Many people spend considerable time, money, and energy searching for “secrets” and cure-alls when it comes to their health and fitness. As with most endeavors, success in this area is found in consistent, positive action.
Successful people – in this case, healthy and fit – have developed habits that support their lifestyle. Just as the successful basketball player practices dribbling and shooting every day, healthy individuals practice exercise and eating nutritious foods every day.
Success is first a study, and then a practice.
We call these particular habits part of “process goals.” Process goals are the behaviors that, when repeated consistently, produce outcome goals.
Outcome goal = specific result
An outcome goal would be to lose 10 pounds in the next two months.
Specific. Measurable. Within a certain time-frame.
Another example would be to deadlift 225 pounds by July 1st.
A specific and measurable result at a predetermined time.
How do we go about achieving these outcome goals?
Through a process.
In our first example of losing ten pounds in two months, the process goals – aka behaviors – might include eliminating pop from our diet and exercising 5 hours per week. These are two behaviors we can measure, and when followed could help us get to the outcome we desire.
This is the day to day stuff right here. Tomorrow morning you won’t wake up and be 10 pounds lighter than you are today (I’m assuming you aren’t drastically sick or cutting weight for an MMA fight). BUT…you can control whether you drink pop today and if you get a good workout in before or after work.
We have complete control over the process. We can’t control the exact outcome, but by measuring where we started and where we’re at, we can adjust course accordingly.
So where does this planning and preparing come into play?
First: take the time to determine exactly what it is you want to achieve. Be honest with yourself. These goals need to be meaningful to you and not just some superficial wish that conforms to a societal norm.
Second: once you have established a specific outcome and a reasonable time-frame in which to achieve it, determine what behaviors you need to adopt to take you in the right direction. Start small here, even just 1-3 actionable habits that support your desired outcome. This is where “success leaves clues.” Look at what others have done who are doing or have achieved what you want to. Take note and do what those people do.
Third: start today. Don’t hesitate in making the change you want to see in yourself. Make it EASY to succeed by developing your game plan and sticking to that game plan. This is where the magic of preparation shows itself.
For me, mornings come very early. Coaching clients and getting a jump-start on my day requires some pre-dawn time.
I am NOT a natural early bird (ask my family and friends lol), so by preparing the night before I can hop out of bed and get into the rhythm of the day with little to no thought. This is crucial for me.
Don’t overestimate your will-power and ability to make decisions when it comes to new habits and disciplines. Tired? It’s really easy to hit that snooze button. Up late? I’ll just hit the gym after work, and start my morning habit tomorrow. No clean workout clothes? I’ll just go back to bed and do some laundry later. Not prepared for the morning? This is where I scurry around super-stressed just to get to the gym on time.
Make it easy to stick to your newly found habits!
Personally, a full water bottle in the fridge and clothes set out on the night stand are a must before retiring for the night. Presto! I can go into auto-pilot when my alarm goes off and begin my day stress-free (there’ll be plenty of that later, so don’t start the day with any extra).
How can you apply this to your life?
Take a look at some of your goals for the year. Maybe the resolutions haven’t been perfect these last few months, but are you closer to your goals than when you started? If so…high five! If not, or there’s still a lot of progress to make, come up with a few, simple process goals and start them today. Tomorrow…another high five! The small steps taken every day will add up I assure you.
To do for today:
- Set some goals (or just one if you’re easily overwhelmed) and give them a deadline
- Determine the behavior(s) of someone who will achieve those goals
- Start today and keep track of those behaviors (control what you can control)
- Prepare yourself ahead of time to make sticking to your plan a simple and hopefully painless activity
I’m hoping these little strategies and ways of thinking are benefiting you.
They have me, and that is why I share them.
Feel free to pass along to anyone you may know who could benefit from them, and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or stories of your own successful health habits!
Stronger than yesterday,