Setting Fitness Goals and Creating an Effective Change Plan

Kelowna Gyms - One Life Fitness - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Tips & Advice from the professional personal trainers at OneLife training gym in Kelowna.

Have you tried time and time again to get into a routine of proper nutrition and exercise only to fall off the wagon? Feeling like you’ve failed can be very discouraging, but there are practical ways that you can create effective change in your health and body that really work. Setting fitness goals and creating an effective change plan can put you on the right track and give you more than just a routine, but a new lifestyle.

1. Determine what it is you want to change and then ask yourself the following questions:
Can I do what is required?
Is it worth the investment?

2. Search for and focus on behavior not outcomes.
Enormous influence and large scale change can be accomplished by focussing on a few vital behaviors.

3. Study from the Best
How do we know what vital behaviors will have the most impact on our change efforts? Whether you want to lose weight, improve your athletic ability, increase productivity in your organization or decrease absenteeism, someone, somewhere has done a “best practice” study and has determined the behavior that needs to be influenced. Seek out information from experts in the area you are looking to influence.

4. Develop a strategy that focuses on all six sources of influence.
The model developed by the good people at VitalSmarts starts with looking at the questions: can I do it and is it worth it? Or, Am I able? and Am I Motivated? When looking at behavior change, any behavior change, it comes down to Ability and Motivation. These primary categories for this model are further subdivided into personal, social, and structural sources. These three sources of influence draw on the disciplines of psychology, social psychology, and organizational development.

Personal – At the personal level we work on connecting vital behaviors to intrinsic motives as well as coaching the specifics of behavior change through the concept of deliberate practice.

Social – Change agents draw on the enormous power of the social capital to help influence change. Our social network and peer structure have tremendous power on the way we behave

Structural – The final consideration will be to take advantage of our environment, placing and removing obstacles as required. By attaching various rewards and punishments to vital behaviors we reinforce the habits required to change and by altering the physical things that make up our environment we can further shape our behavior.

The Story of Henry Denton

Henry is a 52 years old director of recruitment at a local university and Henry has decided that he needs to lose some weight. Just the other day Henry was in the back yard where his grandchildren were playing and he overheard them speculating on his demise. “Grandpa is so fat that he probably going to die soon. Thatʼs what happens when your as fat as Grandpa is”, one of the children said to the other. This discussion between pre-schoolers really hit home for Henry and at that very moment he formulated his strategy: Eat fewer calories then I burn. His plan, while effective at explaining how weight is lost, does not address the real issues, his daily actions. This strategy focuses on an outcome and not his behavior, so what heʼs really saying is: If I do something right, as a result of those efforts Iʼll burn more calories than I eat. What he actually has to do is still unknown. Confusing outcomes and means is a very common mistake that has derailed many efforts to change, large and small. Letʼs take a closer look at what Henry needs to do.

1. Search for experts who have already learned which actions are best for helping people lose weight and keep it off.
2. Determine what behaviors are vital to his change effort, focus on influencing his behavior and not on the outcome.
3. He needs to apply the six source influence model to create a solid strategic change plan.

So, after failing several times to: eat fewer calories then he burns, and not losing any weight, Henry sought out the help of an expert and began searching for vital behaviors that he could influence to accomplish his goal of losing weight and improving his personal vitality. Henry realized that one of the biggest problems he faced was lunch. Eating out was not only a habit, it was a bona fide requirement of his job. Henry did some of his best marketing and relationship building at Cactus Club, Joeyʼs Global and Dakotaʼs. After thinking about what constituted a good weight day and a bad weight day, (Searching for Vital Behaviors) Henry realized that when he thought about what he was going to order for lunch in the office before he got to the restaurant he made healthier choices. In fact, Henry decided that when he booked a lunch date he would write down what he intended to eat as part of the appointment schedule in Outlook. (Personal Motivation)

But what to eat? This is when Henry decided he would seek the help of his expert to provide some coaching in what constitutes a “healthy” choice in restaurant meals. He learned about calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and developed skills in making food choices (Personal Ability). This was an excellent start, but Henry realized that it was not enough, he was determined not to fail and the expert had suggested that his change plan required a solid concerted attack on all six sources of influence, so he then took a closer look at other areas of his life that might be negatively impacting his efforts to change.

Henry loved to golf and often worked diligently to finish early so he could get to menʼs night at the club. Menʼs night invariably led to beer and wings with the boys and was definitely not helping Henry reach his goal of losing weight. (Social Motivation) Henry realized that his menʼs night confederates were disabling his efforts to change, so he asked for their help. He explained that he loved golf and that he loved hanging with the boys, but he really needed to lose some weight. (Social Ability) Following that discussion the group suggested that maybe they should move their tee times to Saturday mornings (Structural Ability) allowing them to socialize and golf, but eliminating the temptations of wings and beer. Henry was very pleased by the support his friends were showing him and decided that he would take it one step further…If he failed to meet his weight loss goals then he would be buying the breakfast that following Saturday morning. (Structural Motivation).

By looking at crucial moments that derailed his efforts to change and identifying vital behaviors that might positively impact those same efforts Henry was able to apply a strategy that employed all six sources of influence, significantly increasing his chance of success.

Are you ready to create an effective change plan for your health and fitness? Contact us today!

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