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As someone who leads weight loss meetings, my primary stunmbling block is that I often unconsciously infuse my own agenda into the proceedings. To be sure, there are specific guidelines about running meetings that I follow, and I always embrace the topics and strategies that are suggested by the experts at HQ. But I’m not a robot or a parrot. I do and say things that are about me and my life, whether I mean to or not.
For the past four or five months, for example, as I have struggled (somewhat unsuccessfully) to get my own weight management house in order, I have repeatedly emphasized in meetings the need to set mini-goals that are, as I put it, “Simple. Easy. Realistic.”
What I mean is that any mini-goal should be stated in its simplest possible form. It should also be a goal that doesn’t require multiple steps (and is therefor “easy”). And it should be a goal that feels do-able.
The reason I’m promoting this kind of goal, unfortunately, is not so altruistic. Sure, I want people to be successful. But the reality is that I’m not doing so great at setting and achieving my own goals these days. So rather than pushing people to set “stretch” goals that move them outside their own comfort zones, I’m suggesting that people really focus on baby steps. Again and again, I’m emphasizing that we need to “think small” and move forward cautiously.
But I can’t say honestly whether everyone who attends my meetings really needs only baby steps. Maybe baby steps are limiting. Maybe they confine people to a small box that they can’t step out of. Perhaps what people need to do in order to achieve lasting change is to really push the envelope and go where they’ve never gone before. What if too much caution is a bad thing?
I fear that my mini-goal mantra may be doing folks a disservice.
I’ll work on changing this in March. I might even dedicate a meeting to the different value of both mini-goals and stretch goals. I’ll let the meeting members parse it out. I can see a good discussion as people explore what it is that’s most likely to motivate them to make lasting changes.
And that’s an easy enough goal.