How Setting Goals for the Week Made me a Better Person

Sometimes I set goals and then I forget about them, and never even take one tiny step toward reaching them. I can’t really explain this, but it just happens sometimes. On the other hand, sometimes I set goals and I have a one-track mind about reaching them (like that time I wrote 150 pages of my dissertation in a week). I’m constantly trying to figure out what makes a person be “ready” to work toward a goal—to have the determination to make it happen, even if it’s hard and involves effort. In fact, that’s what I was exploring in my dissertation research—how do people make something a priority?

What makes us eat veggies everyday? What makes us turn down the piece of cake or go to the gym or drink another glass of water?

There are actually answers to this—I could refer you to my dissertation to explore the theories about how behavior change happens (the health-belief model and all that). But, let’s just take a non-research look at it.

What needs to be present?

  • Belief that there is a need to change or valuable benefit to be had from changing (either to move away from one consequence or toward another)
  • Belief that the new “action” will actually lead to the desired results
  • Belief that one can perform the action consistently and effectively

One common thing that I see among my clients, students, and myself is that if the determination to do whatever it takes to “succeed” is not 100% there, the effort is half-assed or non-existent.

And sometimes, the time for changing just needs to be right. 

The pain of not changing has to outweigh the pain (effort) of changing…

In wellness coaching, there are all kinds of tools, like the “readiness ruler” to help people along the path toward change…and rather than call up cheesy things like that when I’m talking to people I just ask strategic questions to help a person figure it all out on their own. Coaches don’t tell people what to do—they help people figure out what they need/want to do (and obviously provide the resources/information when the person asks for it).

This past week, I decided I needed a little push in the direction of doing more yoga and using my sauna. I also have a bigger goal that I’m not telling you about yet, but I really am feeling the benefit of small goals right now. I set a small goal–to do yoga and go in the sauna everyday this week. Now, I can’t say I’ve succeeded yet, because there are two more days before the seven days are up. But, I’ve done both things for five days. And I enjoyed it. It made my week better. Now I have evidence I need to make it a bigger priority in my life on a regular basis (which doesn’t mean I’ll never slack off again either).

Another thing I do, in relation to veggies, is set food goals (note: I also made a goal to try 3 new veggie recipes this week and I haven’t made a single new one yet). I did use a unique ingredient in my salad to make it more interesting though.

When I pick a recipe or a new/exciting ingredient, it motivates me to eat more veggies…that’s my goal for the weekend, to use new ingredients and recipes, so I can make my veggie intake higher than the last couple days (and so I’m not bored).

Kumquats are cute little fruits, with a taste that is a cross between an orange and a lemon—you eat the whole thing, so the pith and peel add extra nutrients. They go great with avocados!

kumquats...they're little and tasty


Romaine + kumquats....after the pic I added a diced whole avocado and warm dressing---melted coconut oil and champagne vinegar.

So before lunch, I thought about having salad….and felt pretty unenthusiastic about it. Then I looked at what I could do that was different and fun….and it became a whole different story. It was really good too. It wasn’t a big deal, but it worked—and I think the small goals I set work in much the same way. It’s just a little push in the right direction. If I don’t make goals, I don’t do anything differently…if I do make goals, I inch in the direction I want to go (it may be slow, but it’s still progress!).

Now that I’ve done two yoga classes today, gone in the sauna, and gotten all my work done…oh, and watched last night’s episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, I’m going to relax and read a book. I don’t think I have any plans this weekend—crazy! I plan to get a lot accomplished (I hope I clean my car…), and I have to think about what goals I want to set for next week.

What have you added to your salads or menu lately to keep things interesting and to boost your motivation to eat healthy?

Do you set/reach goals? Do you have any goals for the coming week?

Any big weekend plans?

Happy #WineFriday!!!

