Focus on the Process
Happy New Year, Everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a lovely holiday season.
In the last article, I wrote back in December, I talked about the importance of coming up with goals for yourself that are based upon your values. Knowing your values can help you determine if a particular goal is even worthy and if there are compelling enough reasons to work towards it. Being clear on your why’s will also help you stay motivated in the long term.
This month, we are going to take this a step further and talk more about the “how-to”. I’d like to show you why focusing more on the systems/processes and less on the goals themselves is more effective.
Goals are important and have their place. But their strengths are in direction setting only. Goals should continue to be the overarching destination, but the systems we put into place for achieving the goals are what really drive our progress.
My favorite habits author James Clear has written about this exact topic. “The goal in any sport is to finish with the best score, but it would be ridiculous to spend the whole game staring at the scoreboard. The only way to actually win is to get better each day. In the words of three-time Super Bowl winner Bill Walsh, ‘The score takes care of itself.’ The same is true for other areas of life. If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.”
The Score Takes Care of Itself
This makes so much sense. While we desire a specific outcome, the path to getting there involves breaking the process down into manageable steps and successfully and consistently executing them. In this regard, the skills become more important than the goal because the skills enable you to get TO the goal.
Another important distinction to make here is that people often believe that they are committing to an outcome (a specific goal weight for example) but what they are really committing to is a new lifestyle. In this case, the lifestyle that is required to maintain a specific goal weight. You may like the idea of weighing a certain amount, but you also need to find enjoyment in the process in order to maintain it. Simply put, you need to commit to the lifestyle.
Committing to the Lifestyle
Because so many people have weight loss goals at the beginning of the year, I’d like to use that as an example. Below are a few of the lifestyle habits, skills, and behaviors that a person with a lower body weight may have:
- Regularly eating less (smaller portions)
- Regularly eating more protein and less refined carbohydrates
- Regularly filling the plate with lots of veggies
- Not regularly indulging in sweets or alcoholic beverages
- Regularly paying attention to hunger signals and stopping eating when satisfied
- Regularly participating in some type of exercise routine
- Regularly drinking enough water
- Regularly getting adequate quality sleep
- Regularly managing stress levels
- Having compelling “why’s
Focus on the Skills
Success leaves tracks. While the goal/outcome desired may be a lower body weight, it’s better to focus on the skills that will get you there. Generally speaking, people with a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle regularly participate in healthy habits and behaviors. Makes sense, right? What are some skills you could focus on that would help begin to bridge the gap between where you are now, and where you want to be?
Shift in Identity
James Clear also says: “True behavior change is identity change. When your behavior and your identity are fully aligned, you are no longer pursuing behavior change. You are simply acting like the type of person you already believe yourself to be.” Identity ties the process and the goal together.
Habits can be defined as usual manners of behavior, or regular practices that we default to. The goal is to “default” to the behaviors and practices that are desirable, and for them to take little to no effort to perform because this is just “who you are”. This is a process of persistence and patience. BUT, if you have identified with your values that this goal is an important one, it will be well worth it.
The Next Smallest Step
So what’s the lowest hanging fruit, the next obvious small step for you? The step that gives you the least amount of resistance yet still suggests a change in behavior? Play around with some ideas and try them out.
The good news is that implementing healthy habits creates a positive “snowball effect”. One small action repeated leads to another and builds upon each other at a faster and faster rate. What matters most is the continuous small actions to get that snowball started. You must begin with the end in mind and then trust the process.
Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Everyone Else Does
Last year, millions of people made the decision to lose weight, yet not all experienced success with it. I think there are a number of reasons to explain this: Trying to take on too much too fast, not being patient enough, not finding ways to embrace the lifestyle of the new goal, and not having a supportive environment in which to develop and practice new habits are a few of the top reasons. Let’s also remember that the last couple of years has been extra tough for everyone.
It’s very important not to judge what didn’t go as planned. We are always doing the best we can. But that doesn’t mean that we stop there if our goals are important to us. Begin by identifying your values, and how it is you want to feel in the coming year. Identify the goal that you think will get you there and use it as a north star. Then, figure out some teeny tiny steps and skills that will get that snowball picking up pace in the direction of your goals. Finally, don’t expect perfection. Give yourself grace when you veer off path and then get right back at it. Progress over perfection, always!
You do not have to “do healthy” on your own. In fact, research tells us that you are much more likely to succeed if you have accountability layered in.
Let’s face it — healthy eating and healthy lifestyles can be boring and require a lot of patience. Having the support of an accountability coach and a community of likeminded individuals on your team can make all the difference. Share paths with a practicing holistic nutritionist, receive one-on-one coaching regarding your meals, and be connected on the app with my other clients and Ambassadors. You will have fun, stay motivated, and feel inspired!
Find out more by visiting my website www.stacyyates.com