Goal setting. It’s supposed to be one of the key stages in reaching your goals. And I mean, that does make sense, seeing as you don’t know if you’ve reached your goal if you haven’t actually defined what it is.
You sit down, find a quiet space, make sure you’re alone and are able to focus.
Then you start to dig in. You think about who you want to be and how you want to be. The things you want in your life and the things you don’t.
You dig into your deeper reasons for wanting all of these things so that you have that emotional drive towards the goal.
You set timelines, milestones, and rewards for reaching each one.
Then all you need to do is put the work in, pass the milestones, and reach the goal!
But then what happens? What happens once you reach the goal?
If the goal is to complete an event like a marathon, you’re probably not going to run another marathon the next day.
But if your goal is fat loss, and you reach the goal of losing two dress sizes, you’re probably going to still want to be that dress size the next day. And the day after. And the day after that.
This is where it’s important to recognise the different types of goals, and how we can’t look at them in the same way.
Event Vs. Lifestyle
An Event Goal is something that you want to DO.
Like running a marathon, or having a baby, or getting a McFlurry.
(I love McFlurries.)
You work towards the goal, and you do it.
Once you’ve run the marathon you don’t just keep running. You stop at the finish line.
Once you’ve birthed a baby you don’t just keep popping them out like hankies from a magicians slee- you know what, that’s a bad analogy.
And once you’ve had a McFlurry you don’t just keep eating forever.
With Event Goals you complete the goal, and move on to another one.
A Lifestyle Goal is some way that you want to BE.
Like a size 10, or free from diabetes, or fit enough to run a 5k at a moments notice.
Once you reach size 10, you want to keep being size 10.
Once you’re free from diabetes, you want to stay free from diabetes.
Once you’re fit enough to run a 5k at a moments notice, you want stay able to run a 5k at a moments notice.
With Lifestyle Goals you reach the goal, then stay there.
Don’t Confuse One For The Other
Often we seem to treat Lifestyle Goals as Event Goals.
I read a shocking statistic the other day. Apparently, 95% of all people who lose weight put it back on.
That’s hard to digest. But if you just think about the people around you, it’s probably true isn’t it?
I wonder if thinking about Lifestyle Goals as Event Goals could be part of the reason why.
To reach either type of goal, you have to take action towards them. Let’s compare running a marathon as an Event and being able to run 5k anytime as a Lifestyle.
For both, you need to run a few times throughout the week to reach the goal.
For both, you need to up the distance or time you run for each week as your fitness improves.
Once you’ve completed the Event Goal of the marathon, you can stop running every week. But once you’ve reachedthe Lifestyle Goal and you can run the 5k, you have to keep running every week to be able to run 5k anytime.
Once you’ve completed an Event Goal, you can stop doing the things that got you there.
But once you’ve reached a Lifestyle Goal, you have to keep doing the things that got you there. If you want to stay there, that is.
Once you reach size 10, you have to keep eating and working out the way you have been the past few months if you want to stay as a size 10.
Once your diabetes has gone into remission, again you have to keep as active as you have been and eating the way you have if you want to stay rid of diabetes.
Actions determine results.
You take positive action to reach any goal.
If, after you’ve reached your Lifestyle Goal, you let your daily actions slide back to the way they were before, your results will slide back too. In that case, you’ve treated your Lifestyle Goal as an Event Goal.
One great way to keep those daily actions up is to make them fun for you to do.
Celebrate Your Actions
In goal setting, there’s a big focus on celebrating when you reach the goal. Rewarding yourself in some way.
If you’re working on a Lifestyle Goal, though, it’s so important to celebrate the actions that get you there. Because they’re the things you need to keep on doing to keep the result.
Every time you take a positive action, take a moment to recognise it. Smile and be proud of yourself. Give yourself a little “woo!” and jump in the air.
Positive actions are like people. If you don’t show them you appreciate them, they’ll go away.
But if you do, they’ll happily come back again.
Celebrate your positive actions if you want to maintain your Lifestyle Goal.
Which Are You Focusing On?
What are you working towards right now? Or at least, planning to start working on soon?
Is it a Lifestyle Goal or an Event Goal? And have you identified the difference?
Make sure you’re not treating one like the other otherwise you’re just going to slide right on back.