Making change is a skill. A skill you can practice. And improve.
And if you want to make big changes, you have to take small, consistent daily actions.
In fact, your behaviors are the only things you can control.
Those are powerful words. Small. Consistent. DAILY actions. Your behaviors.
If you have a fitness goal to get stronger, or weight loss goal in mind— any goal for that matter, it’s your behaviors — small, consistent daily actions that what will lead you to your outcome.
Behaviors vs Outcomes
- If you want to sell your house for a good price, you can renovate it and give it a fresh coat of paint. But you can’t control the real estate market.
- If you want to have a picnic, you can pack a basket and blanket and plan your route to the park. But you can’t control the weather.
- If you want to lose weight, you can eat well and stay active. But you can’t control your fat cells.
You can’t make your body lose 20 pounds on command any more than you can make your house worth a certain amount when you sell it.
In other words, you can’t control the outcome.
But you can control the behaviors that lead to the outcome you want.
Outcomes are WHAT you want. But outcomes don’t tell you what to do.
Behaviors are HOW you’ll get there. Behavior goals give you an action plan.
Set behavior goals
So instead of setting “outcome goals”, set “behavior goals”.
Here are a few examples showing the difference, just so you get the picture:
- Run a 5K race in 30 minutes
- Lose 10 lb
- Squat 80 lb
- Run for 20 minutes three times per week for the next month, gradually increasing the duration and speed
- Practice eating slowly at every meal, and eat until 80% full
- Show up and set your intentions every day
- Start giving piggyback rides regularly, or use your kids as weights!
You get the idea. Notice how all of the behavior goals are a commitment to do a specific set of actions or tasks that lead to the outcome you want.
Also, notice that:
- behavior goals are things you do consistently and regularly;
- behavior goals are small, manageable tasks that are within your control; and
- behavior goals are often things that you can do right now, today or in the near future.
Again: You can’t control the outcome.
But you can control the behaviors that, when done consistently, will move you in the right direction.
The 4 Circles
Here’s an exercise that will help you see how outcomes are connected to behaviors.
Take out a piece of paper and draw four circles. Label them:
- Outcome: 6 months from now
- This month
- This week
In the first circle, identify what you want as your health or fitness goal outcome to be in the next six months.
In “this month”, “this week”, and “today”, write what you will do to get to the “Outcome: End of six months”.
Notice how what you do right now — and in the near future — contributes to the outcome you seek.
Set yourself up for success
- Be realistic with what you can do. For now, under-estimate your capacity.
- Better to start small and succeed than go big and feel disappointed for “failing”.
- Focus on doing one small, achievable behavior at a time. Then high-five yourself when it happens.
This article has been shared as part of my Precision Nutrition Coaching certification program.
Precision Nutrition is the world leader in nutrition education for professionals. I’m partnering with them to deliver a life-changing curriculum that AMC will roll-out in the Fall! The cool part, I’ll actually be leading the process as your coach—helping moms AND dads (yes, DADS too!) to get active and eat better, so that as a team, you both can lead your family by example.
I’m so excited to introduce this program! No diets. No meal plans. No juice cleanse. No gimmicks.
It’s a program that MOTIVATES you, INSPIRES you, and TEACHES you how to maintain a healthy weight FOREVER with behavioral change.
Are you as stoked as I am?
Stay tuned, details will be rolling out next month!