Sometimes I set goals and then I forget about them, and never even take one tiny step toward reaching them. I can’t really explain this, but it just happens sometimes. On the other hand, sometimes I set goals and I have a one-track mind about reaching them (like that time I wrote 150 pages of my dissertation in a week). I’m constantly trying to figure out what makes a person be “ready” to work toward a goal—to have the determination to make it happen, even if it’s hard and involves effort. In fact, that’s what I was exploring in my dissertation research—how do people make something a priority?
What makes us eat veggies everyday? What makes us turn down the piece of cake or go to the gym or drink another glass of water?
There are actually answers to this—I could refer you to my dissertation to explore the theories about how behavior change happens (the health-belief model and all that). But, let’s just take a non-research look at it.
What needs to be present?
- Belief that there is a need to change or valuable benefit to be had from changing (either to move away from one consequence or toward another)
- Belief that the new “action” will actually lead to the desired results
- Belief that one can perform the action consistently and effectively
One common thing that I see among my clients, students, and myself is that if the determination to do whatever it takes to “succeed” is not 100% there, the effort is half-assed or non-existent.
And sometimes, the time for changing just needs to be right.
The pain of not changing has to outweigh the pain (effort) of changing…
In wellness coaching, there are all kinds of tools, like the “readiness ruler” to help people along the path toward change…and rather than call up cheesy things like that when I’m talking to people I just ask strategic questions to help a person figure it all out on their own. Coaches don’t tell people what to do—they help people figure out what they need/want to do (and obviously provide the resources/information when the person asks for it).
This past week, I decided I needed a little push in the direction of doing more yoga and using my sauna. I also have a bigger goal that I’m not telling you about yet, but I really am feeling the benefit of small goals right now. I set a small goal–to do yoga and go in the sauna everyday this week. Now, I can’t say I’ve succeeded yet, because there are two more days before the seven days are up. But, I’ve done both things for five days. And I enjoyed it. It made my week better. Now I have evidence I need to make it a bigger priority in my life on a regular basis (which doesn’t mean I’ll never slack off again either).
Another thing I do, in relation to veggies, is set food goals (note: I also made a goal to try 3 new veggie recipes this week and I haven’t made a single new one yet). I did use a unique ingredient in my salad to make it more interesting though.
When I pick a recipe or a new/exciting ingredient, it motivates me to eat more veggies…that’s my goal for the weekend, to use new ingredients and recipes, so I can make my veggie intake higher than the last couple days (and so I’m not bored).
Kumquats are cute little fruits, with a taste that is a cross between an orange and a lemon—you eat the whole thing, so the pith and peel add extra nutrients. They go great with avocados!
So before lunch, I thought about having salad….and felt pretty unenthusiastic about it. Then I looked at what I could do that was different and fun….and it became a whole different story. It was really good too. It wasn’t a big deal, but it worked—and I think the small goals I set work in much the same way. It’s just a little push in the right direction. If I don’t make goals, I don’t do anything differently…if I do make goals, I inch in the direction I want to go (it may be slow, but it’s still progress!).
Now that I’ve done two yoga classes today, gone in the sauna, and gotten all my work done…oh, and watched last night’s episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, I’m going to relax and read a book. I don’t think I have any plans this weekend—crazy! I plan to get a lot accomplished (I hope I clean my car…), and I have to think about what goals I want to set for next week.
What have you added to your salads or menu lately to keep things interesting and to boost your motivation to eat healthy?
Do you set/reach goals? Do you have any goals for the coming week?
Any big weekend plans?