From an Aspiration to a Behavioural Goal – A much-needed shift in focus
Here’s a page from my story –
The biggest aspiration that I have had for the last 25 years has been to lose weight and look a certain way. It had occupied so much of my headspace that all I could think of always was to get there. I tried everything to help me reach the desired outcome, but nothing ever lasted. I kept getting frustrated, I was disappointed with myself for not being able to stick to a program. Sometimes I even hated myself for all the self-sabotage moves.
Something changed inside of me last year, I realised that I was focusing on the wrong thing all along. Funnily the goal or the aspiration to look a certain way had actually stemmed from shame, it wasn’t even mine, to begin with. On one side I was reacting to shame either by pushing myself to prove my parents wrong or to feel validated by them. On the other hand, I could never relate to it nor identify with that “goal”. I was trying to live a societally driven desire for me to look a certain way.
Long story short, I realised after much reflection what I truly wanted to change…. I wanted to change the way I used food as my coping mechanism. I wanted to change my relationship not only with food but also with myself.
This awareness shifted my focus from just an aspiration to the need for a change in my behaviour and I started focusing on how to make those changes and what things I needed to do to see myself there. Here I am today 13kilos & 29 inches lighter, without even stressing about it, the lightest I have probably ever been (for most of my adult life that is). It’s not just the weight, believe me, I have shed a lot more than that. Most importantly my headspace is freer than ever.
So, first of all, ask yourself if the goal or the aspiration that you are chasing after is even yours?
Can you identify with it? Can you relate to it? If yes, skip the next step. If no, then ask yourself this simple question: “What do I want to change in any one aspect of my life?”
Having an aspiration is crucial, it is that first step that kicks in motivation & gives you that rush to start working on it. But this is also the stage where you carefully need to use all that energy rush towards creating a simple system for yourself that ensures your fool-proof progression towards your desired outcome.
We all probably have some or the other goal/ desire, but most of us lack a system/ a strategy/ a plan that gives us guidelines to stay on course.
There are lots of behaviour change leaders out there with fantastic strategies & one of them is B.J.Fogg. What I love the most about his system is the simplicity of it. He has created a strategy where you use your existing behaviour as a prompt/ trigger to execute the new behaviour that will take you a step closer to your desired goal. His system helps you shift your focus from the destination to the journey/path.
So, here are the steps for turning your dreams/aspirations into reality – based on Fogg’s behaviour design.
1. Take a paper or your journal, write your aspiration in capital letters at the top in a cloud.
2. Now make a list of at least 10 actions/tasks/habits that you would need to do to get your desired outcome. These would be your behavioural changes. Feel free to be creative and detailed, but, ensure that these are coming from your head and not what worked for someone else.
3. Ask yourself a question: Can I get myself to do this habit? Be realistic with your answer. Put a star around 4 behaviours that are the easiest to do.
4. Ask, if you want to do the action/ behaviour? Be honest with your answer. Put a circle around 4 behaviours that you are extremely motivated to do. Believe me, there will be habits that you think are important but you will not want to do it yet.
5. Now pick the habits/ behaviours that have both marks: a star & a circle, because these will be the ones with a higher ability & also a higher motivation than the others. Fogg likes to call these the “golden” behaviours.
6. Start super small. It is tempting to go big & do it all, but do the opposite of what you have been doing all this while, especially because your previous strategy hasn’t worked for you.
7. Scale it down. If you picked the habit with a star and a circle that says “walking 5km every evening” and you still have not been able to do it, then scale it down – how about “step out of your house with your walking shoes” or “take just one stroll around the block”
8. Use an existing habit (our day is filled with small habits that we unknowingly do), to create a trigger to do your new habit. Squeeze in the new habit right after you do your existing one. Ex: Let’s say you drink a cup of tea every evening after work, now that is an existing habit. So, let’s use that to squeeze in a prompt to help our new habit that we want to create. How about: “After I drink my evening tea, I will wear my walking shoes” & this will trigger further actions. You will surely step outside the house now. It is very important to choose the right combination here.
9. Fogg says, use a little celebratory routine each time you remember to execute your new habit and right after you do it. A fist pump may be?
10. I like to add one more concept here… Practice & Tracking. Practice this habit of wearing shoes every day after drinking tea for at least 2 weeks and track it (your fist pump could be a tracker, or you could take it further and journal it.
11. After two weeks, go back to your list of behaviours, strike off the one that has become a habit now and pick the next golden action. Repeat steps 6 -10.
Further reading material: Tiny Habits (You can find all the resources & links to worksheets in the book)
Reach out to us if you have any questions or if you need help in achieving your desired outcome.
Here’s to changing one habit, one behaviour at a time!
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