The Snowball Effect
2012 is here and as a New Year beckons us, so do resolutions. Those pesky resolutions that we had dutifully left behind a few weeks into 2011 are resurfacing. Maybe you did better than most people and completed everything you set out to do. But for those who try and fail again and again, there may be a better way.
Sometimes we put too much on our plate or we might go the wrong way about creating success and instead get nowhere. If you haven’t been as successful as you would have wanted to be then maybe restructuring your plan will help.
So what is your goal? Write it down and then write down how you will accomplish your goal. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds did you write down go to the gym 5 times per week, eat six small meals, cut calories, reduce carbs, and stop eating junk food? Or something along those lines?
Those are all great goals but maybe that is trying to do too much at once and it can be overwhelming. It’s better to make one change at a time because studies have shown you have an 85% chance of success. However if you try to change two things at once, your chances of success drop to around 35%. Three things at once? Almost zero.
Now you are saying - but if I only do one thing I won’t be as successful. Actually, you will be successful because you are going to create a “snowball” effect. You will work on one goal at a time. Focusing your time and energy on that one thing so you will be successful. First, you need a plan so get out your pen and paper and start writing.
1) Write down the goals that would have the most impact on your life this year. If you wrote down more than five, reduce that to the most important things you want to do. You can get to the rest of your list once you complete your most important, life changing goals.
2) List five or six behaviors you need to improve or change to reach your goals. What do you need to be doing that you're not doing? What bad habits do you need to kick? What good habits do you need to instill?
3) List these things from easiest to hardest.
4) "Maintain" all your other goals and focus your attention on the first thing on your list (the easiest one.) Spend two weeks just focusing on achieving that goal so that it becomes a habit.
5) Once that change has been made and ingrained, move up to the next item on your list and focus your efforts there.
6) One by one, knock out these changes and/or goals.
For example: Maybe you drink soda pop. First goal might be to stop drinking all soda pop - diet or regular.
Second goal might be to eat breakfast every day and control portion sizes at each meal. (I know that’s two but they go hand in hand).
Third goal might be going to the gym as soon as you get up or right after work. In fact, you scheduled gym time in your calendar.
Fourth goal? Start packing a lunch for work 3 or 4 times a week...and so on.
In 10 weeks or so - you stopped drinking soda pop and you eat breakfast everyday (which is a key factor in fat loss) while controlling portion sizes at every meal. These goals would "snowball" into a bigger overall effect with long-term success whereas trying to do all things at once would likely result in short term failure.
Once you simplify the process it gets easier and easier to achieve all of your goals. As you start doing more of the things you want to do, you will be happier and more satisfied.
Dillon Kreider, ACSM-CHFS, is a nationally certified personal trainer, fitness expert and the creator of The Fitness Lab, a premier fitness facility in Seattle, WA. Dillon has been helping people lose weight safely, quickly and permanently while getting into the the best shape of their lives for over 10 years. Visit facebook.com/FitnessLab