It's okay to be frustrated with the way we look. If you're unhappy with the shape of your body, you're not alone. With obesity rates approaching 40% and over 60% of the country statistically overweight, most people are unhappy with their current state of appearance.
Most people then initially start off thinking "I need to lose weight." That's a pretty general statement. It's a goal, but it's an outcome goal. It's worthy of your attention and will most likely lead you to
So what do you need to do to achieve that outcome?
Eat less? Good.
Eat less junk? Better.
Eat protein with every meal? Best.
Exercise more? Good.
Exercise more than I do now? Better.
Exercise 4 times per week? Best.
These are behavior goals. These are what is needed to be set to achieve the outcome goal. You see the outcome is basically a side effect of achieving behavior goals.
If a college basketball player wants to improve their free throws they need to work on technique and the volume of quality free throws. In other words they need to work towards mastery.
Precision Nutrition recently put up a blog post about goal setting. If you've got 10-minutes, it's definitely worth your time to read.
I hear you now asking, "If goal setting is good, how can setting the wrong goals lead to failure, Aaron?"
Without setting behavior goals, you're not going to have a road map to success. It's like saying "I want to go to Beverly Hills. Let's hit the road!" But you leave with out a map: just driving away from Bakersfield won't get you to Long Beach. In fact, you could end up going in the wrong direction!
In that case the person who says "I want to lose weight" but doesn't think about what is needed to achieve that goal, might hit their goal. Yet, it will probably take you much longer and there will be a lot of trial and error.
So setting behavior goals is akin to getting directions to Beverly Hills and taking action steps to get there. (ie. Take CA-99 South, merge on to I-5 South, take I-405 South).
Your behavior goals for losing weight should be fairly specific and clear. For example, "Eat 3 fist sized servings of vegetables per day" is specific and clear. Another behavioral goal we have set is to "replace calorie laden drinks with water." With this goal, we aim to reduce calories and improve hydration levels by increasing water intake and reducing sugary drink intake. Pretty simple, pretty clear. Right?
When you have behavior goals, it is much easier to measure success. Where as success with outcome goals is measured at the end of the time period, behavior goals can be improved upon daily, even hourly! If you are successful with behavior goals, being successful with outcome goals will practically be a side effect!
So think about some behavior goals that can lead you to your desired outcome goal. In other words, what do you have to do (behavior goal) to lose 10-lbs (outcome goal)?
List 3 behavior goals that you can accomplish on a daily basis that will improve your health.