly, and respectfully, you are much too hard on yourself. You are a human BEing, not a human DOing. Have you considered what might happen if you were simply kinder to yourself? Your comments, "when do I get to have fun" "I don't want to HAVE to..." suggests you need more kindness and care for yourself. I find it incredibly ironic that while you wish peace and care for others, you seem to expect very little of either for yourself. As someone who has not been paid for any of my efforts for over 20 years (and I'm just shy of 60), would you tell me that my value is somehow "less" than that of others? Why would you imply that this is the case for you now that you are unemployed? If anyone spoke to me the way you speak about/to yourself, I'd either curl up in a ball and try to disappear, or I'd come out swinging.

    Our reality manifests our subconscious thoughts, not our conscious plans. What we believe about ourselves and tell ourselves will always have a greater impact on our reality than will our goals.

    Here's how I dug myself out of the quicksand and started making progress:

    ...As for that need for fun (balance, really... sometimes FUN needs to come FIRST):
    ...and the whole idea that our observable reality manifests our subconscious:

    I wish for you, too, peace and care.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    P.S. I don't know where that R came from... just ignore it!

    37 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/27/2021 12:14:25 AM
    A system to regimented stops me in my tracks before I start because I'm afraid of failure. I need to remind myself to be kind to me. Hope this helps.
    37 days ago
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