Get Started at Be Strong with Process Goals

What’s the difference between a process goal and a normal goal?

If your normal goal is well planned then you can totally ignore this article as the outcome of your goal, (e.g. Be Fit at 50!) will have a number of processes underpinning it. However, not everybody is adept at planning a really solid, reliable and achievable goal. Setting a ‘process goal’ should really simplify things, as we forget about the end outcome (Be Fit at 50!) completely and concentrate on what actions we are going to take to get there – right from the very beginning.

Process goals are always particularly helpful for weight loss as they involve changes in behaviour, habits and tweaks to our daily routines that are crucial to long term success. The best thing about process goals is that they can be very short term which doesn’t make them as daunting and unachievable.

The best way to explain this is by giving you an example of a poorly planned long term outcome focused goal, versus a well planned short term process goal.

Long Term Outcome Focused Goal

Goal To lose ten stones in weight
Step 1 I will eat and drink less
Step 2 I will exercise more
Step 3 I will not fail!

Let’s start to examine this goal and assess where it’s gone wrong.

Goal

The overall goal will be a long way away. We’re not too sure that somebody can use that goal as their motivation to stay focused over such a long period of time. It would be better to set the goal as to lose a stone in weight in 7 weeks time. Straight away we have reduced the total time to achieve that goal by 90% and we have actually made the goal specific by adding the end date. Staying focused for 7 weeks is much easier than finding all that commitment and dedication for 70 weeks!

Step 1

Eating and drinking less may seem obvious, but what is ‘less’? If somebody is eating 5,000 calories per day, will 4,000 calories per day see them through to their goal? No, not at all, they will simply continue to gain weight but just at a slightly slower rate. It is absolutely crucial at this stage that you take the opportunity to learn more about nutrition, and¬†eating a balanced diet.

So, Step 1 for me would be to ” I will eat and drink no more than 1,400 calories per day and I will track (record) every item of food and drink before I put them in my body.”

This simply means that you eat to your calories that Be Strong provides you to lose weight at a sensible rate of 1 to 2lbs each week and understand the calorific value of anything you eat or drink before consuming them.

The idea behind tracking your food before you eat is that its another behaviour change, which is easily implemented and achievable, and you learn about which types of food and drink are high in calories, and which aren’t. This allows you to make better choices. It all comes down to how much you want it. We’ve lost count of the number of people who have said “Oh, I can’t be bothered doing that!” – we are pretty certain that for most of those people nothing will have changed much. On the other hand we absolutely know for certain that the majority of people who do this are either at goal or well on their way to it. Its all about putting your trust into something and being willing and open to try new things. Let’s be honest, we’re not asking you to scale Everest and its not forever.

Step 2

Exercising more will certainly help, but this doesn’t really tell us anything about what type of exercise, where, when or who with? It’s the correct topic to have in there, it just needs a little more detail and planning. Choose the exercise that you know you like. If you’ve been a member of a gym, and never really went, and when you did you just lounged in the jacuzzi, or sat on a machine checking your phone, then please don’t choose the gym again as your preferred method of exercise. You are not exercising here to lose weight and then it stops. You are choosing an exercise that becomes a permanent component of your new lifestyle!

So, what do you do if you have never ever enjoyed any form of exercise at all? Please choose something new! You just never know, you may like it. Couch to 5k, Pilates, Yoga, HIIT, Rounders, Netball, Walking are all things that are generally done in a group setting. Some are free, some aren’t. You make your choices based on what you think you may like and what you can afford. Ask others what they enjoy. Don’t forget the cost of any specialist kit. You don’t want to place any barriers in your way which will hold you back. We love exercise that takes place in a group, it brings far wider benefits, makes it more enjoyable and makes it highly likelier that you will attend and stay connected to it. I know that on our Couch to 5K programmes people made friends for life, they really did and as tough as learning to jog can be, not many ever dropped out. The power of mass or group participation should never be underestimated.

So, possibly this step may have been improved by adding “I¬†have joined the Couch to 5K programme to learn to jog for 5km in 9 weeks at Ewood Park. I will attend each session every Mon and Thu at 7pm and every Sat at 9am. I will lay my kit out the night before and attend every single session.”

Step 3

This really tells us nothing at all and I would replace this with something more routine which provides structure and accountability. I would also keep it simple as the first 2 steps are going to take up a large amount of time and effort, especially at 10 stones overweight.

So, Step 3 should be something along the lines of “I will attend Be Strong every Wednesday¬†evening at Accrington.¬† I will step on the scales every single week, whether its been a good or a bad one! I will listen to the talk to help motivate me and I will stay for the exercises¬† which will get help to get my body used to moving more.”

