Set Process Goals (becoming a “Healthy Thinker” trait #2)

Set Process Goals (becoming a “Healthy Thinker” trait #2)

To quickly recap-
I believe there are 5 traits that you should work at if you are trying to become a “healthy thinker.” These traits are:
1. Choose process over outcome.
2. Set process goals.
3. Surround yourself with like minded people.
4. Have a plan.
5. Share your desire to become a “healthy thinker.”

In this post I will discuss trait #2, setting process goals.

Process goals are the goals that you must set if you want to have any chance of reaching your outcome goals. An example of a process goal would be setting a goal of exercising 30 minutes per day 5 days per week. In order to reach your outcome goal (weight loss, being in better shape, etc.) you must set, and follow, your process goals. Do you think you can become a millionaire without having a process in which you will make your million? Yet people seem to set weight loss goals without truly and realistically committing to the process that it takes to lose weight. Do you think you could compete in an Ironman Triathlon without setting process goals that will allow you to tackle such an event? Yet people think losing 5 pounds a week should be as easy as pie.

As I discussed in my “process over outcome” blog, you should put your commitment and faith in the process. If you commit to the process, and you are not reaching your outcome goals, you should reassess your process goals and outcome goals. Did the successful business person that made a million get it right the first time, probably not. Did the Ironman have his or her best time their first time doing an Ironman, probably not.

So why do we give in so fast when we are trying to reach our health and fitness goals?

The reason we do not reach our health and fitness goals is because our process goals do not line up with our outcome goals. We may set an outcome goal of losing 2 pounds per week, but do we know what it takes to lose 2 pounds of FAT per week? In order to lose 1 pound of fat we must exercise off and/or reduce our calories by approximately 3,500. That’s right, there is approximately 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat. So if our goal is to lose 2 pounds of fat we must exercise off and/or reduce our calories by 7,000. If my math is correct that is a 1,000 calorie per day deficit we must create. Yikes!!! Can you realistically create that much of a calorie deficit, probably not.

So we must set realistic outcome goals that are in tune with our process goals. If I can realistically exercise 5 days per week for the 30 minutes per day (approximately burning 250 calories per session x 5 = 1,250 calories per week), and reduce my bad calories by 200 per day (200 x 7 = 1,400 per week), I can have a goal of creating a caloric deficit of 2,650 calories per week, so not quite 1 pound per week.

The reason I discuss the equation above is not to discourage or frustrate. We must be realistic. Set your process goals based on what you realistically can commit to, and stick with. Set your process goals based on healthy thoughts and behaviors, not on unrealistic outcome goals. Set your process goals first, then figure out what the outcome will be.

Here are some examples of process goals:
-Go to bed 15 minutes earlier every night.
-Drink 16 more ounces of water every day.
-Take 15 minutes at work to go for a walk.
-Eat breakfast every day.
-Eat one more healthy snack every day.
-Eat one more piece of fruit every day.

Think about process goals that you can live with for the rest of your life. What can you begin to incorporate into your life that will make a long lasting difference.