Welcome to part two of the Constructs of Adherence series. A mind boggling, heart thumping, edge of your seat adventure of.......two blogs. Now that I've gotten you all riled up and ready to learn, let's dive in, shall we?
Before we continue, I do recommend that you go back to Part 1 and read Constructs of Adherence to set the table for you (because we're mainly talking about nutrition and training....see what I did there? Set the table? Nevermind).
Your goals are written down, your game plan is set, and motivation and inspiration are still blowing a gale force wind into your sails. You are unstoppable.....until those winds die down. You see, motivation is effective but extremely exhaustive, and unless you have a motor attached to your ship fueled by "willpower", you will get stuck. Willpower is the source you draw from when the going gets tough. It keeps you from going under. It brings you back to the surface when you want to give up. If we think about it, nutrition and training should be easy if all we have to focus our willpower fuel sources on is nutrition and training. But other things take your willpower away, as well. Family. Work. Friends. Pets. Willpower is not an infinite source. Willpower is finite. It can bring you back to the surface after a bad day, but it needs to be buoyed by discipline. Discipline is remembering your game plan when you want to binge eat a box of Captain Crunch cereal (with berries). Discipline is getting your training session in even though it took all of your energy just to make it through the work day. Discipline fills in those gaps when willpower starts to wane. Discipline brings you to the ultimate goal of nutrition and training. Habit.
Don't do someone else's workout. Your body is going to function differently than your friends, spouse, etc. This is not an excuse to do less work, but we all know someone who has over done it to keep up with a cookie cutter program (or friend) and they burn out before the month is over. Get a program regime that is tailored to you. Your age, experience, diet, sleep habits, and stress all play a role as far as how much work you can do in a given week.
When your nutrition plan becomes a habit your chances of success skyrocket. The less energy needed to adhere to your program, the easier it is to make it your daily routine. The likelihood of sticking to your new habits after you take a break from your diet is also much more promising. So keep in mind that there is a pot of gold at the end of your adherence rainbow. It may take 4-6 weeks to get there, but the reward is worth it.
Ah, passion. A deep affection for the process. People who are passionate about their craft have developed the habits and found something deeply special in those habits. For people passionate about nutrition love making their food, love the structure of their eating habits, and love how their eating habits make them feel. BUT! An important but. Passion, especially for nutrition, is not for everyone. It's a feeling, and all grown ups know, you can't tell people how to feel or promise someone they will feel this passion. All you need to know is that you can't reach passion without habit, and don't confuse passion for inspiration or motivation. Passion happens with practice.
The short story is adherence takes work. Consistent work. And it never ends in a few weeks or months. Wherever you are in your journey apply these 6 steps and see where it takes you.
By Jessica Sunier
There are numerous articles already printed about goal setting, and each of them have something valuable to offer. I am a firm believer that goal setting strategies are as varied as the individual and studying multiple ways to achieve a skill set should be part of someone’s personal growth process. The two most common strategies I have seen are the “purpose driven” mindset and the “S.M.A.R.T.” approach.
Purpose driven mindsets are good because they have that one major goal that you focus on. We will call these “telescope” goals and they should be set months or years into the future. Telescope goals are the big picture goals. That purpose and hunger for something more or better.*
S.M.A.R.T. goals is something we have heard many times. S, for specific; M, for measurable; A, for attainable; R, for realistic; and T, for timely. This model also fits nicely into “microscope” goals. The hourly, daily, and weekly intention that chips away at our telescope goal. We use the S.M.A.R.T. model at FitPOWER, but for years I have been struggling with this model. For many this method may be enough, but after reviewing multiple goal sheets I have found that my clients have trouble breaking them down even further. This is where I come in as a coach and try to figure out why some of my clients, much like myself, have trouble really diving into the S.M.A.R.T. model. What did I find? I found I needed to take the elements of that model and break them down into even more microscopic goals, and here is how I did it: Input vs. Output vs. Outcome.
I stumbled upon “Output vs. Outcome” when my husband and I were discussing goal setting similarities between those in the worlds of tech and strength. The minute he brought it up I was curious, and when it was mentioned again in a nutrition course I’m taking I started paying attention. Historically I tended to ignore signs slapping me in the face, but after a major slap a few years ago I have become more aware when something is being pointed out to me. As it turns out, this model helped me break down and see my goals clearer than I had in awhile. Let's take a look at the model and apply it to your goals.
When we talk about goals we are referring to a desired outcome. These outcomes vary person to person and while they may feel identical to goals you have seen before, they won’t look the same across the board. It is actually a complex system with many situations that you can control, and many that you cannot. Reaching your goal is the outcome. It is the final destination, the result of hard work, small consistent decisions, access to resources, a little bit of luck, and a touch of unicorn dust. When it comes to goals and outcomes, if someone tells you it’s black and white, a “you do it or you don’t” situation, they’re lying.
