A huge key to success is properly framing your goals.
State your goals in a positive manner rather than a negative one. So, instead of listing all the things you're going to give up (i.e. stop eating processed food), list the things you will gain (i.e. eating more whole foods). Believe it or not, re-framing your goals in the positive can help to remove mental blocks and get you closer to your goal. After all, no one wants to be restricted from doing something.
In our last post in the goal setting series, Trish talked about setting behavior-based versus outcome-based goals. To recap, setting behavior-based goals are specific, measurable actions that you can take to accommodate the results you desire. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose 5 pounds this month,” you might say, “I will log my food to make sure I nail my macros.”
Today let's talk about how you frame your goals. It may seem like a silly technicality, but whether we approach our goals in a negative or positive light will make a huge difference in how we approach this journey.
If you begin your journey with a list of things you must not do or must not eat, your fitness life can seem like a very negative and punishing place, full of restrictions. Who wants to live like that? The more that you tell yourself you can't (or must not, under any circumstances, WHATSOEVER!!!!!!) have something, the more you tend to want it. It is simply human nature to want that which is forbidden.
Think about it. If you've ever dieted, you can probably relate to this scenario. You determine you are going to cut out every bit of added sugar to your diet. What happens the first time you have a little slip-up and allow yourself a piece of candy? Are you able to stop at just one, or are you compelled to finish the whole bag to get that pesky craving “out of your system?”
Instead of thinking about the behaviors that you need to stop, or do less of, what behaviors do you need to begin or do more of to accomplish your goals?
Increasing the frequency of healthy, goal-oriented behaviors will automatically crowd out the unhealthy, goal-sabotaging behaviors.
For example, instead of telling yourself that you need to eat less junk food, perhaps you could challenge yourself to try out some healthy alternatives to your family's favorite fast food meals. Think about challenging yourself to incorporate one new healthy habit each month until they become second nature.
Even if your body is adequately nourished with a proper number of calories, impeccable macros, and sufficiently hydrated, you may feel mentally restricted if you are still telling yourself there are foods you cannot eat. Make sure that you plan to incorporate some of your favorite treats along the way as you progress towards your goals. Unless you have an actual physical intolerance to a certain food, there is no reason why most foods cannot be part of your healthy eating plan, regardless if your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle, or work on body recomposition.
This approach can be applied to your fitness goals as well. Instead of thinking, “I need to tighten up these flabby thighs,” focus on the changes you need to make to see the results you crave. Instead, you might focus on adding 25 pounds to your squat or improving your 5k time. Focusing on becoming a stronger individual in the gym will most likely lead to positive changes in your body. However, prioritizing strength and athleticism over physical appearance puts the control in your hands, and you will get to experience the empowerment and satisfaction of setting new PRs and watching yourself become stronger each day!
Enjoy the road ahead! Be kind to yourself as you work towards your 2014 goals. This journey is challenging enough without adding negativity and self-hate.
Keep your eyes fixed on your goals, and enjoy every moment and the lessons you will learn along the way. Here's to your best year yet!
Photo credit: jscreationz, ambro, David Costillo Dominci, annankkml of freedigitalimages.net
Becca is a busy wife and homeschooling mother to five children ages 5 to 13. About three years ago, she embarked on a journey to health and fitness that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 pounds. Today, she is a competitive powerlifter and strongwoman who loves ice cream and deadlifts. As an ISSA certified personal trainer, she is passionate about helping women to get started on a lifestyle of strength and fitness.