In my last post, I said that goals don’t matter nearly as much as other factors when it comes to making long-lasting changes. For instance, plenty of people start the New Year with the same goal of “losing weight,” but only a small percentage achieve their goal. An even smaller percentage maintain that through the year.
So if goals aren’t the deciding factors, what are?
1. Intrinsic motivation
2. Starting small
3. Reducing friction
4. Being relatively consistent
One of the first things you need to figure out is your intrinsic motivation, or your WHY for wanting to change. It rarely works if your WHY is extrinsic and/or finite e.g. “I want to lose 10 lbs. because I’m going on vacation.” Number one, it’s an extrinsic result (your physical appearance to the world) and number two, it’s finite (what happens after the vacation is over?)
While some people might achieve this goal with this kind of thinking, a better WHY would be something intrinsic and long-term. For instance, we have members who have lost weight and kept it off because they want “to be able to keep up with their kids” or “diabetes runs in my family and I want to avoid that.” It has less to do with the number on the scale and more about feeling more capable and alive in their own skin.
Motivation is strongest when an idea is fresh, but that soon fades. We go into the New Year ready to lose weight, read all of the books, pick up seven different hobbies, and conquer the world. And then life happens and before we know it, it’s December again.
So Step 1 to creating a long-lasting change is to find your intrinsic motivation – your WHY. Doing so will help you focus on what you’re doing when the motivation fades and you don’t feel like keeping up with these new habits.
Looking ahead, I’ll get down some really tactical tips for Steps 2-4. In the meantime, reply back and let me know what your WHY is, I’m curious!-Chris