Less than 10% Lose Weight Permanently. If you read last week’s blog you know I gave up a “dirty secret” of the fitness industry: namely that probably less than 10% of the people who come to us with a weight loss goal actually lose weight permanently and become a different person. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you make this your life’s work. Click here to read my reflections regarding that dilemma, and our formula for doing something about it.
Your Role as a Change Agent. Whereas last week I focused on the issue of change being a lengthy (and often emotional) process exercise professionals are rarely trained in, the next few weeks I want to focus on the other side of the equation- the role of person who is actually seeking the change. Even if we are great at coaching both exercise and the change process, at the end of the day, the client has to have the right mentality and put in the work.
This will begin a seven-part series (I may write more if I really get on a roll) I’m calling, “The seven reasons you’ve not reached your health and fitness goals.” So without further ado here’s the first.
#1 You Didn’t Plan for the Emotional Toll of Change.
Perhaps the #1 thing that derails people after they’ve set a goal is they expect to act logically when they are being emotional. It’s virtually impossible. And guess who is emotional about the change process…all of us. Every time a well-created plan goes awry, it produces an emotional reaction (how much more emotion is produced by a poorly conceived plan?). Ladies often get a bad wrap for “being too emotional,” but I’ve found many guys are even worse about it because we tend to think we’re being logical when we’re actually highly irrational. In other words, we have a harder time recognizing our own emotions and dealing with them…but I digress.
Emotional Mastery? Emotion can get a bad rap (sometimes deservedly so), but being emotional can be good or bad. Reality is, people change for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation…yeah, those are emotions. The change process is much more about the management of emotions than it is the creation of a plan. Plans are cheap and common. Emotional mastery is rare.
Path of Least Resistance. When the change process bogs down, and it certainly will, we naturally prefer the path of least resistance because, in the moment, it’s less emotionally taxing. The desire for the easier way tends to pull us in a direction we ultimately don’t want to go…thus the cycle of being stuck revisiting the same goals. Developing the counter-intuition to embrace struggle, and the emotions that come with it, is hard work!
- It’s not hard to drink water, but water is an emotional let down when you’re used to always having some other flavor in your drink.
- Finding time to exercise is emotionally harder than watching TV, getting up early or saying yes to something else you’d rather be doing with your non-working hours.
- Planning your meals is not a logically bad course of action, but adjusting your grocery shopping frequency when you’d rather do something else with that time is an emotional reaction, not a logical one.
Emotional Buffers. My point is, usually in moments of clarity about what we need to change, we plan the logical steps we think will move us forward. Problem is, what we so often fail to put into our plans are emotional buffers, or ways to pivot around a challenge so we get back to our goals. Thinking ahead to where we “won’t feel like it” is something we need to account for. Not accounting for emotions is where our goal achieving breaks down. Life will have a “glitch,” a “flat tire” here and there, but those things happen to everyone, and we have to be able to adjust our plans—logically and emotionally.
Hard Questions. My challenge to you is to find people who will help you when you’re emotional, and when you’re emotionally removed from the behavior you’re trying to overcome. In both instances, give those people permission to speak into your life and allow them to ask you hard questions that will help you see patterns and perspective to become a new person. And when they do it, don’t get upset with them. If you trust them, then trust their intentions and remember you asked them to do so. They may not always have the answer (or the best questions), but they can probably be more objective about it than you are and chances are you’ll both be better for it. All three pieces of the change process—better questions, personal plans, and accountability are your formula for real change.
Rock Solid Accountability. If you’d like help reaching your big goals, and especially if you know you need help with a particular aspect of the change process, consider joining our TRUE Accountability group. It’s one more way we seek to build community around here and it ranges from FREE to only $50 for a whole month or rock solid accountability. Don’t miss out!