Do this instead… HOMEWORK below…
I don’t care how S.M.A.R.T. your goal is, “I will lose 7 lbs in 8 weeks” ain’t nothin’ but a DESIRE.
It’s an outcome. It’s not actually a GOAL!
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, about the Specificity, Measurability,Attainability, Relevancy, or Timeliness of that goal drives results.
Results are achieved through consistent ACTIONS.
This means that if you took the precious time to create a “super S.M.A.R.T. desire” you still have to get down to the actual biz-nass of nailing down the actions that get what you want.
Think of it this way…
Your kid can say, “I want an A on my science test next week” and unless he has a magic wand, that S.M.A.R.T. “goal” ain’t coming true if he continues to play Fortnite til the wee hours.
His goal is not an A.
His goals are the ACTIONS he avoiding for weeks like:
- spend 30 minutes each day reading over his science notes.
- turn in all his homework and ask questions about the problems he’s missed.
- organize his notebook so that papers aren’t getting lost
This is what makes reaching a goal so damn HARD! Your outcome is easy to dream up, your actions are likely fairly easy to identify, but getting yourself to follow through… THAT’S THE SECRET SAUCE!
How do you put the XBox control down? >>>> How do you put the wine bottle away?
How do you remember to bring your homework home? >>>> How do you remember everything you need for meal prep next week?
How do you organize the notebook so it’s a tool vs a hazard? >>>> How do you organize your week to get all your workouts in?
So as pool season nears, bikini fears sets in, and “GOALZZZZ season” opens up… I invite you to take your super S.M.A.R.T. outcomes through a few extra steps… the steps needed so that you finally get the hell out of your own way.
STEP 1: IMAGINE THE END FIRST
Start with the end in mind. Reverse engineer the goal. This means I want you to imagine sitting pool side, in a new bathing suit, feeling relaxed and confident memorial day weekend.
You’ve leaned out. You can see new curves and definition that wasn’t there before. You’ve built new muscle and you’ve finally lost weight like you said you would! As you sip on that summer drink you’ve been craving all week, your kiddos splashing around with friends they haven’t seen since last year, you take 2 minutes to recount the hard work you’ve put in these past 8 weeks. This journey wasn’t easy. But it feels really good. You are proud.
At the top of a document or a blank sheet of paper, list out the exact behaviors/actions that you currently believe would create results like the ones above.
STEP 2: EDIT THE LIST
- I’m going to ask you to do something you might fight me on at first. Cross EVERYTHING on your list except THREE major fat loss actions (food related or exercise related). I call these your “ESSENTIAL 3.”
- That’s right… putting lemons in your water to “detox” won’t a goal. SIGH!!!!
- GET RID OF DISTRACTORS! Get rid of the small things that make you feel like you got shit done but never even moved your dial forward.
- And if you’re stuck… that’s okay… read STEP 3 and you’ll understand why you don’t have the bandwidth for more than three
STEP 3: PLAY DEFENSE EARLY
How often have you told yourself you’re not going to drink on weekdays, only to create a “loop hole” excuse on a random Thursday night when your BFF calls and wants to unwind with a bottle of wine.
Or, the “I’m going to workout 4 days a week,” but then your alarm goes off at 4:30am and you’re too warm and comfy in your bed to start this new, difficult habit so you promise yourself (half asleep) you can squeeze in time this afternoon… never mind the meeting and the two different activities you have to get the kids to this evening.
Creating “loop holes” when your goal gets tough is super common. You’re human! That wine is so good. And your bed is hella comfy.
If your only defense against these loop holes is depending on your “wanting the goal” or your “focus on the goal,” you’re in trouble.
I suggest planning against these reoccurring loopholes EARLY before things are tough!!!!
Take your THREE ESSENTIAL 3 ACTIONS and lock those loophole out! Consider these 5 techniques…
- Schedule it.
- Replace it.
- Bundle it.
- Ease it.
- Reward it.
Schedule it. – There are certain actions that are highly conducive to being scheduled. Your workout time. Your rest days. Your meal prep days. Your cheat days. Take out your calendar and schedule in the action.
Do not let the idea that “it could change” depending on X,Y,Z deter you from scheduling it.
Remember, PLANS NEVER WORK, but PLANNING ALWAYS DOES! If it’s on your schedule, it’s exact time might move but you are more likely to get it done that day or that week. We manage, what we schedule. If one of your Essential 3 allows for scheduling, do that for all 8 weeks!
Replace it. If your action is a “do not” or “elimination style” action, you need to already have in place what you plan on replacing the wine, the candy, the dessert, the late night cereal with. In other words, you’re not getting rid of the habit completely, you’re simply reducing the massive dopamine reward and calorie hit this habit provides. If you don’t think this through BEFORE it gets tough, good luck thinking clearly when the craving hits.
Bundle it. – Can you stack the new behavior/action on top of an old one? I recently did this in order to remember to meditate each morning. After I did my 15 minutes of morning reading, I have 5-10 minutes of meditation before jumping into work. So if one of your Essential 3 is to get more protein in, and you’re already one of those magical “love to drink water” people… why not put a scoop in your water and be closer towards your goal.
Ease it. – The energy needed to START is always greater than the energy needed to KEEP going! For those who lift, you understand!
Once you get the barbell off the ground, the rest of the deadlift feels good. It’s the beginning that can rock your world 🙂
But even if you don’t lift, you know that once you start folding that laundry 8/10 times you end up finishing it so… why, oh, why did it take you 3 days to get to folding. ACTIVATION ENERGY is no joke.
If one of your essential 3 is to workout early in the morning… you best lay out those clothes the night before or do what I did for YEARS… sleep in your workout clothes. Hard to hit the snooze button when your sports bra is already on. 🙂
Reward it. – TREAT YO’ SELF BOO! BUT… Don’t reward the outcome! Reward your commitment to the Essential 3. This doesn’t mean buy yourself a pair of new running shoes after every run, but it is extremely useful to have a system where you can delight in your dedication to the task. How can you reward yourself for a 5 day streak in getting 10,000 steps in? Sure, you may not have the outcome you want quite yet but you’re clearly well on your way.
Habit Trackers work wonders for this by the way. I promise you’ll think twice about cheating when you have to mark a big ugly “X” in your calendar or tracker vs. a “you did it” check mark!
I realize this process takes way longer than declaring a S.M.A.R.T. goal. In fact, it’s likely that you won’t get all this done in one sitting. However, what you end up with is a rock solid SYSTEM of tackling your desires.
I hate seeing folks feel defeated or like somehow they don’t “want” their goal enough.
I believe each and every person who says they want to lose weight or build muscle wants it MORE than they can actually put it into words. They’re dedication is not what’s broken. It’s their lack of systems to get the hell out of their way.
Take a an hour this weekend to go through the 3 steps above. Sit down with your coffee, in a quiet house, and think through each step calmly. Grab your calendar, write in pencil, identify the actions, lock out those loop holes.
In 8 weeks you’ll be surprised just how much you can get done when you’re focused on following a system vs. hinging on a desire.