How To Achieve Your Weight Goals, Without Setting Any Goals!
“Goal setting” works horribly for us humans. There, we said it.
Currently, there are 8115 books if you search for “Goal Setting” on Amazon!
Because “Goal Setting” fails for 99% of all people.
And whatever fails… Sells!
Just like the diet and weight loss pill industry, when one thing fails, people move on to the next solution, ultimately buying all they can on the way!
Anyway, the point is –
Setting goals and achieving them fails for most of us.
We set an ambitious goal because we want to improve our life in some way, sure.
And ironically the only thing that we end up is constant disappointment of not reaching the goal.
Say, your goal is to weigh 60 kilos someday and you weigh around 80 right now. You will set steps of losing 2 kilos a week, but fail miserably even if you are losing a kilo a week.
Progress apparently doesn’t matter. Neither do results. Just achieving the goal matters.
And what happens?
We get obsessed with the ‘end DESTINATION’ point and forget the churning journey that we need to complete to attain the destination point.
We ignore the day-to-day (know something called as “life”?), because only the goal matters—that one event in space and time where and when we can say, “Yayy! I made it!”
What a joke.
I performed an experiment:
My own perfectionism and striving for achievement was making me sick, physically and mentally.
In my mid-twenties I had some experiences resembling to panic attacks and anxiety (almost constantly) because of my self-imposed pressure to “achieve my goals,” and I finally realized a profound truth:
It’s better to enjoy life.
And it’s better to enjoy life without stress and anxiety so bad you want to jump in front of a bus to make it stop.
And you know the fastest way to do that?
The fastest path to happiness is to stop setting goals and focusing all your time on them.
Now, hang on just a minute.
You’re probably thinking…
“Don’t set goals?! Seriously? How am I supposed to achieve anything in my life? Don’t all motivation speakers stress on setting big goals that would motivate me?”
We’ll talk about this in just a second, but here’s what happened when I stopped setting and tracking goals (and tracked another metric instead).
You be the judge of the results.
- I had zero stress or anxiety each day. Zero!
- I was never in rush anymore. I was never overwhelmed. I never had deadlines, so I never had that time crunch pit in my stomach.
- I sat back, relaxed. And finally started to enjoy life again.
- Amusingly, I achieved more progress towards my goals in the next year (when I didn’t have specific goals) than I had in the past five (when I had set serious goals).
For those of you who are constantly overwhelmed, stressed to the point of explosion, who have no idea what “quality of life” even means, you’ll really, really appreciate this.
If you wake up and life is Monday, then suddenly it’s Saturday, every single week for years and decades, then you’ll really appreciate this even more.
Now here’s the biggest problem with goal setting…
The problem is that the stress, anxiety, perfectionism, and self-pressure prevent the most important motive behind goal setting:
Growth and learning.
And ironically, once I removed the reason for stress, I grew, applied, and learned much quicker than ever before.
This flies in the face of most of what we know about “goal setting,” which is an extremely western, logic based idea.
Set a S.M.A.R.T. goal and achieve it, right?
Look at New Year resolutions all around you for proof. Dozens of people around you, including you, every single year making resolutions they don’t keep.
Apparently, we don’t really taste our own medicine, because we keep doing the same thing.
Only 8% even get remotely close to their goal.
And the other 92%? We “fail.”
What’s worse? We internalize and generalize the failure.
“Every single year I fail to achieve my goals” is the story in our head, which then goes on to become a full-blown back-story of our life: “I always fail to achieve my goals.”
And that’s when it becomes scary, because that’s when we stop trying and fall into that pit of helplessness where we don’t even bother trying anymore.
Goals create black or white space in our thinking, when in reality almost nothing is black or white.
Goals say, “You either achieved this or you did not, and you can’t relax until you’re there.”
Partly, that’s what makes them effective, yes. You either work hard until you’re there, or you don’t.
And that’s great for motivational TED talks, but for most of us, it just isn’t realistic. It does more harm than it does good.
Drop the goals, and the story quiets down. You can start and stop as many times as you want, and keep making incremental progress without losing your sanity or self-esteem.
We are going to introduce you to a system, shortly, for both having goals and not letting your happiness and very existence hinge on whether or not you’re “there” yet.
