Change is hard, I don’t care who you are. Some folks are better than others, but change truly is a practice, especially when it comes to your fitness and dietary changes.
When I coach clients through setting their health and fitness goals, I stick to an easy formula. It consists of two 2 simple steps:
Step 1. Name your end goal.
This is otherwise known as the outcome that you want. Let’s use the standard example of wanting to lose 15lbs.
Step 2. Grab a piece of paper and write down three small behaviors that you can practice daily to help you get to your outcome goal.
Label them A, B and C. Using our example above, this might look like this:
A. Stick to your pre-made grocery list at the grocery store (instead of picking up extra things like chips or ice cream).
B. Eat breakfast at home every morning (instead of skipping it or eating out fast food or at a coffee shop).
C. Keep a water bottle at your desk or on your chair for easy drinking access to stay hydrated and curb hunger.
Notice how the end goal is named where the behavior goals are actually written down. This is key.
I usually ask my clients to take that piece of paper and stick it on their fridge. This way they can see it every day. Here is the kicker; I don’t write the end goal down on the paper at all!
Why do I coach this way?
Focusing on the end goal doesn’t tell us anything.
For example, if you were to focus on ‘Lose 15 lbs’, where do you even start? There are 1001 ways out there to drop 15lbs. Some ways work for one person and another way will work for you.
Seems like a whole lotta guess work if you ask me!
When someone achieves a 15lb weight drop, what they ultimately did was change some type of their behavior.
It could have been that they started to exercise 2x per week, or maybe they started using smaller plates at their meals. The behavior is going to look different for every individual, depending on their life and their daily choices or habits. For customized goal planning, click here.
Identifying the ABC’s of where change can be made for you is crucial for your success. It can’t be cookie cutter. It must be specific to you and your needs.
Notice how I said that these steps are simple, not easy.
Changing a habit takes time, commitment and energy. Focusing on more than one behavior change at once may be too much for some (It is for me).
Studies show that trying to focus on more than one habit at a time can jump our failure rate up to 85%!
I suggest starting small.
Identify and write down your three behaviors; then fold the paper over so you are only able to visually see ‘A’.
Focus on A for a couple of weeks, or until it feels like a new habit (Note: It will be a habit once it feels like you don’t need to put much effort into it anymore. Almost like brushing your teeth at night: It is a habit and you just do it as part of your routine).
Once this is achieved, you can then go ahead and unfold the page down to expose behavior labeled ‘B’.
Here is an easy template to follow:
- Identify your outcome goal. Is it losing X amount of weight? Wheeling for X amount of length or distance? Is it being able to complete your transfers with no shoulder pain? Identify it and be able to measure it.
- WRITE DOWN your behaviors. How are you going to get there? What are things that you can do to work towards that outcome goal? Label them A B and C.
- Fold the paper over and only show A. Hang it on your fridge or somewhere where you will see it every day as a reminder.
- Go a step further with customized goal setting and coaching here.
There you have it. Simple and straight forward goal setting in 2 steps.
Remember that we must set goals to challenge ourselves and become better. So grab that paper and pen out, and let’s start crushing goals!