24 July 2008

Is Realism in Goal Setting Necessary for Success in Weight Management?

Is realism in goal setting important or even necessary? I can’t count the number of times I’ve had well meaning people tell me to "Be Realistic”, and I can’t say how debilitating I feel those two words to be. In a sense, realism produces not only identification with, but also conformity to what is accepted and represented by society or our friends and family; and making that reality our own. It’s a think-inside-the-box concept which makes it difficult to set goals based on personal needs, desires, tastes, lifestyle etc., and can lead to choices which may not be a great fit for us.

I’m really more interested in what is believable for me, and when someone tells me to be realistic, especially about goals, I believe what they are really telling me is to do everything like everybody else. But you can’t set goals largely based on the outcomes of other people’s lives. While you can learn from what others have done, to me goals have to be set according to a person’s own standards and life situation.

For example, many have chosen Zero-Calorie/artificial sweetened beverages as a means of decreasing overall calories in the diet. But for me personally, if I were to set weight management goals and a plan for example, such beverages wouldn’t be a component, because I generally dislike artificial sweeteners.

Yes, they are accepted, act as a sugar alternative and calorie buster and some would say is a ‘realistic’ choice; but it’s not real for me. While realism would incline me to go with the masses, and incorporate such sweeteners in my weight management goal setting, my personal preferences would oblige me to step outside of the box. The focus could possibly be more on using and seeking products with alternative natural sweeteners like honey, agave, raw sugar, molasses etc., and finding natural substitutes for regular granulated sugar.

There is some necessity to be true to yourself when setting weight management or any other type of goals, and to set goals which are most relevant to you. When realism becomes a significant requirement in goal setting however, I believe that we become vulnerable to circumstance. To me that’s what happens with dieting, which still continues to be a multi-million dollar industry, despite the fact that so many don't succeed at it. A person stands to be a victim to this circumstance, but going on a diet to loose weight is still popular as it's considered the ‘realistic’ thing to do.

The greatest things which have been done, all of the conveniences we experience today like the phone or air travel, weren’t achieved by realistic people. In fact these were perhaps the most idealistic and original people out there. They prove that change and success needs some stepping away from cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all ‘realism’, being true to ourselves, and getting into forming our own personalized goals.



Right on! This is the way to think about it and you explain it so well. Excellent post.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

I LOVE this post! You speak the truth! Those artificial sweeteners may lessen your sugar intake, but the other things that they do to your body are not worth it. Things like agave, honey and stevia are natural and sweeteners. You are right - you have to think outside the box to do something extraordinary! :)

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