Driving around Massachusetts the past couple of days, electronic signage along major highways now alternates between “FINISH THE JOB” and “GO PATS.” This is a play on Patriots Coach Belichick’s “Do your job” mantra that is now branded on Patriots hats.
It struck me that when people set up health goals to achieve their desired state of well-being, many do not finish/they drop off along the way.
Part of what can help stay the course is in crafting goals in a way that excite and motivate you, and recognizing progress along the way.
To set yourself up for the best possible success, start with the end in mind. Let’s look at weight loss, specifically.
The common approach is to begin with deciding how much you want to weigh and/or what size clothes you want to be able to wear. Examples like these are outcome goals. They define what you want to attain, with no other descriptive information surrounding them. For many people, this is enough to get them going, but not enough to sustain them through the inevitable obstacles they may encounter along the way.
In addition to the outcome goal, create behavioral goals. Again, with respect to weight, focus on something bigger than the scale. What will attaining a certain weight allow for you? What aspects of abundance, growth, positivity and/or feeling expansive do you expect to experience when you arrive at this weight?
Here are some categories and a few ideas in each to get you thinking:
- No heartburn
- Improved digestion
- Reduced/eliminated mood swings
- Improved self-esteem
- Improved confidence
- Reduced/eliminated cravings of food that makes you less healthy
- You respond in a more productive way to stress
- You think more clearly
- You have better focus and concentration
- You’re operating in a more conscious and deliberate way, more often than not
- You have more energy to do the things you love (e.g., play with kids, sports, socialize)
- Your energy levels are consistently high
- You have new cooking skills
- You have new healthy habits to role model for your children
- You have more knowledge about nutrition
- You’re taking on other challenges
Treat these as a starting point – there are likely tens of hundreds more possibilities out there. Choose those that excite and inspire you.
Also, embrace the notion that weight loss is a process. That path include fits and starts and is not necessarily linear. As you go through the process, put the focus on what’s going well. You could even document these Non-Scale Victories daily or weekly as you progress, to recognize meaningful change as you move through your journey.
Applying this approach will not only improve your chances of finishing the job, but that You finish STRONG.