We talk a lot about goal setting in the health and fitness world, because of course setting goals is easy and everybody has something you want to achieve.
But what I think sometimes gets lost in this discussion is the fact that many times when it comes to your health and fitness a goal is just an outcome that you can't directly control.
What I mean by that is that whether or not your body changes and adjust to the degree that you have set a goal has nothing to do with that particular goal. It has everything to do with the actions you take and the behaviors you change in the process of moving towards that goal.
A goal is just an outcome. You can't just manifest it, as amazing as that would be. You can't take direct action or get a direct result in many cases. For example, setting a goal to lose 10 pounds, that's all well and good. But just setting the goal doesn't make the goal happen. And you can't technically control whether or not your body will decide to shed 10 pounds, just like you can’t control where you’ll lose weight from (only lose weight from your abs? sorry! No such thing)
What you CAN control are all the contributing factors, all the necessary required actions, all the things that YOU directly can take responsibility for. Things like drinking 8 glasses of water a day, going for a walk for 30 minutes 5 days a week, getting your strength training sessions in three times a week for 30 minutes, going to bed 30 minutes earlier every night to get quality sleep, or eating vegetables with every meal. These are all things you have 100% control over because they are your actions and your habits, not the outcome or result you hope they will bring.
Now how often do you track your habits? Are your habits the things that you’re tracking?
So many people set a weight loss goal, and then only track their weight. They only hop on the scale as a measure of whether or not they're achieving the goal or the outcome, right?
But, what if instead you actually tracked all your necessary required actions?
What if you checked off all the boxes of the stuff that you've identified as part of your action plan to achieve your outcome?
What if every day you check the box for activity, check the box for eating vegetables, check the box for drinking water?
Is this a more productive use of our time energy and focus? I would say absolutely! Because these are the things we can directly control, these should be the things we put our energy towards. Not that agonizing ‘please give me good news’ game of hope where you hop on the scale to see what your body's reaction to your actions is.
Instead let’s focus on the actions themselves. Focus on what you can control. Focus on what you can take ownership of and responsibility for.
And if you've correctly identified reasonable action steps, eventually you will achieve the outcome that you're looking for. And even if it doesn't happen exactly on schedule, you can look back over the course of a few weeks or even a few months, and see a history of whether or not you put the necessary effort in.
If you honestly checked your boxes for everything you committed to doing, you should be able to feel good and feel like that you made a successful effort, and not have your success depend upon just the outcome by itself.
Actions speak louder than words, and it’s time we placed a higher value on the actions not just the outcomes for our fitness goals. Let's instead take ownership of what we can control, and do our part towards achieving our goals. The results will take care of themselves.