Mar 07, 2013 03:47PM
By Chuck Swain
In my last post, “So how is your New Years Resolution going for you?” I reported on the abysmal results (60-75% failure rate) that New Years resolutions have for the people making them. We covered the first step in improving your results, establishing your WHY.
If you have not done that yet, please do it now before moving on to the next step. If you aren’t sure how to determine the deep, emotional reason(s) why you want/ need to make the change then try a method taken from industry. A process called The Five Why’s Root Cause Analysis.
Essentially you ask the question “Why?” five times. For example:
Q1. Why do I want to lose weight?
A. Because I am tired of being fat.
Q2. Why am I tired of being fat?
A. I don’t like how I look in my clothes.
Q3. Why don’t I like how look in my clothes.
A. I don’t think I look attractive.
Q4. Why do you want to look attractive?
A. I want to attract the person of my dreams.
Q5. Why do you want to attract the person of your dreams?
A.I would be happy.
So…I want to look better in my clothes, to attract the right person into my life and be happy. This becomes the anchor for the change that you come back to when things become challenging or stressful. Get it? Good. So now that we have a strong, emotional WHY. The next step is HOW.
On the face, the HOW of most resolutions seems pretty simple. If the goal is to get out of debt, it is as simple as save (or make) more, spend less and pay off your debts. But if the HOW is so simple why are you in debt in the first place? Well, much like the reason for needing a WHY. The HOW is also about emotions, not just logic. Money expert Dave Ramsey says it isn’t about what works mathematically (i.e. paying off largest interest rate first) it is what works emotionally to sustain change (i.e. paying off smallest debt first, getting early wins that fuel you to stay on the path). This is also true in our example of losing weight.
You Can't Outwork a Crappy Diet
If you look at it from a purely logical, mathematical perspective the first (maybe only) thing you would change is what you eat. Mathematically, your ability to burn additional calories will always be small compared to you ability intake calories. As we often say to our athletes, “You can’t outwork a crappy diet.” Behaviorally speaking, adding exercise seems to yield a better result in BOTH (burning and intake) sides of the equation. When you have just had an intense workout of the day (WOD): First, your appetite is suppressed for a bit and secondly when you consider eating calorically dense food (candy bar, cheese cake, etc.) you are now confronted with the fact that it will undermine the effort you just put into that challenging WOD.
This helps to tip the emotional / behavioral balance of the equation in your favor. After going through this process you may find that your initial goal was not exactly what you were after. When we got through the Five Why process the REAL tacit goal was to look better in our clothes so we could attract a certain person and be happy. Could that happen without losing weight? Yep. I have seen it with our athletes. People gain muscle, lose fat, drop clothing sizes, look incredible and weigh about the same.
So, if we pay attention as we work through the WHY and HOW processes. We may be able to more precisely define our desired outcome to create a SMART goal. What a SMART goal is, and why you want one, will be covered in the next post.