The Number One Mistake: Disconnecting from the Present
Sometimes mental readiness for change is not on the same page as the goals that are set. For instance, far too often does a person have a vision of the ideal version of themselves; what they want to look like, what they want to weigh, what outfits they want to wear. And at the same time, not often enough does that same person have a vision of what actions they took to become that person, the time they dedicated to accomplish this and how that time is used. Too much time is spent in the mental space of tomorrow and too much time is also spent in the mental space of yesterday. Not enough time is spent in the mental space of what can be done today. In other words, too much time is spent dwelling on an outcome, and not enough time is spent developing and implementing actions.
Getting Started: Cultivate Self Awareness
Cultivating self-awareness is quite possibly the greatest gift a person can give themselves; especially when it comes to lifestyle change. We’ve seen it many times before at H3. Someone who is disconnected from themselves does not achieve long term success. On the other hand, we also see that those who are in-tune with themselves have a high success rate. Whether it is tuning into your hunger levels using the hunger scale, tuning into your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) during a workout, or simply knowing how ready you are for change when approaching a new goal. A great tool for detecting your own personal readiness for change is the trans-theoretical model.
Monitoring your Readiness: Using the Trans-theoretical Model
The trans-theoretical model is a tool used commonly by counselors and coaches in knowing how to best guide clients through finding the level of readiness in directing energy effectively for goal setting. Below is the progression of the trans-theoretical model.
During the pre-contemplation and lapse phases of this model, it's unwise to goal set as your confidence is too low. We recommend focusing your energy on something else at this time. Once you start to hit the contemplation and preparation phases be careful with goal setting as your confidence is still fragile. Goal setting comes easily and your confidence is high once you're at the action and maintenance phases.
A person may have a vision of themselves that weighs 60 lbs. less consuming 100% whole foods and can run a 5k without stopping. That same person may laugh out loud at that vision thinking, “I can’t… there is no way… I am too old now.” Not only is this person not physically capable of achieving that vision today, they are not mentally ready to achieve that vision today. It is too unrealistic. This person is dwelling too much on tomorrow, and not enough on today. In reference to the trans-theoretical model, this person would be under the pre-contemplation phase. It is unwise for this person to goal set with this vision as their standard to success. Confidence is too low and chances of experiencing feelings of failure are high. It’s much more challenging to bounce back when feeling defeated.
A wiser approach is to focus on areas where you feel that, “I might”…. Or… “I will.” Perhaps this person feels that they “will” be able to walk 1.5 miles without stopping. Perhaps this person feels that they “might” be able to consume 100% whole foods for lunch only each day. These are behaviors that mentally feel like are within reach. They are perceived as achievable. When goals feel achievable, it is easier to seriously pursue them. Not only that, it is easier to be successful with them, and success leads to more success.