If you ever get frustrated or discouraged by the weight loss goals you set…this article is for you.
I mean it SUCKS when you are doing all the right things and the scale doesn't move. Or worse, it goes up.
So, if you're setting goals and find yourself getting frustrated or discouraged by the results of the scale, try this instead…
Set TWO types of goals: outcome goals and behavioral goals.
What is the difference between the two?
Outcome goals are usually where our brains go first. An outcome goal would be:
- I will lose 30 pounds
- I will fit into my favorite pair of pants
- I will add 5 pounds of muscle to my body
Outcome goals are fine, they just have their limits.
- We cannot control them. Even if you feel like you did ALL the right things, if the scale doesn't move, well, it doesn't move. We cannot control that.
- They're not actionable. When you set an outcome goal, where do you start? A goal of lose 20# leaves you with the question, "how?"
- If we ONLY set outcome goals, they can leave us frustrated when we do not achieve them.
- We get attached to outcome goals. If you had an outcome goal to lose 50 pounds, and had already lost 45 pounds, that last 5 pounds would likely drive you crazy. We get blinded to all the success we had because we haven't achieved this arbitrary goal that we made up when we began the journey.
Outcome goals are useful, but only when paired with behavioral goals.
Behavioral goals bring a different story. A behavioral goal would be:
- I will go to the gym 3 times this week
- I will eat 5 vegetables every day this week
- I will walk for 20 minutes 5 times this week
- I will ride my bike to work every day this week
- I will drink 64 ounces of water today
- I will eat breakfast each morning
Behavioral goals pick up the slack that outcome goals leave.
- We CAN control these. We have full power over the behavioral goals we set and follow through on.
- They are actionable. It's very clear what has to happen to achieve your behavioral goal.
- If we don't hit an outcome goal, but have been making progress on your behavioral goals, we can see the small wins and successes we HAVE had. Even if the outcome goal has not reflected this.
- Behavioral goals are not about the result. They're about doing what's best for YOU. They allow us to be less attached to an arbitrary result.
What do from here:
Set BOTH types of goals. By setting outcome and behavioral goals, you create a path for actionable change.
While I just beat up on outcome goals, they're still necessary to set. They help give us a vision of what we're after.
Set an outcome goal. Then, set behavioral goals that will bring you closer to your outcome goal.
This creates a clearer, less ambiguous path towards change.
The behavioral goals you set should be SMALL. Very small. The smaller they are, the more likely you are to do them. The more likely you are to do them, the more likely you will be to continue doing them.
Build on your small behavioral goals with slightly more ambitious goals.
Of course, as we hit more behavioral goal milestones, the "uncontrollable" outcome goals tend to start moving in the direction we want…
Hope this little shift in how you think about and set goals is useful to some of you.
Are you ready to achieve amazing results?
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