Behavior Trumps Intent. Every. Single. Time.
2017: What's Your Intro?
2016 has come to an end. As the New Year commences, the feelings of a fresh start and new beginnings can be felt by many of us. In the fitness industry, gym facilities will be flooded with individuals hoping to succeed at obtaining their New Year resolutions of getting fit. Although their intentions are well placed, behavior will always trump intent. Therefore it is imperative to marry intent to behaviors to forge the gap between goal setting and goal attainment.
New Goals call for New Behaviors
The following techniques (1 +3 = 1, Keep In Sight, and I Did List) have been amassed over the previous years working with clients, obtaining my personal goals, and insightful reads on habit formation. Using the following together will pay dividends to progressing you in the right direction of goal attainment and behavior modification.
1 Goal + 3 Supportive Behaviors= 1 Obtained Goal
1 + 3 = 1
Improvement requires action. If we want attain a new goal, we need new behaviors that will build us to the area we seek. For each of your fitness/athletic endeavors you write, back them with three behaviors that will support the goals you are striving for. As humans, we are all about patterns and routines. Knowing how to change your routine will boost your ability to alter your goal specific outcome. This activity should not take you a long time, be direct about your goal and write behaviors you believe will support the endeavor. Below are a few examples.
Goal: Improve my back squat by 20 pounds
- Clean up squat technique by improving mobility
- Increase squat frequency from once a week to twice a week
- Adhere to a strength training program that focuses on strength
Goal: Increase water intake to 1 gallon daily
- Drink water as soon as I wake up
- Carry water container every where I go
- Set a constant reminder via a phone app to remind me to drink water
The above do not serve as blueprints to the provided behaviors, but illustrate how simple yet direct your 1 + 3 = 1 technique should be. Remain direct as possible the activity should take you a few minutes.
Keep Your goals in sight, literally.
Let's face it, we are easily distracted. Flashing lights, the need to know, and latest fads grab our attention (the reason why we check our social media so often.) This competition for our attention can quickly deter us from our desired endeavors. Attention is a commodity that we have to protect for our best interest. For this reason, it is important to keep our goals right in front of us on a constant basis. To avoid derailment, after you have completed your 1 +3 activity, place your goals in a place you will see them daily to ensure you refrain from distraction.
Other great examples are bathroom mirrors, work desk, and car dashes. The specific location matters based upon where you rest much of your attention, especially in the mornings. Read them as refreshers to get your day started and focused on what is specific for you.
Track your completed tasks with an I "Did" List
The last tool is to utilize an I Did List as a daily review to reinforce desired behaviors. Before ending the day, check off the behaviors you stated in the 1 + 3 = 1 activity. My personal method is by way of journal, but you can also utilize a calendar or planner of sorts. Applying an I Did List will serve as an accountability technique that reinforces a constant sense of accomplishment by physically acknowledging the completion of your behaviors. Give yourself the small gratification daily, the confidence that it builds can be momentous.
In order to win you must place yourself in the position to do so. Changing behavior is a difficult process. Since we are a summation of routines and habits creating new ones will take effort, consistency, and discipline to overcome and replace previous behaviors. While this exercise can place you on the right track, it will NOT take place of the continual work to get you from point A to point B. Set your goals, provide the behaviors to modify them and work your way through your vision.