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Goal setting part 2

In the previous blogpost we discussed how to set SMART goals (if you haven’t read that yet, click here to read that post first, before reading this one).

When it comes to achieving our goals, we need to change our approach—instead of constantly looking at what the outcome is, we need to look at how our behaviours and habits can help or hinder us.

Something I learned from Precision Nutrition, is turning “outcome goals” into “behaviour goals”.

Often when I sit down with clients to talk about their goals, the majority of the time I hear things like:

“I want to lose 30 pounds.”

“I want to get shredded.”

“I want to stop emotional-eating”

“I want to get back down to my high school weight”

All of these goals are “outcome goals”. Outcomes can be affected by things like your job, gym closures, home renovations, family members getting sick, stress, chronic illness or disease, travel, age. A lot of these things are not in your control. However, changing your daily behaviour is something that you do have full control over. What are behaviour goals? Behaviour goals are committing to practice a particular set of actions or tasks every day.

What does setting a behaviour goal look like?

Here’s a practical example:

Client: “I want to lose 5 inches around my waist.”

Me: “Let’s write that down as the outcome you want, but also set a behaviour goal to help you get there.”

[In my experience, this is a step that makes a huge difference, and it’s a great place to start.]

“It’s simple but incredibly effective: from now on, stop eating once you’re at 80% fullness. I know that may not seem to relate to dropping 5 inches around your waist, but eating to 80% fullness will help you naturally reduce your intake over time, as you will learn to tune into your hunger and fullness cues, and it will allow you to get used to stopping once you’re satisfied, versus when you’re absolutely stuffed. Would you be willing to try this first step and track this on your log sheet?”

Eating to 80% fullness more often than not leads to a lower intake requirement in the long term, which in turn often leads to fat loss.

Behaviours are conscious, while habits are subconscious. This is why we need to look at changing our behaviours until they become they become habitual.

When it comes to changing habits, we often look at changing too much in too short a period of time. With my clients, we focus on building one habit at a time; they can be as simple as:

- Have protein with each meal

- Drink at least 3-5 litres of water per day

- Eat a good serving of vegetables with each meal

Research has shown that when people try to change a single behaviour at a time, the likelihood that they’ll retain that beheaviour and turn it into a habit for a year or more, is greater than 80 percent. However, when attempting to tackle two behaviours at once, the chance for success drops below 35 percent, and when trying for three or more, the success rate plummets to less than 5 percent.

If you are looking to make positive and long-lasting changes to your Health & Fitness, less will always be more.

If you are struggling to make a change towards your Health & Fitness and don’t know where to start, contact me today!


Nicholas Noble-Willock


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