By Jamie Zacharias, RN, MSN, Nurse Practitioner, GFI
In an effort to find the “new” normal with Covid-19 not going away anytime soon, how many goals have you set personally and professionally? If you are like me, I feel like there are plenty I used to have but the thought of even setting one seems overwhelming given the environment we are in. How did this happen? Goal setting used to be simple regardless of whether the goal was actually achieved or not. Little did I know that when I made my list of goals for 2020 at the end of the last year, how many life changes we were all going to experience together as a society. If you haven’t already, give yourself permission to not have it all together.
While things have happened not according to plan, I have learned a great deal about myself and how I needed to change my approach to getting anything done. I still have great aspirations this year for my family, work as an NP, and getting MASHUP® into the hands of more fitness professionals and fitness enthusiasts with our certification, live classes and app. However, I discovered that if any headway was to be made, I had to change my approach to goals by focusing on creating new good habits. If I think about my goals amidst the out-of-control days and constant interruptions, I default to saying I’ll start on a certain date when I have more time but then that goal doesn’t seem as significant and it gets put on the back burner. I’m tired of getting distracted with the big picture and rationalizing my decisions to set certain goals aside because they feel unattainable and I have been defeated.
We really do like change if it means better outcomes for us.
What most of are good at is being creatures of habit. Maybe we should run with that instead of focusing on the goal to get somewhere. Let your goal point you a certain direction but focus on the new habits that need to occur instead. I would bet that we could almost even ignore the goal and focus solely on what we should do daily and get the same results.
Let's say a live group fitness instructor branches out into the virtual realm ignoring their goal of building the same size class on Zoom that they had at the gym. Instead they focus on what new habits they need to do at each class to accommodate the virtual environment while delivering a beneficial experience for participants. Chances are that their class is going to grow and the things they doing to create the growth are more important than the goal anyway.
A postpartum mom's goal is to lose her baby weight. While their are many things she could start doing, is it realistic? Sometimes trying to do everything at once can be so overwhelming that none of them happen. If she focuses on implementing 1 or 2 new good habits daily (exercise for 15 minutes and drink half of her body weight in water). She will feel successful, motivated, healthier and happier everyday along the way without having to wait until she get's to her goal weight.
Now, changing old habits is very difficult. We find comfort in old behaviors or old ways of thinking which is tied to our identity. Instead of trying to just change old habits, we should focus on creating good ones; habits that can be a part of your identity if they are truly going to stick. The live group ex instructor has adopted a new identity: “I’m a virtual group ex instructor”.
Hopefully, down the road the old ones will fade away or get replaced. If we can focus on completing a good habit (it does not have to be a drastic one) daily, we create a sense of accomplishment. While one new habit might seem marginal, that new repetitive behavior points us in the direction we need to go while achieving success along the way. Continuing one small habit can turn into something significant. Daily success boosts confidence and motivation which is evidence that the new habit is worthwhile and that the end goal is achievable.
Reaching a goal is one moment in time whereas habits are everlasting.
Getting to your goal is admirable. What happens after that? Do we change what we are doing because we reached it? I don’t know about you, but I want and need to feel successful and happy every day in order to keep my head on straight, not just when I attain my goal. Ultimately, it’s the daily habits we repeat that can bring us the feeling of success and happiness and long-term progress. Most of us want to continue feeling that way versus not. We want to win daily versus an occasionally when we get to a goal. Committing to good daily habits is what really is going to make a difference in seeing progress!
About the Author
Jamie Zacharias, RN, MSN, Nurse Practitioner, is a Cooper Physical Fitness Specialist and AFAA Group Fitness Instructor, TCU collegiate athlete, and co-founder of MASHUP®. Jamie has been in the health and fitness industry for 19 years and lives in the DFW area. She teaches classes at various fitness facilities, manages MASHUP® and works as a Nurse Practitioner at MEDI Weightloss Clinics of Fort Worth. In addition to teaching live classes, she has featured digital workouts on various platforms including the MASHUP® app.