Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Have you set a goal for yourself just to fall off the train only three, five or 10 days later?
Feel like you've come up with a goal just to find that you aren't even sure where to begin with it?
Discovering that you set goals but then get started into it and find that it's too overwhelming and there's no way for you to reach it then just throw in the towel??
Been there. Done that. Pretty sure EVERY human has been there and done that...just think New Years Resolutions........and it's frustrating right?!? Because you have good intentions and really want to make the changes, but maybe you just don't have the tools you need to really do it efficiently and successfully.
So what is it that causes you to make the goal but not be able to reach it you may be wondering? In not so many words - You don't have a plan or a specific and realistic goal in mind.
Let me break it down for you - the same exact way that I do with my clients - to help you get CLEAR on your goals and set a PLAN to achieve them!! This can literally be used for any aspect of your life...not just exercise and nutrition...and can be a total game changer!
Did you know that setting goals has been shown to lead to greater performance, increased motivation, and a stronger connection to the desired outcome? It also provides an opportunity for you to track your progress objectively and help you reward yourself along the way. BUT! If your goals aren't laid out properly and REALISTICALLY you can start to feel discouraged and disconnected from what you set out to accomplish and most likely give up on it and beat yourself up for not being able to do it. So, what's the secret to setting and achieving your goals...?
BEHAVIOR BASED GOAL SETTING.
Using this tool for goal setting creates a way for you to connect to the new behaviors you've laid out in the present moment, while still working towards your long-term goals of the future, and making lasting changes that will start to happen automatically on a daily basis without you even having to think about it -- even when your motivation isn't at it's highest. Let me break it down for you so that you can see how this simple process can get you on track, and stay on track!
So we focus on a specific set of actions that revolve around changing the behavior or habit you are trying to target and breaking them down into specific actions that clearly lay out the steps for you to follow to reach your goal. Versus trying to tackle a huge overarching goal that may require you to try to target MULTIPLE behaviors at a time and leave you frustrated and feeling like there's too many things at once. The idea here is that you can get going on one smaller goal at a time that will lead towards your big picture goal.
Once you have practiced your one, new manageable habit and it starts to feel natural to you, you have developed new skills that make maintaining this new goal or habit more thoughtless and innate. And then you're ready to move onto the next goal that feeds into your big picture goal.
The Advantages of Behavior Based Goal Setting:
We often choose goals that are too overarching, vague or something that's out of our control. Focusing in on and targeting certain actions that you can track and measure will keep you on track towards your specified goal.
Place emphasis on the ACTION versus the expectation:
Tuning into the actions on a daily basis that will help you delineate between "the thing that I need to do" versus "what I desire to achieve". When you separate those two things you are able to see what actions you're willing to commit to, how often you are committing to doing those actions and if the outcome is truly what you are desiring.
Allows you to identify SPECIFIC STEPS to achieve your goal:
Identifying the multiple ways that you can approach an overall goal, and putting yourself into the position to own your power with taking control of what you think is most likely and most appealing along the path to success.
Helps create a POSITIVE mindset:
When you get caught up in big picture goals you can get caught up in the space between where you are now and where you want to be. Breaking your goal down and focusing on a specific behavior gives you the opportunity to shift the emphasis towards what you are DOING and who you are BECOMING...and away from the negative mindset that often comes with comparing where you are now and where you wish you were.
Alright, let's get into it! I'm laying out the steps for you to break down your goals to make them work for you and lead you to success...grab a piece of paper and let's do this...you're going to write out the goal that has been nagging you right now girlfriend!! Time to make that change you want...
To begin: What is your overall area of focus? I love to answer this question with a big picture area that you are wanting overall improvement in - like nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, finances, etc.
What is the behavior you want to target this week? We are going all the way deep down into the specifics here. So write out ONE specific thing you will do this week. Example: If I wrote Nutrition for my overall area of focus, I want to break that down here - maybe you're thinking "eat better". More precisely into eating more veggies. But I want you to go even more specific like...adding an extra serving of veggies at lunch and/or dinner 5 days this week.
How are you going to do it? Write out how you are going to do this thing...when, where, how long, how often, what is your plan? So using my example from #2 above, I would write that I am going to grocery shop for my desired veggies, put it on my weekly menu the 5 days that I plan to have my veggies, if I'm going to roast or steam them ahead of time or if they'll be raw, etc. See how we are going SPECIFIC so that you can really lay out your plan of action to set yourself up for success?
Now how do you feel about this goal? How likely are you to stick with the above outlined goal? Here's how to determine the likelihood that you're successful. Think of a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not likely at all and 10 being so likely that you're practically already doing it. Be brutally honest with yourself here because if you want to be successful with your goal setting, this step is crucial. If you look at your goal and think that you're on a 4, 5, 6 or 7...then we need to re-evaluate and adjust the specifics to get you to more of an 8 or 9. Readjusting could mean that you drop the behavior down a day or two, or reduce the amount of times per day that you're trying to incorporate your new behavior, etc. Adjust until you feel confident saying that you are at an 8 or 9. If you're at a 10, it might be time to select a new goal to work towards your big picture because you've most likely got that one in the bag!
How will you make it stick? What actions or reminders will you use to help remind you to do the action that leads to your goal? Is there a certain time of day, an action you already do, an alarm reminder on your phone, a sticky note, a friend or spouse that is going to help you remember? Write it down here and don't forget to be specific - then go set your alarm or write your sticky note so that you can get started right away!
Track your success!! How are you going to keep track of your new habit? Are you writing out a food log or using an app like MyFitnessPal for nutrition goals? Are you tracking your sleep through your iWatch or FitBit? Do you have a journal for writing and meditation to track your stress levels and/or reduction? What are the tools you have in place to track your new behavior and when you're doing it?
WOW!!! Did you write it all out?! Have you adjusted the goal so that your confidence level is high and you're ready to crush this?!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this tool for creating goals because it is so modifiable and YOU have all the control over it. It brings insight into whether your goals are realistic and manageable or if you need to reevaluate and find what is going to lead you to success. And when I use this tool with my clients, we adjust weekly and according to their big overarching goals, often time doing 2 or 3 goals from different areas of wellness at a time. Once you have been able to get through 3 or 4 weeks with this goal feeling completely confident, a 10 on the scale, you can up the ante and add to it!
Stay tuned for next week's blog post about How to Assess Your Behavior Based Goals for continued success!
All the Mom Love,