How to better stick to your fitness goals
It’s that time of year where the majority of people start giving up on their new year goals. Statistics show that at the end of the year 9.2% of Americans feel they did not achieve their New Year's Resolution. The reason most of us fail to is either due to us not having a goal in the first place, stating our goals as more of a wish and less as a commitment, or having a weak, ineffective system to achieve our goals....but that’s not you. You have a goal in mind that you are committed to achieve and when you follow these 6 Steps, you will join the few people who stick to and achieve their fitness goals.
6 Steps to achieving your fitness goals
- Write it, Feel it, Share it, Commit
- Reverse Engineer It
- What's the obstacle
- Reward Yourself
- Go tell someone
- share your successes
- Review and Repeat
1. Write it, Feel it, Share it, Commit
Write it down
People that write down their goals have over an 80% higher success rate of achieving them. Make sure that they are specific and measureable with a realistic timetable for completion. A goal of “I want to lose weight” is an example of a poorly defined goal. How do you know what your target is if you’re not aiming at anything specific? "I want to lose 25 lbs. by the summer (5 months)" is a better, realistic goal as it gives you an exact target to move towards and easier to create actionable steps to accomplish your desired outcome. From there you reverse engineer and execute.
Feel your goals deeply. What it will feel like once you’ve achieved it? Visualize your outcome, what you will enjoy by achieving it, how it will feel once you’ve achieved it, why you want it, and what’s the main the reason behind it. When you feel your goals fully realized, step into the visualizing process with all of your senses. What do you see? What do you touch, taste, hear and feel? Hold on to that feeling then turn the volume up. Increase the colors you see the sounds you here. Fully enjoy the experience of what your goals mean to you. This will increase your motivation and ignite you toward your highest impact action. With a strong enough “why” and connecting with it regularly, morning and night, you can ignite your motivation and sustain your efforts after the initial excitement of setting the goal wears off…and it will wear off. Expect it to. Until you’ve worked at strengthening the new action habits that produce the results you want.
Once you have your goal in mind; share it with someone you know that will support you in your efforts. Even better if you can find an accountability partner that you can meet with regularly, (once per week) to go over progress, challenges and to help accelerate your focus towards action
Commit to it
Most important, commit. There is a big difference between being interested in achieving a goal and being totally committed to do whatever it takes to accomplish your outcome. Commit to what you want, and sign a contract with yourself, I will achieve xxx by xxxx then reverse engineer your outcome and make 3 action steps to overcome what’s holding you back.
2. Reverse Engineer it
Start with your goal in mind then work backwards over your time frame to create a map of actions you need to take to succeed. Depending on the size of the goal you will likely need to break it up into smaller chunks. If your goal is for the year, break it down into 90 day goals, 1 month goals, 2 week goals, Week goals and daily goals all leading towards your main outcome. If your goal is to lose 25 lbs. by the summer (5 months). Break it down into manageable steps. 1 pound a week is an average healthy rate of fat loss and at that pace you can break your 25 lb. goal into a 4-5 month process with 3 month, 1 month and 2 week bench marks
3. What’s the obstacle?
Determine the main obstacle keeping you from your goal. Are you lacking the skills, the knowledge, the network, or the resources to achieve your goal? Spend some good time brainstorming the #1 obstacle standing in your way between you and your goal and then set up 3 of the most High Impact actions that will help you overcome this obstacle.
Sticking with our fat loss example, if you don’t know what you should do to lose the 25lbs by summer, it would seem that you are lacking in knowledge and skills, so some action ideas could be:
- Schedule time to research effective fat loss ideas on the internet ,or find books to read on the subject
- Think of your network and who has accomplished what you want and ask them how they did it or where they recommend you go next
- Hire a professional to assist you in your goal.
