While debating whether to go to the gym for a workout or outside for a run, I was looking at my goals for 2014. They are goals that I know I can reach, but something was missing, then it hit me…what actions will I take to achieve these goals. Many times we, myself included, make New Year’s Resolutions and Goals that are to broad and in the process of trying to reach these very broad goals, we do too much and ultimately fail. This applied to just about anything in life, but is particularly true of weight loss. In one shot we are going to do some type of cardio daily, lift weights 3-4 times a week, cut back our calories, go cold turkey on whatever food or beverage is our downfall, etc. Sound familiar. I know I can relate. These are great things to do, but when attempted all at once, not very sustainable and eventually will lead to failure. Dr. John Berardi has stated that studies show if you want to make one change in your life, you have an 85% change of success, change two or more things at once and chance of success drops to 35% and eventually zero.
So, while still debating what workout I am going to do, I’ve never been good at making quick decisions, I am going to share with you a way that you can set goals and actions and successfully achieve them. It’s an idea that was shared by a fellow trainer Chris Shugart at a conference I attended this past year. Yes, I actually learned something outside of exercise at a conference, go figure :). He referred to it as the goal snowball.
1) List five or six behaviors you need to improve or change to reach your goals. What do you need to be doing that you're not doing? What bad habits do you need to kick? What good habits do you need to instill?
2) List these things from easiest to hardest.
3) "Maintain" all your other goals and focus your attention on the first thing on your list (the easiest one.) Spend two weeks just focusing on achieving that goal so that it becomes a habit.
4) Once that change has been made and ingrained, move up to the next item on your list and focus your efforts there.
5) One by one, knock out these changes and/or goals.
For example: Maybe you sleep late. First goal might be to get up 30 minutes earlier every day. Second goal might be to go to the gym as soon as you wake up. Third goal may be to go to the gym four times a week instead of three. Fourth goal may be to make sure you always eat breakfast. Fifth goal? Reduce portion sizes at 3 out of 5 meals...and so on.
So in 8-10 weeks you're getting up earlier - never missing a workout, have done an extra ten workouts, and eaten breakfast everyday, while consuming less calories overall. These goals would "snowball" into a bigger overall effect with long-term success whereas trying to do all things at once would likely result in short term failure.
Weight loss is never easy…there is no easy fix, no instant gratification, so go easy on yourself and make your healthy changes, lifestyle changes. Make 2014 not about a new you, but a better YOU! And make it stick!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
ps: I have decided to....hmph...just when I thought I had decided.