Succeeding Without Goals Makes Life Awesome and Less Stressful
So if you have no goals, then what do you focus on? How do you achieve anything or make any progress?
Well the first thing we all need to re-learn is to focus on what you are doing NOW, TODAY, and not on the end result. Say, the weight you want to be at…
So for example, the only deadline would be “you have to work on this one thing for one hour a day,” but there would be no “get X done in Y time” style office like deadlines.
We all need something that you can actually track each day, so instead of tracking progress towards the goal —the end result), you will just track your input.
You just track what you do each day, which habits you complete each day.
So the entire approach literally flips itself 180 degrees.
Here’s what it looks like:
Old Way of Goal Setting: You decide to lose 10 kgs.
And the thoughts in your head go something like this…
“I want to lose 10 kgs, and I’ve only lost 1 and half kgs so far… I have almost 8-9 more kgs to go, so I’m going to be a ridiculous ball of stress and anxiety until I’m there. I can’t relax until I’ve reached there.”
The problem here is: Your line of thinking is along the future, not along the present. You are thinking “Oh god, why have I lost only 1 kg this whole month? This is really bad. It’s not working, and it’s not working fast enough, I’m never going to get there, I hate this whole diet thing man…”
Now, on the other hand… with the…
New Way of Goal Setting: You decide to lose 10 kgs.
And the new thoughts in your head go like this…
“This week I did 5 out of 5 habits I said I would to get myself there. Great!”
So what you do here is just focus on that single day, and you only focus on whatever daily habits you set for yourself for that week, and then at the end of the week you tally them up.
So on Monday you ask yourself: Did I drink five glasses of water, eat a whole fruit and go to sleep thirty minutes earlier? Yes! Check.
Tuesday, again: Did I drink five glasses of water, eat a whole fruit and go to sleep thirty minutes earlier? Yep! Check.
Wednesday: Did I drink five glasses of water, eat a whole fruit and go to sleep thirty minutes earlier? No! You can draw a sad face on this day.
So you stuck with it for 3 out 7 days or statistically, around 43%.
So now you know—in real time—just where you will be a year from now.
If you did 43% of your daily habits, you will only be 43% of your goal at the end of the year.
Are you seeing the difference?
The first typical goal setting method creates stress and anxiety and ends with disappointment. It introduces the pressure to reach your destination on time. It focuses on the gap—where you are right now versus where you want to be.
The second one creates positivity. It emphasizes what’s working right now. It emphasizes the present effort you are putting in.
And here’s the most amazing thing: on both these methods, you will be making equal progress.
It’s just a matter of how you view it.
If you conquer one day at a time, not only would you reach your goals faster than ever before, you would do it without stress, anxiety, disappointment, guilt and self-hatred.
So here’s what you need to know.
First, despite all this you should set the goal and make it a huge one. Make it big, make it unrealistic, and make it incredible.
You want to lose about 7-8kgs, make the goal 10 kgs!
We talked about this earlier, because the very act of setting a large goal requires you to think differently than you ever have before in life, which is where the biggest inspiration comes from.
Setting huge goals also inspires you, much more than saying “I’ll lose a few kgs this year.”
Second, you should have that goal on paper and you should see it and read it each day.
Then, forget it.
Here’s what you do instead to track your progress towards it, day by day.
Think about which habits are going to get you there (pick just a few).
Track the daily habits.
And then do a weekly review.
This simple method works way better than setting goals, and best of all, it doesn’t kill you trying to achieve them.
Is this stuff starting to make sense?
When you focus on the goal, you are actually focusing on what you lack, like “I’m only at 10% of my goal, I have 90% to go”, whereas with the new method, you focus only on the day… “I did 3 of the 3 things I said I would to push myself forward”.
Remember, the more you think about the outcome, the more you ruin the present, because you get sucked into the drama of past and future.
So the fastest path to getting to where you want to be, health and weight wise and even life-wise is simple: track the daily habits that will get you there, and make sure you do them every day.
This is how you bypass willpower and motivation, and this is how you bypass the stress of goal setting and achievement…
And coincidentally, this is also how you get to your goal much faster.
If you said you’d eat home cooked food each day as a habit, did you do it?
How many days this week?
That… is the fastest path to getting to where you want to be.
If you want to actually enjoy your life, and not kill yourself in the process, this is the way to get there stress-free.