17 thoughts on “How Setting Goals for the Week Made me a Better Person”

  1. congrats on your successful week lisa! (yes, we can say already that it is a success; weekends are different from weekdays!).
    i esp appreciate your list of three items for what needs to be present to accomplish goals. i LOVE setting goals, and i do reach them, most of the time. i tend to have everything from hourly/daily goals to yearly/long term goals. what a neat topic to have done your dissertation on!
    salads are the best – i haven’t done anything new lately – i usually have a protein, some veg including avacado, nuts, kraft lite salad dressing (!) – yum!
    happy weekend! we have monday off here, even!

  2. I love kumquats! My father used to buy them in season when I was growing up, so when I see them, I buy them. Yum. But I just pop them into my mouth. Nothing special.

    I do set “gentle” goals. I don’t get too upset if I don’t realize them. Although that nagging feeling does build up and pushes me to make them happen eventually!

    Tired of eating the same foods all the time, I decided to cook something I don’t normally have time to cook during the week. So, inspired by a magazine photo, last Sunday I made a seafood stiryfry, using shrimp and scallops plus Chinese cabbage, snow peas, ginger and other good things. I really enjoyed it and want to make this a trend. So…it’s a soft goal. Want to make it happen, but things get in the way. I can’t come down hard on myself.

    My “hard” goal for this weekend is to get my taxes done (Saturday), plus a few “must” errands/chores that are on the weekend “to do” list!


  3. I was in a bit of a rut a few weeks ago and decided that each day I would write “to-do” lists so that I felt like I was accomplishing something. To me, they are like mini-goals and even if I don’t get everything done, I can make it a goal for the next day. So yea, I guess I do like seeting goals! As for food? My blog helps me keep things fresh when I know I need a new recipe for it, etc. I’m currently righting up a meal plan for next week so I can go grocery shop! Might have to add kumquats!

  4. Oh, yes, I love To Do Lists too! It feels so good to cross things off 🙂 I highly recommend the kumquats…
    Good point too, I use the blog to stay motivated for food—if I never make anything new, I’ll run out of things to post about!

  5. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    I sometimes do that too, set goals and totally forget. Maybe they weren’t that important? My salads have been really blah lately. Almost just flat out unappealing. Hope you have a great weekend!

  6. Same here….I have a hard time focusing or relaxing when there is chaos around me…I’m trying to put off the cleaning till after I meet my yoga/sauna goal for today because I’m afraid if I do it in the other order I’ll never get to the yoga… Good luck on your cleaning goal (and I hope you have time for fun/relaxation too)!

  7. Your posts always really make me reflect back on how I can improve my day to day life! I do set goals big and small. My weekly goals are usually in the form of the to-do list I make for myself every Monday (I love checking things off).

    This weekend I am in level 2 of my pilates apparatus training. Completing all of my Pilates certifications so I can be a full reformer and apparatus instructor is my major goal for 2012. If all goes to plan, I should have all of my certifications done by April and hopefully finish all of my practical hours by the end of the summer! 🙂

  8. I am forever setting goals and not so great at sticking to them. But I think you’re totally right – when the time is right, you stick to goals and accomplish great things. Just have to keep trying!

  9. Yes, sometimes I try to read into it way too much…and it really
    just comes down to that I’m not ready yet or the time isn’t right! Then, try again 🙂
    On Sat 18/02/12 17:41 , “Disqus”

  10. Kumquats really are great all by themselves! 
    I like the idea of “gentle” goals… it seems like there’s less pressure involved…
    Good luck with your taxes and chores!

  11. I am new to reading your blog, and I am enjoying it.  I tried a new salad combination last week, and just posted it on my new blog (  I was delish!  I have salad for lunch a lot, so am always trying to mix things up to keep it interesting.  My goal for this weekend was to spend a lot of quality time with my son and hubband – checked that off with a fun, fabulous day today. 

  12. I totally agree with you .. you can set goals and nothing happens, and sometimes everything clicks and you go full-fledged into it.  I know that is me, when I make up my mind to do something, I will do it!  (I always thought it was my Irish stubborness?)  I’ve never had a kumquat, and never been able to find one! 

  13. I may have a little irish stubbornness myself 🙂
    Kumquats are not a local commodity for either of us! I only see them sometimes at one grocery store that has a big section of unique produce. If you ever do see them, I highly recommend trying them!

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