Goals, Identity and Discipline
“The most successful people are no different from you or myself. They just have excellent systems in place to help them reach their goals. They fall in love with the process of improvement rather than results. They understand that repeating good habits consistently, day after day, will compound into noticeable, positive results.
Several weeks ago, we briefly discussed goal setting in our article “Starting a Sustainable Fitness Journey”. One thing we didn’t get to touch on was discipline. After years of coaching clients and experiencing fitness ourselves, we know that achieving our fitness goals can, at times, seem like an insurmountable task as we are unique in our struggles and repeated failures. Our ability to achieve our goals hinges on our discipline and consistency.
Today, we will use the same tools we use with our clients to help you define your goals and provide some helpful tips to stay disciplined and consistent to achieve them.
When setting goals, it’s important to clearly recognize whether it is an Outcome based goal or an Identity based goal. In essence, “I want to lose 30 pounds” vs “I want to become the person with healthy practices without any need to lose weight”.
There is nothing wrong with having outcome based goals as they are useful in setting your trajectory, but we believe that coaching clients toward identity-based goals because they produce the most sustainable and lasting results. Our goal as coaches is to literally transform people and guide them toward the person they want to become and not merely to a finite outcome.
“We are the product of our habits, our habits are our response to our environment. What is your relationship to your environment?” “Our environment is full of cues that trigger a specific response. Find where you can break the chain. Discipline has a lot more to do with our environment than our motivation. Successful, “disciplined” people spend less time in tempting situations where massive willpower and self-control is required. They refuse to be the victim of their environment, instead, they design their environment. “
The Latin definition of Identity is “repeated beingness”. Essentially, our habits are how we embody our identity. Habits are not about having something – they are about becoming someone. Whether we like it or not, change and growth is perpetual. It’s up to us at what rate and which direction we grow.
When consulting with new clients, I often recite a line from Atomic Habits; “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Having a system in place is key to helping you stay on course and making progress on your goals. In other words, you set goals to win the game, but you build systems to continue playing the game.
Once goals are set, we discuss systems and ways to stay disciplined. Here are some tips to improve discipline;
If this feels like a lot, it’s because it is a lot. It’s always important to keep things simple before taking on multiple strategies and it starts with changing your mindset and definition of progress. Progress is incremental and may not feel like progress at first. Understand that you must let go of what you think you should be able to do or what others are doing. Instead, focus on what you’re capable of right now and play your own game.
Making change is hard, requires discipline to sustain and often ends in relapse. We’ve heard the saying, failing to plan is planning to fail. Similarly, failure to build systems is failure to receive results.
If you’re reading this article, you’re taking the first step toward making change – Awareness. You are aware that you are not the person you want to become. If these words resonate with you, feel empowered to use these tools to improve your life and make progress toward your goals.
Need a little help getting started or rebooting your fitness journey through sustainable methods that will set you up for long-term success? Reach out for a consultation with one of our awesome coaches by clicking here.