These are just examples, but I think you get the idea
4. Reward yourself daily
When you succeed by completing an action step that leads you to your goal it feels really good. The reason it does is that your brain’s reward system is set up to release dopamine when we have that intense feeling of winning. The brain loves dopamine and when you accomplish and complete a task it lights up the reward center of your brain. To reinforce the habit of success, set up the day for 2-3 small micro wins and lean in to the feeling of accomplishment knowing you are achieving your goal. You’re micro wins should be high impact actions that are achievable and lead you one step closer to your outcome. A small micro goal could be:
- Reached out to network and got a referral – WIN! Celebrate
- Spent 30 min researching my topic learning how to better accomplish my goal – WIN! Celebrate.
- Set up weekly meeting with my accountability partner and shared goal - WIN! Celebrate
Celebrate the major wins at the 2 week mark; you lost 2 lbs. _MAJOR WIN! Celebrate, by that XXX you’ve been wanting.
A celebration can be something as easy as a nice walk, self hug, just be aware of the win and go deeper into the feeling of accomplishment fully relishing the uplifting feeling of moving closer to your desired outcome. Gamefy it, have fun.
Do this daily and your wins will become addictive to the point of wanting to continue making progress towards your goal.
5. Share your successes
We humans are social creatures and the latest neuroscience research tells us is that when share our successes, oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone”, released when we touch, hug or during intimacy, is release in the brain as well. If we consciously set up a pattern of accomplishing 2-3 daily wins (dopamine boosts) + sharing what we’ve accomplished (oxytocin boost) we set up a positive feedback loop that further ignites our motivation and enforces our new behavior. This is like adding rocket fuel to your motivation engine. Add this in and you will definitely be better at sticking to your fitness goals
6. Review and Repeat
Once you start seeing results as your goals manifest your momentum will increase, so keep after it and be one of the 9% that sets goals and achieves them. Keep in mind that the obstacles your choose and the actions you feel are the highest impact will evolve as you spend time progressing toward your goals.
- Review your goals in the morning and evening each day as you set your 2-3 wins for the day.
- Take 15 minutes at the end of the week to review effectiveness and update actions for the upcoming week, always connecting to the major outcome.
- Spend an hour every month to review this process fully, connecting deeper with your goals, action plan and new obstacle. Continue on this path towards success.
What to do when feeling lost or lose motivation
This will happen if you don’t keep up the habit of reviewing your strong reasons why your goal is important to you daily. Continuously strengthening your "Why" will help you stay focused on your daily action steps and keep your motivation levels high. If continuing to feel lost or unmotivated, you may want to decide whether the goal is something you really truly want to accomplish or that your old habits patterns need to be reevaluted and replaced with stronger successful habits. Success and winning is just like a muscle, the more you strengthen it, the stronger it gets. You got this
A quick note on habits: Your habits are designed to keep you safe. To make it so you don’t need the extra brain power to perform the tasks you normally do. They either keep us in our comfort zone or they can be challenged and designed to propel us in any direction we choose. Here’s the rub. Changing a habit is HARD, REALLY HARD….initially. There will be internal resistance to the new change, so you must set up a system where you can focus on strengthening your new good habits to produce the desired outcome.
Respect that your new habit needs to be strengthened and in days & weeks time, that new habit can become like steel cables. Keep in mind, research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology shows that it takes on average 2 months (around 66 days for most people) to make a new habit stick. Once you do it will get easier to perform the tasks you choose. To help ignite you towards better habits, Connect deeply with your “Why” regularly to help strengthen your focus until the new habits are stronger and you won’t need as much energy to complete and then share it with your accountability partner to reinforce your new success achieving habits.
We’re all in this together
As I have some big exciting goals I am working on personally, I know I need to be reminded of these 6 steps too. Whether this is new to some of you or a reminder to others, to better stick to your fitness goals; write it down, feel it, share it, commit to it, reverse engineer it, figure the obstacle + 3 high impact actions to overcome the obstacle, reward your accomplishments, even the smallest, daily, and go tell everybody. Overall, enjoy what you are creating you will be upgrading and becoming more to achieve them.
Now for my major goals, I am working on strengthening these habits for my own focus and next level success. Now you all are going to be my accountability partners, deal? I want to hear what your major goals are for 2017. Comment below, let’s do this together.