Episode 2 – How to Focus on Behaviours Instead of Outcomes to Improve Your Fitness

Written by Jonathan

Most people think they have to make extreme changes in how they live because they want to see massive changes in their body, but extreme and overly restricted changes are not necessary.  Small changes over time can lead to massive overall changes that last a life time.  They last a lifetime because they are small and you implement them slowly enough they become part of your life. Meaning they are much more likely to stick.

Yesterday I wanted you to pick one thing to change, that’s it.

Even the smallest changes can be hard and there is something that I didn’t make 100% clear. The one thing you need to change shouldn’t be an outcome it should be a behaviour. I will repeat this because it is by far the most important part of the episode.

The thing you need to change shouldn’t be an outcome it should be a behaviour.

So what do I mean by that. Let’s say you picked the simple goal of drinking more water during the day, that is a great goal but still not very helpful. How are you going to drink more water everyday?

Are you going to get a water bottle, keep it at your desk all the time and refill it every time it gets empty?

Are you going to ‘gameify’ it and drink every time you hear the phone ring?

Are you going to wake up first thing in the morning and drink a big glass to get your day started?

Are you going to set your alarm to remind you throughout the day?

These are the types of things you need to focus on. The behaviour changes you need to make to get the outcome you want.

You want to remove as much friction as possible and be as specific as possible to make your changes work for you.

As a real life example I have a client that I started working with 5 years ago. she was looking for the outcome of losing weight, feeling stronger and being healthier.  We would train together once a week and she would walk or swim on her own 3 or 4 times a week.

These are the behaviours I had her add to her life so she would be much more likely to swim 2 times a week:

1. Pack her pool bag the night before so she just has to grab it when she is rushed in the morning.

2. Have at least two bathing suits so there are no ‘is my suit dry’ issues when packing that bag the night before

3. Schedule a time to swim in her calendar as if it was an appointment, which was always right after work.

4. Get a membership at a pool that was exactly on her way home from work.

5. Create the rule that she wasn’t allowed to drive home until she went for her swim.

She made all these changes and they encouraged her to swim on a very regular basis, did she swim everyday she was supposed to, no. But she did swim consistently and much more than she was before we started working together. Before we started working together she never went, so that’s a big time win.

What are the behaviours you need to change to make the one change you want to make happen? Make it as simple as possible none of the changes I recommended were complicated, you might even feel they are too simple, which is exactly why we did the reframe episode about how you think about exercise, health and fitness first.

This is a process not an outcome so let’s make it as simple and specific as possible. You know what I also want you to write it down and if you don’t feel at least 90% confident that it’s a behaviour you can change I want you to pick different behaviours. I want you to stay motivated so we need to set you up for quick wins, and being 90% confident you can actually do something give you pretty good odds.

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