So, we are now a month into our New Year. Are those resolutions you set at the beginning of the month still fresh in your mind? If you answered “not so much”, you are not alone. The anticipation, hope and enthusiasm of those well-intentioned intentions can quickly lose steam for most of us if we have been too rigid in characterizing our success or have created a set of next to impossible measurements.
In my last post, I talked about one of the most common New Year’s resolutions…The resolve to lose weight. After re-reading that post, it got me thinking of an often overlooked part of the goal setting process: defining the goal. I love the structure and process of using the SMART approach to setting goals. I frequently turn to it when I am creating intentions for myself or coaching my clients in the goals they are setting for themselves. I wrote about this concept a couple of years ago, in a bit more detail here.
But before you start creating (or possibly revising) those resolutions I’d like to ask you a couple of questions:
- When it comes to weight loss goals (yours or those that you are helping a family member/client/friend with), have you ever considered you might be focusing on the wrong Result?
- What is it you are looking to gain from losing weight?
- If you achieve that goal, does that mean you are healthier for it?
Through my years working with the Health At Every Size® paradigm, I have come to realize a shortfall within the SMART goal setting process and in the way that success is defined. Particularly when it comes to weight-loss goals, we are focused so much so on the outcome that the actions we take or the behaviours that we may want to shift become secondary.
Searching for the definition of “outcome” I found the following from 3 online dictionaries:
- the way a thing turns out; a consequence.
- something that follows as a result or consequence
- something that follows from an action, dispute, situation, etc; result; consequence
That is all that weight loss is; a potential result from the steps we have taken, a drawn line in the sand that says our goal is complete and we have made it. Is that all we are looking for in our measure of success? A criteria of pounds lost or body measurements decreased? I challenge the assumption that weight loss equals success, happiness, improved health or anything else that is promised when someone takes on the soul-sucking task of dieting. And I caution folks on using pounds lost as a proxy for goal achievement.
What if instead you focused more on the Behaviour, rather than the result? Spending more time and energy on the ways you want to live a healthier lifestyle, while taking things slow and being kind to yourself. That, to me, is more impactful than any weight loss goal (IMHO). Ultimately, I think it is the behaviour we are looking to change and it is the outcome that is secondary.
How might you be able to reframe your intentions from an outcome-oriented endpoint to a behaviour-focused journey? Tell us in the comments below.
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