And here is our revised goal: –

Goal To lose one stone in weight
Step 1 I will eat and drink no more than 1,400 calories per day and I will track (record) every item of food and drink before I put them in my body
Step 2 I have joined the Couch to 5K programme to learn to jog for 5km in 9 weeks at Ewood Park. I will attend each session every Mon and Thu at 7pm and every Sat at 9am. I will lay my kit out the night before and attend every single session.
Step 3 I will attend Be Strong every Wednesday evening at Accrington.  I will step on the scales every single week, whether its been a good or a bad one! I will listen to the talk to help motivate me and I will stay for the exercises  which will get help to get my body used to moving more.
How long? I will do this for 7 weeks starting today

Short Term Process Goals

So, you can now see the long term goal and how to put one together, its not that difficult but does require a certain skill and aptitude to get it right. Process goals are much easier to put together and can be kept very simple. Definitely use these if you have never set goals before. It gets you used to the process of putting them together and promotes our ethos of small changes in behaviour, incrementally over a period of time, rather than a drastic lifestyle change that is hard to stick to.

At first, set one for the next 2 weeks and keep it to the basics, then you should review your progress and set the next one. We’ll use the person with 10 stones to lose an an example.

Process Goal 1 To get started on Be Strong
Step 1 I will eat and drink no more than 1,400 calories per day and I will track (record) every item of food and drink before I put them in my body
Step 2 I will walk for 30 minutes every Monday, Thursday and Friday at 7pm.

I will never miss a walk and stick to the time and day like glue!

Step 3 I will attend Be Strong every Wednesday evening at Accrington.

I will step on the scales every single week, whether its been a good or a bad one!

I will listen to the talk to help motivate me and I will stay for the exercises  which will get help to get my body used to moving more.

How long? I will do this for 2 weeks starting today
Process Goal 2 Up the ante!
Step 1 I will eat and drink no more than 1,400 calories per day and I will track (record) every item of food and drink before I put them in my body
Step 2 I will walk for 50 minutes every Monday, Thursday and Friday at 7pm.

I will never miss a walk and stick to the time and day like glue!

I will never take the lift at work, I’m using the stairs every single time!

Step 3 I will attend Be Strong every Wednesday evening at Accrington.

I will step on the scales every single week, whether its been a good or a bad one!

I will listen to the talk to help motivate me and I will stay for the exercises  which will get help to get my body used to moving more.

How long? I will do this for 3 weeks starting today
Process Goal 3 I’m getting confident now!
Step 1 I will eat and drink no more than 1,400 calories per day and I will track (record) every item of food and drink before I put them in my body
Step 2 I am learning to jog for 5km using the NHS Couch to 5K programme

I¬†have a friend who has completed the Couch to 5K programme to learn to jog for 5km in 9 weeks.¬† She has agreed to mentor me through the programme and we will meet every Mon and Thu at 7pm and every Sat at 9am at St Christopher’s School in Accrington.

I will lay my kit out the night before and attend every single session.

I will never take the lift at work, I’m using the stairs every single time!

Step 3 I will attend Be Strong every Wednesday evening at Accrington.

I will step on the scales every single week, whether its been a good or a bad one!

I will listen to the talk to help motivate me and I will stay for the exercises  which will get help to get my body used to moving more.

How long? I will do this for 9 weeks starting today
Process Goal 4 I’m not stopping now!
Step 1 I will eat and drink no more than 1,400 calories per day

I will use the knowledge I have learnt over the past 14 weeks (about nutrition and calories) to do this without tracking!

Step 2 I will go for a 5k run on Monday and Thurday at 6:30pm, Mercer Park, Clayon Le Moors with Clayton Chargers.

I am going with my Be Strong friends, my kit will be laid out the night before and I will never miss a session (injuries/illness excepted)!

Step 3 I will attend Be Strong every Wednesday evening at Accrington.

I will listen to the talk to help motivate me and I will stay for the exercises as they are helping improve my body shape.

How long? I will do this for 4 weeks starting today

Take Action

How much more inspiration do you need?

So, as you can see, there really is no excuse for you not to get started on setting goals straight away. All you need is a pen, paper and an open mind – but please remember, small steps, as in our examples. This makes it achievable and gets you set for success. Experiencing success for Rick and Rachel is absolutely what drove us on to be where we are today. It was always about building on the investments we made, which in actual fact are really solid foundations for what you’re striving to achieve. Don’t be one of the 97 out of every 100 people that reads this and does nothing.

Here’s a blank table to get you started – good luck!

Process Goal
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
How long?

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