At the start of working with each of my clients, I always ask, “So, what’s the goal?” Inevitably, the answer is always something like “Lose 10 pounds” or “Get under 15% body fat”. While that’s all great, what I want you to do with those types of goals is this: Write them down…then forget about them.
See, from now on, I’m the one who focuses on those outcomes and accepts responsibility for you accomplishing them. Your job is to focus on the behavior goals — the things you have control over — to reach that outcome goal you established.
What’s the difference exactly? Outcome goals are the main objectives that you hope to accomplish, a longterm measure of success. Behavior goals, on the other hand, represent the steps you have to take to accomplish your outcome goal. Examples of behavior goals include:
- “I commit to eating breakfast every day for the next eight weeks.”
- “I commit to only having one ‘junk food’ item a day, no matter what I can fit in my macros.”
- “I commit to eating every two to three hours, whether I’m hungry or not, for the next eight weeks.”
- “I commit to hitting my macros six days a week for the next three months.”
Having these types of goals is effective because they are completely under your control and can be accomplished frequently. The task of ‘eating breakfast’ can be accomplished daily at your whim, while ‘losing 10 pounds’ will take much longer and is not completely under your control.
The first thing I do each morning is think about whether or not I hit my macros the day before. I do most of the time, so I usually begin my day with a sense of accomplishment and a revived motivation to accomplish that goal again knowing that if I do that enough times, I’ll reach my outcome goal of looking, feeling, and performing better.
Think of behavior goals as the roadmap to your more longterm, outcome goals. If you don’t know what your behavior goals should be, talk to your coach to establish them. Write them down, but this time keep them with you as a reminder of what it takes. Last, keep track of your adherence to those goals. This can be written (cross off each day in a calendar when you accomplish your set behavior goal) or mental (like my mental pat-on-the-back each morning after hitting my macros the day before). Celebrate your accomplishments frequently and enthusiastically. Be humbled, but not discouraged, by your failures. Enjoy the process. It is the pathway to your goals.