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Healthy habit goals that stick

How to set healthy goals that stick

First hand experience tells me that no matter how good our intentions are, goals can be pretty hard to stick to.

You can set as many goals as you want, even if they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based) – you are still rather unlikely to achieve them unless you perform the daily actions required to achieve those goals.

The problem with classic goal setting methods is that just the act of setting a goal give you a somewhat satisfactory feeling of accomplishment. In fact, we feel so proud of that commitment to achieving a goal that it’s enough to actually decrease our sense of need to achieve the goal.

I know, weird right? It’s a sort of self-sabotage to do with avoiding the uncomfortable feeling of change and decreasing our chances of being seen as a failure.

This is why I’m going to show you how to upgrade your goal-setting method by distinguishing between outcome goals and behaviour goals.

Outcome Goals VS Behaviour Goals:

The difference between outcome goals and behaviour goals is critical in turning your dreams into actions.

An outcome goal is the end result you hope to accomplish.

  • For example, an outcome goal could be that you want to lose weight.

The clever ones will know that “to lose weight” is not enough. Rather, it should be something like “to lose 10 kilograms by 1st of July so that I can perform better at work and play with my kids more comfortably.

If you usually set clear and meaningful goals like that then well done – you are already way ahead of what most people do and I’m sure you have experienced much success as a result.

However, something is still missing… We need to solve the problem that even with such goals we often don’t take enough action.

A goal without a plan is just a dream – so this is where your behaviour and habits come into play now.

A behaviour goal is the steps you need to take to achieve that outcome.

  • For example, a behaviour goal is that you will need to go to gym 3 times a week in order to lose those 10 kilograms by the 1st of July.

Behaviour goals actually usually come as a set of goals. Such as going to gym 3 times a week, preparing a healthy lunch to take to work the night before, and waking up 20 minutes earlier to cook a healthy breakfast rather than munching down a just-about-pure-chocolate granola bar.

As you can see, now the steps to losing weight are suddenly much more actionable.

Create Goal Systems:

When you clearly distinguish between outcome goals and behaviour goals you automatically start creating systems that will help you achieve your goals.

  • Are you a writer? Your goal might be to write a book. Your system is writing for 2 hours 3 times a week.
  • Are you a runner? Your goal might be to run a marathon. Your system is to run 20-30 kilometers a week for 12 weeks.
  • Are you a sales rep? Your goal might be to earn more commission. Your system is to make 5 sales calls a day.
  • Are you a rugby player? Your goal might be to play professionally. Your system is to train twice a day for 4 hours a day.

So once you have decided on an outcome goal you need to figure out what behaviours you need to do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to help you achieve it.

Then keep breaking down those goals further and further.

If you are someone who thinks “forget losing 10 kgs, I can’t even get myself to the gym once” then maybe you need to focus on what behaviour will help you get to the gym before focusing on what will help you lose weight.

If an outcome goal is you getting in a workout at the gym, then the behaviour goals might be scheduling it into your day, packing your gym bag the night before, convincing a friend to come join you so that you are accountable to them, and then getting a good night’s sleep so that you wake up energized and ready to take on a hard gym workout.

You can systematically go through this process, looking at how you can create more and more tiny behaviour goals that will help you reach your outcome goals.

  • Maybe you need a pre-bedtime routine to help you get that good night of sleep so that you have energy to workout so that you can lose weight?
  • Maybe you need to plan your day better in order to have enough time to unwind properly at night before going to bed.
  • Maybe you need to block out all distractions so that you can be more productive and stick to your daily plan.

The Best Part:

Many people go back to doing nothing once they achieve their outcome goal (such as running a marathon or losing 10 kilograms).

However if you have focused on behaviour goals and turning them into systems, there is a good chance you will have developed some solid healthy habits along the way.

Going to gym might be as solidly cemented into your Monday morning routine as brushing your teeth is. Doing meal preparation the night before could be second nature. You suddenly love waking up early when it’s quiet and peaceful and a healthy breakfast has become a must-do in order to maintain your high level of energy and performance throughout the day.

Ps – If you are looking for a serious goal to achieve, how about signing up for our 8-Week Transformation Challenge?

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