Compliance: a How-to guide

3 01 2013

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to lose weight, get stronger, be healthier or all of the above, compliance is always the key determinant to reaching our goals. If we make a plan and stick to it, we’ll achieve success. If we fail to comply to our plan, we will never reach our desired outcomes.  So how can you stick to that diet when there are so many temptations? How can you reach that Personal Best if you don’t put in the effort in the gym? We all control our own outcomes, but here are some tips for setting yourself up for success.
Changing/forming habits

Prior to setting goals, I think it is important to address our human nature. When looking to change our habits, we must be realistic and progress at a reasonable rate. We should start by making one change at a time; our goals will be much easier to reach if we take several small steps instead of trying to flip our lives upside-down in one fell swoop. Making too many lifestyle adjustments too quickly can be very overwhelming and it is human nature to fall back into old, comfortable habits.

Looking to lose weight? Start by removing one or two junk food items from your diet (remove these items from your home, don’t put them on your grocery list) and replace them with fruits and vegetables.

Looking to save money? Commit to removing one frivolous expense from your life (maybe it’s junk food- win-win!)

Once we are mentally ready to commit to just a few changes, we are ready to set goals and are prepared for success.

Goal-setting

1) Write down your goals – this will help you hold yourself accountable; you will be able to see it, and it will feel more tangible.

2) Set specific, measurable goals – quantify your goals; don’t make a vague statement, use precise numbers and you’ll have a real goal to shoot for.

3) Give your goals a timeline – an open-ended goal is a goal without urgency; setting a timeline will keep you more engaged and on track.

4) Make sure your goals are realistic – Goals should be physically attainable and with a realistic understanding of the time it will take to achieve success.

Outcome goals vs. Behavior goals

An Outcome Goal is the final goal that you plan to achieve; you can’t directly control the accomplishment of this without a series of Behavior Goals that will ensure the outcome.

Eg) I will lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.

A Behavior Goal is a step required to accomplish your Outcome Goal.  Setting multiple realistic Behavior Goals will ensure a successful outcome.

Eg) I commit to reducing my calorie intake by 500 calories daily. I will go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4pm.

Setting yourself up for success

Once you have set attainable Behavior and Outcome Goals, you will need to put yourself in the best position to succeed:

1) Use visual cues: Make sticky notes with your goals on them.

2) Make physical preparations: Clear your house of foods that aren’t on your diet. Pack your lunch for the day. Set your clothes out in advance.

3) Plan ahead: Decide on a healthy meal choice before going out to a restaurant. Rehearse saying no to alcohol at parties. Plan specific times in your calendar to get to the gym.

4) Record and Track progress: Write down the meals that you eat. Keep a workout log at the gym.

5) Keep a social support system: Find a workout/diet partner, or someone you can call to help motivate you to stick to your Behavior Goals. A coach or trainer is also a great resource to keep you on track; don’t be afraid to make a phone call and ask for advice/motivation.

There is no exact science to setting and achieving goals, but if you follow the steps above, the odds of succeeding will be in your favour. For more information on goal-setting and compliance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

Plan ahead. Be disciplined. Achieve your goals.

DW

Sources:

The Essentials of Sport and Nutrition. John Berardi, Ryan Andrews. Precision Nutrition.