Good plan to lose weight

Goals versus growth, which is better for business and personal development?

Underlying this discussion is the principle of motivation. Goal-oriented people tend to be positively motivated (myself included). Our natural tendency is to name it and claim it.

We motivate sales teams, we inspire people to follow us and we have an attitude of aiming for the stars and reaching the moon.

Why do we have the attitude of setting big goals and settling for moderate achievement?

It is frankly a self-defence mechanism. We don't want to set ourselves up for disappointment, so rather than stop at “aim for the stars,” we add the insurance clause “and reach the moon.”

By doing that we cannot fail.

I was once mentored by a gentleman who was extremely successful, but claimed he was one of the biggest failures in the world.

He had never reached a goal he had set because he always set such audacious goals. The challenge comes when we continue to fail and our mental fortitude starts to suffer: 

  • We struggle with self doubt. 
  • Can I really do this?
  • Do I have what it takes?

For some it works. Actor/comedian Jim Carey being one of them. The story is told that he once claimed he would be a successful actor while sitting by the Hollywood sign. He wrote a cheque to himself for an exorbitant amount of money with a date and put it in his wallet.

The visual reminder drove him to keep seeking the prize and you probably know the end of the story — the contract and cheque arrived pretty much around the date he had originally written on his fake cheque.

But is there a better way?

Now that I am a little older and perhaps a tiny bit wiser, I would say that there is. Growth orientation in your personal life and business life is more sustainable, provides more opportunities for development and prevents stagnation.

I have written in the past that the problem with goals is they allow you to say to yourself “I have succeeded” and subsequently take a holiday. You plateau! A big mistake in my mind. You just quit as a leader. Sure, take a break, but don't read the headlines. 

In business, that plateau effect can be damaging to your business in this rapidly evolving business environment.

Growth orientation takes a different approach. It enables us to focus on improvements, to reward organizations for metrics other than a fiscal or “hard” goal. It allows us to recognize achievements in customer service or product development.

It is the type of focus that disappears with goal orientation where we are so focused on a fiscal objective that we are often willing to cut corners in other important areas.

On a personal level, we see the disappointment in goal orientation on or around Jan. 2, the day after we made a resolution to achieve something. 

One of the most popular resolutions is to get healthier, lose weight etc. So I tried an experiment this year.
I set an objective, a growth objective (kind of a negative growth objective really) to lose weight. I set the objective in October.

I chose October because waiting until Jan. 1 was already setting me up for failure.

I wanted to get healthier and part of that process was to reduce my weight after a hefty business travel schedule last year. 

I had a massive objective to find a way to healthily lose one pound each month. I had no end date. My growth objective was to continue to find ways to live more healthily and tune my body for more activity.

The results?

It is working.

I have found new ways to prepare food, new foods to eat, new training programs and I have consistently lost one pound per month.

At some point, I will feel I am at a level of optimal weight and health and I can review my growth objective. 

A goal orientation would have me look at losing 15 pounds before the end of this year. A large, audacious goal. I might have lost 10 pounds, but at some point I would have reached the moon and celebrated my success. The point of failure would have arrived.

My growth orientation has me researching different ways to eat, live, exercise. It becomes a sustainable lifestyle change that will endure beyond the weight loss phase. 

It makes sense, it adds value to my life and helps me feel the objective is a little easier to achieve.

Give it a try.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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