In November I will be getting married to my amazing fiancée, and in preparation I started a workout regimen and began reeling in my dietary decisions. You know how they say the camera adds 10 pounds? In my wedding photos I want people to think that the camera has added 10 pounds… of muscle! Accomplishing this feat will require planning, action, and control of what Kerry Patterson (from the book “Change Anything”) coins the 6 Influences of Change. This month’s article will teach you how to identify these influences so that you can use them for the positive instead of having them throw you off track. As Kerry mentions in his book, you need to study your own behaviour in these 6 areas to truly change. As an added benefit, you can help me trim up by reading this article and holding me accountable; I am enlisting you all as my friends!
- 1.) Personal Motivation: What do you want to achieve? How does being trimmer or losing weight affect the quality of your life? For me the idea of having more energy, reduced joint stress, looking/feeling better and reducing my chance of disease is extremely motivating. But, sometimes when an impulse item (such as a brownie) is in our path we forget our long term objectives. Using tactics such as a motivational phrase (like “nothing tastes as good as healthy and energetic feel”) or carefully placed photos to remember what your motivation is helps you stay on track in times of challenge.
- 2.) Personal Ability: What skills do you possess to help you with your goals? Do you have an innate fortitude or do you need to bolster your skills? My knowledge of nutrition and understanding of the body help me when I try to change my health habits, and yet I still sometimes need to find new recipes that taste amazing and not feel like I am depriving myself. Simply reading food labels often turns me off of my junk food cravings, and researching new methods of exercise that are enjoyable and different help keep me intrigued and motivated.
- 3.) Social Motivation: Who are the people who lead you into temptation? Who are the people who help you succeed? A lot of times one of the biggest reasons that we fail at long term change is that we have people in our lives (accomplices) that deviate us from our paths. It is more difficult to eat right when friends are offering un-healthy foods, yet your friends can also help you stay on the right track by being your gym partners or cheering you on when you are feeling challenged. A lot of times you can turn your accomplices into cheerleaders by having a conversation about your goals and why they are important to you. Hopefully Ashley reads this article…lol (She tried to offer me a Turtle while I was writing it)!
- 4.) Social Ability: Can you recognize in advance what situations may cause you to deviate from your goals? Do you know what to do when your friends are offering you something that may send you off track? I recently had a birthday party that involved bowling and then dinner at a pub. If I had planned a little bit smarter we could have selected a healthier restaurant and saved me a few calories… We all are going to stumble occasionally so don’t let those stumbles become falls off the cliff, forgive yourself and move on.
- 5.) Structural Motivation: What incentives can you create for yourself to help you stay the course? What actions are you looking to incentivise to assist you in accomplishing your goals? The biggest determinant of your level of success and change is whether or not your habits are in line with the outcome you desire, and incentives are a great way to drive you to action. Most people create goals that incentivise the outcome; example - if I lose 20 lbs I will buy myself a new wardrobe. The problem with this form of incentive is that the outcome is too far in the future. Alternatively, incentivising positive habits makes your goal easier to achieve because you will be motivated to do the actions necessary for the goals accomplishment. For instance take trying to lose weight - incentivise the exercise itself. For example, if I exercise 3 times this week then on Saturday I can go to the new movie I want to see. Incentives don’t need to be large, they just need to motivate you.
- 6.) Structural Ability: How are you at creating structure and order in your life? Everyone that I know that is successful in any area of life has organization around whatever they are successful at. Set aside time in your day for exercise or pre-planning meals; if you have a dedicated time that is untouchable in your schedule you are more likely to do the action.
PS: If you are looking to learn more about how to lose weight join us at our metabolic weight loss talk ‘Spring Melt’ on Tuesday March 26 with Jeannie Kennedy. Contact the office at (403) 247-4257 to reserve your spot.