Welcome back to The Balanced Dietitian Podcast! Welcome, 2023! I hope you had a wonderful holiday in general and here we are in 2023. How do we feel? There are so many parts of me pulling when I am thinking about a new year. I love the new year, goal setting, reflection, and new year vibes. There is also a part of me that hates how diet culture gets involved in goal setting and the unrealistic expectations that we put on ourselves for the year.
Today I want to talk about goal setting but I want to do it differently. I really want to talk about what can be helpful and what is unhelpful and try to detach that from what we have been taught and what diet culture has taught us. A lot of us have been taught to set goals and motivate ourselves by shame.
[03:10] Value-aligned goal setting and experience goals
We want to set goals and be motivated by value-aligned goal setting and not shame. We don’t need to shame ourselves into getting there. Something that I have really been leaning into in the last couple of years is experience goals. I no longer set external metrics for goals, but instead, try to focus on how we want to be and live and experience this world. Goals are legit the best because it really helps us create this beautiful, intentional life.
[04:12] We are NOT setting weight loss goals
We are not setting weight loss goals. This is not the vibe this year. This is not what we want to do anymore. Let me explain to you why. The reason why setting weight body goals is damaging is that your weight is not a controllable metric. You don’t control your weight, we control our behaviors. Your body will do what your body needs to do. When we only focus on weight as the measure of success, we tend to get obsessive because our brain loves data and numbers. When we set these like weight goals, it’s almost like, we will do anything to achieve that. When we think about the long-term game of how we want this to play out, very rarely does having weight loss goals lead to long-term sustainability. For a lot of us, it leads a lot more to the disordered side of things.
[09:11] Set experience goals instead
What if instead of having weight loss goals we just had these experience goals? What if my goal is actually just to experience a night out with friends where I get to be there and connect with them? What if my goal is to buy a new pair of pants that I feel really good in and that feels so comfy on my body? What if instead of using weight as a gatekeeper, we actually bypassed this idea that you need to be a certain way to experience the life you want and actually just live the life that you want? What if you could switch out those body-related goals to hobbies, connections, and experiences, I would challenge you this year to really think about this.
[13:02] Things to consider when setting goals
For me, when I do goal setting, there are a few things that I take into consideration. One of them is my values. I think that’s really important. When our goals align with our values, it’s a lot easier for us to achieve those goals, because it feels a lot more connected. How I want to feel is also a big part for me, how I want to experience life, and how I want to show up. If you heard me talk last week about my reflection, I have three buckets that I like to focus on currently. They are love, work, and play and I love to set goals and all of these different buckets because to me, those are three things that are currently at the center of my life.
[16:13] Goals about feeling, experience, and value
All of my goals are all about feelings, experiences, and values. I don’t have any goals that relate to my performance or how I look. I really focus on the experience of life and living an intentional one. To me, it feels so much juicier, and so much better and there’s really no shame. I also know that I’m not going to be happy every day of the year and that doesn’t really matter. I’m a human. Having those goals and things that I put into my awareness is going to help me be able to make those things happen.