Goals are good

Never underestimate the importance of setting goals.

I believe there’s no such thing as a goal that’s too small. Accomplishing a goal – any goal – can feel really rewarding. It gives you a sense of, “I can do this.”

Of course, the opposite is true as well. Failing to accomplish a goal can be really discouraging. That’s why I think that smaller goals that are easily accomplished have a definite purpose in everyday life.

Have you ever spent five minutes driving around a store parking lot waiting for someone to pull out of a space close to the door? Honestly, sometimes my goals are as small as, “Today I will park in the farthest parking spot from the door at the grocery store,” or, “Today I will avoid the Tim Horton’s drive-thru by taking the back way to work.” I failed at that last one just this morning, by the way.

Of course, I do have larger goals too – and they are big ones. I want to climb Mount Katahdin one day. I want to vacation someplace with sand and beaches, or maybe take a cruise, without feeling the need to cover myself up with multiple layers of clothing to hide my fatness. I want to wear a real, form-fitting wedding dress when my husband and I renew our vows someday and I want to enjoy looking at the pictures after. I want to go to the doctor’s office and feel good about stepping on the scale. I want to buy something at Victoria’s Secret that actually fits me.

Every morning I wake up telling myself that this is the day when I will make positive, healthy changes in my life. This is the start of the new me. Today is the day when I will break old habits and change my ways.

If only it were that easy.

The sad fact of the matter is that most nights I go to bed reassuring myself, “Tomorrow is another day.” You can start over; put today’s mistakes behind you.

Failure is a part of life, and how we learn to deal with it determines how successful we will be in our future endeavors, whether it be to lose 50 pounds, or to find a job that makes us happier. We can apply the principle almost anywhere.

If I’m being honest, and when I started writing this column I promised I would be – even if it hurts, sometimes I feel like the fat I carry on me is public evidence of my failures. My very own version of a scarlet letter. I feel like it tells the people around me that I ate a donut for breakfast and I spend more time on my couch than on my feet. Of course, it’s not as simple as that. I seldom eat donuts for breakfast, and I’m definitely not a couch potato. I also have, like many other fat people, a medical condition that contributes to my weight. But though it might contribute, it is not the sole cause. I do make unhealthy choices on a regular basis. And thus, I wear my fat embroidered on my body like Hester’s A to the breast of her gown as evidence to the world of my failure.

It’s hard to remain positive when I fail to reach my goals so often. It’s much easier to cave to the ensuing depression and just give up. But tomorrow is another day, and that’s why my goal today is to get over it.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of wiping the slate clean and starting over with new, achievable goals.

Something else that’s important is rewarding yourself for achieving goals with something more tangible than a feeling of accomplishment. Just make sure the reward is something healthier than chocolate. My personal favorite reward is shopping, but that’s a whole other issue for a whole other column.