If you didn’t, here is what BJ Fogg and colleagues have to say (w/o remedies): Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change
- Relying on willpower for long-term change
- Attempting big leaps instead of baby steps
- Ignoring how environment shapes behaviors
- Trying to stop old behaviors instead of creating new ones
- Blaming failures on lack of motivation
- Underestimating the power of triggers
- Believing that information leads to action
- Focusing on abstract goals more than concrete behaviors
- Seeking at the outset to change a behavior forever, not for a short time
- Believing that behavior change is always difficult
This a fantastic summation of what applied behavior analysts the world over are trying to do; reverse these ten myths.
Now, on to the post:
How reach your goals = TELL THE TRUTH
Care enough to chart is what I really want to say, but I understand that many people really don’t share that sentiment. Or aren’t ready to. Or don’t understand what I mean. What charting boils down to is keeping accurate records of many elements of your training (or life), so that you can look for patterns or relationships between those elements that might explain your success, failures, or surprises. All that data in really valuable!
I keep track of a lot of things this way, and believe me or don’t, it takes me far less time than this blog does. Charting this way also lets you know what you do or don’t need to keep track off. For example, my charts showed me that I don’t need to count calories or keep a detailed food journal. That, in fact, those practices were having the reverse effect than what I was going for!
In the media and your own public life
I get really annoyed when very slim models and actresses say “Oh, there is no secret to keeping my figure. I eat pizza and burgers like anyone else.” Statements of this type get under my skin because, well, they are lying. Or, if I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, I will accept that these people have no idea how the average person faces their day. Make that body, or diet.
I think if beautiful, high profile people were more honest, like Anna Paquin, we would make some progress in getting away from the quick fix/gimmick obsession. She said (in the July issue of Self Magazine):
“I’m really careful about what I eat. It’s not like this [body] is an accident. It’s the what-you-would-eat-if you- were-being-photographed-in-a-bikini-tomorrow diet. I don’t want to be one of those actresses who says, “I eat cheeseburgers all the time.” I don’t! I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. I never eat fast food. I’m getting better at taking care of myself without depriving myself, though. Dessert once a week won’t kill me.”
If you have had success with your own health and fitness goals, be honest. Don’t tell people, well, I just stopped drinking soda. Or, I just started going to the gym a few times a week. Be honest about all the hard work and the probable domino effect that initial change, such as a weekly spin class, or ditching the sugary beverages had on your life. Maybe you aren’t aware of it. But I am willing to bet that if you change one habit, or add a new one, others change, or emerge.
Action begets activity. Action begets success. Action begets creativity. Action begets knowledge.
When I was in college a mentor of mine said: “there is no muse, only momentum” and I will never forget it. Motivation won’t drop from the sky, but once you get moving, you’ll want to move more.
My point is, that if you want to experience success in your health and fitness goals (heck, with ANY goals), you must report, even to yourself, with accuracy. Not to be mistaken with honesty. Accuracy. (see above: In planning)
In encouraging others
If a friend of mine (or client) is frustrated and says to me something like: “I have been doing everything right and I gained 4 pounds this week, what the heck!” My initial reaction, like most people, is that I want to make them feel better. Do often on t.v. or in magazines, you hear people say “don’t worry, you are on track you are just gaining muscle from all the new activity”. (A trainer on A&E’s “Heavy” said this, just last week!)
Here are some industry-standard/golden rules. (If you want links to studies and other articles, please leave a comment or email me directly and I will happily supply them, but for ease of reading I shall leave then out here)
- healthy, sustainable weight loss is .5 to 3lbs per week. (depending on your body composition, and source)
- It takes between 7 and 10 days to gain 1 pounds of muscle (with proper nutrition and possibly supplementation)
- There is a relationship between exercise and nutrition and vice versa.
- The relationship between YOUR body and certain foods and exercises is different from OTHERS bodies and those same foods and exercises. (again, keep records!)
- Even with #4 in mind, you are a human, and human bodies follow certain trends like: you can’t go to McDonald’s after a run and expect to lose weight. You need rest to make progress. You need adequate calories and nutrients to lose fat and/or gain muscle.
So if you or a friend are not making the progress you desire take an accurate look at what you (or they) are doing. Sometimes we try to be honest with ourselves but honestly forget that we have 3 glasses not 1 glass of wine when we go out for a sushi dinner with the girls on Tuesdays, or honestly forget that we eat the kid’s leftovers at lunch and dinner, or forget that there are 400 calories of cream and sugar in our daily coffee breaks, sometimes we honestly think we worked out hard for 60 minutes, honestly forgetting that 10 minutes were spent channel surfing and not moving, and 10 minutes were spent chatting in the locker room…you get the gist here.
Now go forth and count something accurately. :)