Finally we have reached inputs. Input is the energy, willpower, and dedication, as well as physical tangible objects, we have to put towards our goals. Inputs are what you put into your system that converts to outputs which equals your outcome. This is part of goal setting that I see clients, myself included, not paying enough attention to, and these guys deserve our focus.
If we shift back to the S.M.A.R.T. model for a moment, your inputs should have their own model dedicated specifically to them. Your inputs need to be obnoxiously specific, and you need to be able to measure how much or how little energy you dedicate to them. How much attention are you giving your most microscopic goals? Next we need to accept that all of our inputs may not be attainable every day. There must be some give and take. A little ebb and flow. As long as the majority of your inputs can be attained daily you have wiggle room. However, here is where some clients fall short and get frustrated.
If you find yourself unable to sustain your inputs you have to ask yourself if these inputs are realistic in the timeframe you’ve allowed yourself. This is where the “aha” moment comes in. If many of your inputs are hard to attain in the time frame you have set for yourself, perhaps one of your inputs should be a goal or skill you need to focus on first.
Below I have included a personal flow chart I created for myself. It includes my first goal I have set for September 2nd of this year. All of the extreme specifics I have logged on a personal platform for my eyes only, but you can see below that my inputs are as specific as in order to purchase healthy food I need to have money. Yes, that specific. Why? Because this means part of my time in my day has to be devoted to earning an income. This is what we mean by your goals are not black and white.
I hope this helps someone out there create an even more specific way to approach your goals. As I stated earlier, this is one method, and it works well for someone like myself who needs data and a laid out plan. If you are someone who finds the more information they receive the more anxious they get, either because you feel you are underperforming if you don’t hit numbers by a specific deadline or the idea of being this diligent is an added stressor, then there are other methods we can explore. Feel free to reach out to me or your coach and let us help find the most effective approach for you.
*Before you should want more for yourself you have to accept your starting point. It does not mean that your life isn't good the way it is, or that there is anything wrong with you. Wanting more for yourself is what keeps you learning, growing, and evolving.
By Jessica Sunier
This particular conversation about adherence was given by Dr. Mike Israetel of Renaissance Periodization, and is specific to nutrition and training. However, it can be altered to most goals you set for yourself. The first thing you need to remember is that adhering, which is the commitment to a person, cause, or belief, is multi-layered. There is a timeline, and it reveals itself at very specific moments along that chronology.
This is your "WOW" moment. That kick in the butt to get you started. Inspiration can be positive or negative. You may have seen a picture of yourself and thought, "I don't look very healthy, and I need to change", or you saw a movie with some excellent dance moves and you were immediately inspired to look up local dance studios. Either way, it got you moving in a different direction than the path you were currently on.
The downfall of inspiration? It is so short lived. Inspiration is literally that JOLT that stirs you to move, and it can die in as little as 24 hours. How can you help inspire yourself and others? First, be a leader by setting the example. Second, don't humiliate someone or down play a goal they may have. It is not your place to drag others down because of an insecurity you may have about the other persons intent. Third, educate yourself on the risks of not pursuing this purpose. Specifically, diet and training. Finally, research other people's success with this similar goal and make sure these stories are realistic and parallel to the goals you set for yourself.
Motivation is the desire to do something about your goal. This is where movement happens, and it can last as little as a few days, to as long as a few weeks. Motivation has many highs and lows, so it is very important that you write specific goals down at this stage. When writing your goals, remember to be S.M.A.R.T.
Our form analysis consult contains a goal sheet at the end of an extensive questionnaire that allows me to really see how serious new clients are about their goals. I am a big believer that the more depth and texture you give your goals, the more realistic and reachable they become.
If motivation is a feeling, then intention is a commitment. The word goal is a noun, and can become flat without given intent. To do something with intent gives that goal more gusto. More oomph. Intention fills in those adherence gaps when motivation gets low, and motivation will get low. If you think everyone is incredibly motivated all of the time then you are only observing their highlight reel. It is exhausting to be motivated 24/7, and it is unrealistic for many, if not most, people. Your lows need to be embraced, and you need to call on intention to push you over that hump. This is why writing down very specific goals is important. They serve as reminders as to why you started this journey. But goals alone aren't enough. You need a game plan, because the world will not replay itself the same way, day in and day out. Learning how to roll with the waves and applying back up plans to rougher days is how you stay strong even in your weakest moments.
These are the steps that everyone goes through. Constructs of Adherence: Part 2 will uncover steps 4-6 which include discipline, habit, and passion. These are our destination steps, and as intention and motivation wanes, steps 4-6 become harder and harder to reach. But it's doable. I suggest for this week you think of things that have inspired you, motivated you, and what intent you put behind those goals. Think back to the precise moment you stopped adhering to your purpose, and why you gave up. If you didn't give up, how long did it take you to start again?
This article was cross-posted from www.jessicasunier.com after attending a seminar in August of 2018. Some views have evolved but the foundation of adherence outlined in the article remain the same.