Progress is a process
For many when we decide we are ready to make a change one of the first things we typically do is set a goal. You know the drill… “I need to lose 10 lbs for my niece’s wedding in July” or “We are going on vacation in March and need to drop a few lbs to look good in a swimsuit.” We have a thing that is “motivating” us to achieve. We have a reason to start, and we also have a time to stop. We are “all in” and highly motivated to complete the task because that’s the story we have been told for years….. Do this, it will make you happy, or feel more comfortable, or will give you confidence. But, what happens next?
“True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking.” –James Clear
If you have ever met with a service provider, like a coach, trainer, dietitian or other professional for a consultation these questions may be familiar to you:
“What are your goals?”
“Why is this important to you?”
These are important, not just because they are talking points, but they provide information that is crucial in gaining understanding into what the client is wanting to accomplish this and why they need to do it. While there are industry standards that professionals will uphold, their unique approaches may not work for everyone. This is why it is important to see if their service offered and approach meets expectations and are realistic. We are no different, we also want to know, only we choose to take this information and use it a bit differently.
There are likely several in the fitness industry who would disagree with the approach we take. While we understand the importance of goal-setting, we also feel that when we lead with this we go against what we feel is most important, long-term growth and sustainability. In our experience we have found those who put their effort and focus into showing up, have made greater progress and continue to stay active even if it's not with us. Conversely, those who begin their exercise program solely focused on an outcome, other than overall lifestyle improvement eventually seem to stop exercising altogether. While this is not always the case, it is much more prevalent than we should be okay with. This is why we question the true validity of goal-setting and planning and opt to use slightly different tactic based around habit creation. Having goals aids in direction, we just choose to use them differently.
While it is subjective to state that “My goal is to show up” or “I just want to feel better” or “I want to look better” we should not discount their validity. It is true the contexts of these statements are not objective and mostly impossible to measure, they can lead to major results and positive outcomes on a long enough timeline.
“Commitment to the process ultimately determines your progress.” – James Clear
Most “goal-setting experts” would not agree with our philosophy and the approach we take with lifestyle transformation. But, when asking several of our active clients what their goals were and why they where important we were not surprised at the responses.... To show up and consistently and do the things that aligned with who they were pursuing to become.
One states they wanted to become a runner; this didn’t mean they signed up for a marathon… it meant they started running. Another says they wanted to become a person who lived a healthier lifestyle. This meant doing the things that aligned with seeking better health for the long term… Not a 30 day challenge, a meal-replacement shake diet, or a 10 week kickboxing class. What it meant to them was committing to a process that put them on a path to a lifestyle of health. It meant an acceptance and an understanding that showing up and doing the work is an okay goal to have.
If we can offer some unsolicited advice... Look beyond. Be rigid enough to stick to it, but pliable enough to evolve when the time comes. Be open-minded enough to stay curious and entertain new ideas, not wishy-washy always chasing the newest thing. Understand that, for the vast majority, the simple path is still likely to be the most sustainable... If you aren’t planning to do it the rest of your life, really question starting it today!