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Why Focusing on Change is the Key to Getting Results

woman stretching on trackMost people start their fitness journeys out with a specific goal in mind. It’s usually along the lines of wanting to lose a certain amount of weight so they can feel better about themselves. Here’s the thing though – focusing on the results puts the cart before the horse.

Focus Your Energy on Changing Behaviors

Instead of setting results-oriented goals that look like this:

  • I want to lose 10 pounds.
  • I want to run an 8 minute mile.
  • I want to look good in a bikini.
  • I want to feel good about myself.

Try focusing on the behavioral changes that need to take place to reach those end results, and then set your goals accordingly. For example:

  • I’m going to eat veggies in 3 of my meals each day this week.
  • I’m going to work out 3 days this week.
  • I’m going to have just 1 soda this week.
  • I’m going to cut out artificial sweeteners.
  • I’m going to strength train at least once this week.

Create Action Goals

Getting fit is about creating positive behavioral changes in your life. Change is what you’re after. Weight loss is the result. It makes sense to focus your attention on what’s going to get you those results.

You can control your behaviors and what you do, but the outcome is much less in your control. Had you eaten the perfect diet and exercised consistently for 10 weeks but didn’t reach your 10 pound weight loss goal, you might think you failed.

But if your goal was to exercise 3 days each week for 10 weeks, you succeeded, and the benefits to that success are numerous. And that exercise goal will be a key ingredient in eventually achieving your results goal.

Achieving Your Wants

It’s nice to have an idea of where you want to be at the “end” of your journey, but to make it there, you have to take action. It’s these small behavioral changes that will be the key to achieving your end result wants.

What are you going to do this week to bring you one step closer to your results? Set 1-2 action goals this week. Make them challenging, but make sure they are attainable. Maybe this week you just try to add veggies into one of your meals each day. Do you think you can do that? I think you can.

Make that your goal. Write it down. Revisit that goal at the end of the week, and if you reach it, cross it off the list. The next week, build on last week’s goal and try to get veggies in 3 of your meals each day.

Change is the Key

To become who you want to be, you have to change who you are. We do not lose 50 pounds while remaining the same person. Ask anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight, and they will tell you they are a completely different person. Most of them cannot even believe they used to live that past lifestyle.

The difference is they act and think differently now about the same situations they once encountered. They have rewired their brains to take new actions that lead to different outcomes. They have taken back control of their body and mind.

Change is hard. We don’t always get it right the first time. You might not get those three veggie meals in this week, but I guarantee you that if you keep trying at it, you will eventually nail it down and be able to cross that positive behavioral change off your list.

Focus on change, not the results. What actions are you going to take this week to change who you are?

  • Melanie Hobbs

    This is just what I needed! I’ve lost 25lbs so far, but have about 45 to go. I watched what I ate, cut out lots of processed food this week to re-start my healthy lifestyle, but haven’t seen a change on the scale. This was a great reminder that my progress this week should be measured by meeting my workout & eating goals, not by the number on the scale. Thank you!

    • Coach Calorie

      Glad it helped Melanie!

  • Ian

    Great article as usual. Another great advantage of the example goals you give is that they are quantifiable, not subjective. I think a lot of people fail to reach their goals because the goals they set are too subjective, dependent upon vague mental pictures or have questionable end points. “Looking good in a bikini”….how good? As good as the Photoshopped model on the magazine rack? Is it reasonable to aim for that? For how long do you want to look that good? For the rest of your life? Just for the summer? As you so often say, if you focus on having a clean diet and good quality workouts most days of the week, looking good in that bikini will just be a nice byproduct of the real goals.

    • Coach Calorie

      Very true Ian. Make your goals clear cut so that you either reach them or you don’t.

  • Jacquie

    Thanks Tony, just reading your comments at work gives me hope! I have lost 65lbs a year ago then went through some rough times now want to focus on myself again! Thanks you make my day and I am back on track!

    • Coach Calorie

      You did it all by yourself Jacquie :)

  • Powerteacher

    I have been “trying” to lose 40 lbs. for a couple years with some success and much failure. I’ve NEVER looked at my goals like this! I’m hoping it’ll make the difference. Thanks!