Is Your Goal Right for You?

I set goals each year, and although I don’t type them all out for readers (to both not bore you to tears, and to keep some privacy), I do share some of those goals (like the number of books I aim to read each year: 150).

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Slowly but surely, I’m hitting a few of my health goals for 2013.Ā One of my goals this year was to try eating Paleo for a month (no grains, dairy, legumes or sugar). Although I didn’t have a great experience, I’m very glad I did it, and do hope it to try it again in the future, providing I get some guidance on how on earth to get my energy levels above zero while doing it;)

Another one of my health goals this year was about making sure I drank enough water each day. Yes, it sounds simple, and it is.

Or that’s what I thought.

As soon as I wrote down: “drink the right amount of water” onto my 2013 goals list, however, I stepped into a quagmire.

It turns out, you see, that there is aĀ ton of conflicting advice online about how much water you should drink each day. Do you really need to drink half your weight in water? Or is it more like 8 8-oz glasses of water (which may be more or less than that, depending on your weight)? Does it really have to be all water? Or can tea and juice count? Can milk even be considered part of that number?

Twenty minutes of me, online, trying to figure out how much water I needed to drink, and I wanted to chuck the whole goal entirely.

This is ridiculous, I thought.

I’m ridiculous, I thought.

Who cares? I wailed.

Me, apparently. (Because who else spends 20 minutes cross-checking strangers responding to Yahoo Answer queries from 2009 as a means to determine anything about their health, really?)

Here’s the thing: I never figured out the right answer. Today, I don’t pretend to know the real answer, the “right” answer, or even if there is a right answer. Instead, I just plowed ahead and picked a number.

The goal I set (64 ounces a day, or 2 full-size Nalgene bottles of water), might be “right”. It might be wrong. But it’s just what I chose. (And it happens to be exceedingly easy to remember, with my Nalgene in hand.) It also happens to not be a goal that destined to hurt me.

Sometimes, we’re not always sure about the goals we set at the beginning of the year. Are they “right”? Are they wrong? Should they be different? If they aren’t going to hurt you (drinking water shouldn’t hurt me, I hear), then just try them. If they don’t work, you can always change course.

Have you ever set any goals for yourself you weren’t entirely sure about? Any goals that you weren’t convinced were actually good goals for you to be pursuing? Did you stick to them? Or change course?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “Is Your Goal Right for You?

  1. It is a goal of mine to drink more water, too! Two Nalgenes is what I went with as well. I wouldn’t say I’ve been successful (my tendency is to forget to drink during busy times…when I need it the most), but I did discover the app Waterlogged, which helps. It makes it really easy to track literally every single sip of water you drink in a day and the daily reminder is nice. (Also, if you have a Fitbit, I think you can link it to that.) You might want to give it a try if you’re not overloaded with tracker apps already. šŸ™‚

  2. It has been mentioned on a number of occasions that people needs to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. However, although drinking water is healthy and good for us, have you heard that it is possible to drink too much water? It leads to water intoxication. Moderation is key, and as long as one spreads his or her water intake over the course of a full day, things will be alright. šŸ˜‰

  3. Oh, and the water drama doesn’t end there! It can actually be very bad for you to drink too much water (how much is too much? no one seems to know). The best suggestion I ever heard was from a doctor who said that your body is designed to meet its needs. When it needs water, it makes you feel thirsty, and as long as you’re drinking some liquid whenever you feel thirsty, you’re getting the right amount of water. So I made that one of my goals: Drink water (or something healthy) whenever I’m thirsty. It’s actually pretty tough to do, especially when my water bottle is empty and the sink is SO FAR AWAY, but it’s also easy to measure. Plus, I’m paying more attention to my body, so bonus goal!

  4. Hi, Claire! This post encourages me, because I’ve been dwelling on a goal to reach a particular body fat percentage through an intense workout program I’ve been on for the past 4-5 months. Here’s the funny (I’m calling it funny so I don’t become anxious) part – my trainer suggested a much lower body fat percentage goal to me two weeks ago that shook my plan up. It dawned on me when he spoke that a number wouldn’t necessarily define whether I was truly healthy, and he and I are coming at the goal from rather different perspectives.

    I’ve been bothered by the discrepancy in values until just now. I read your post and I ditched the goal. Booted it to the curb. I’m choosing gratitude for the wakeup call and will make the new focus to successfully stick to this workout program for a full year and see what kind of results I get without fretting over a number. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


  5. hi Claire – interesting post as i myself determined that 2 Nalgene bottles were a good goal if i was taking supplements but only 1 if i was not (i probably go over and under on the 1 rule but found myself being more on point with the 2. as for goals being right for you, i decided this year that i would run a Half Marathon with my ultimate goal of running a full one. Well, after 13.1 miles of nyc fun and lots of pain i’m rethinking the 26.2 goal. I did learn that if i do decide to move to the full there’s much i still need to learn in terms of proper form, sneakers, knee pain, pace, and many more things i took for granted. it’s been 3 days since the half marathon and my left knee is sill swollen šŸ™

  6. Hey Claire. Really enjoyed your post. In my experience, I think you’re spot on in that we often get caught up in over-analyzing the “correctness” of a goal instead of the utility of setting it. I have to catch myself when setting goals to make sure they’re ambitiousness enough to be difficult to achieve, but realistic enough to be motivating.

    I also have to remind myself that goals can be adjusted, especially up if they’re easily achieved.

    Thanks for sharing your post. Will be posting to Twitter (@wiredimpact) later today.