Setting the Minimum – When doing less makes you more successful

Hey there!  How are those resolutions going?  If you’re like me with my past resolutions - by week 2, I could feel myself slipping, and by the final week of January, I had already given up.

The truth is I find big goals sexy.  I can see myself now… in 6-months, I have rock hard abs and I’m sporting a white bikini on beach having flown to Costa Rica on my private jet where I live on an island surrounded by dolphins.  So naturally, my goals this week are to: cut out all sugar and processed foods, to exercise 4 hours a day– and oh yeah,did I mention I’m going to land 10 new clients to start paying off the price of the vacation?

Okayyyy, that’s a grand exaggeration – but you get the point!

While there is a time and place for grand visions (It’s the first step in coaching and helps us to set the path), when it comes to implementing our visions, we need to be strategic and realistic in order to be successful.  Like many people today, the problems with my previous New Years resolutions were that 1.  I had too many focuses at once and/or 2. the goals were too big.

Instead of setting 10 goals and having limited success, why not focus on one or two at a time?  With laser-light focus, you’ll be able to slice through that goal in no time, instead of dispersing your energy and getting less accomplished.  Afterwards, you get to re-evaluate and reset the next focus.

The scope of your goal for the day or the week is also important.  In fact, I invite you to ponder this question, “What is the absolute minimum I can do this week/month in order to make progress?”  (For you overachievers, I know this can be challenging).  When you think about this minimum goal, you should feel confident that you will achieve it easily.   This doesn’t mean you have to throw out the big goal for the week but no matter what happens, having a minimum goal ensures will have a marker for progress. In coaching sessions, we implement this practice by always setting minimum, maximum, and medium goal.  Here are some examples:

·      Max goal: Go to yoga classes - 5 days a week, Min: 1 day a week (maintain the same number of sessions from the previous week), Medium: 3 days a week

·      Max: Refrain from snacking after work 5 days a week, Med: 3 days a week, Min: Delay snacking after work by 1 minute

·      Max goal: Meditate 2x a day for 20 minutes, Medium: 20 min in the morning, Minimum: 2 min/day

After all, weight is lost one pound at a time, one meal at a time, and one choice at a time.  So why not set goals that you can keep, will build your confidence, and set yourself up for success in the long-term?  As the old saying goes, “You have to go slow in order to go fast.”  You don’t have to be “perfect” in order to be effective – especially if you continue to implement and improve week after to week.

So what is the one thing you’ll focus on this week?  What is the absolute minimum you will do to make progress towards your goals?

So for a little bit of accountability on my side, I am going to share my goals for this week.  For me this week, I am going to focus on: sitting down at the dinner table for all meals - that is, no more eating when I’m working at my desk or walking around the apartment (Min:  1 day this week, Max: All 7 days, Med: 3 days).  I also will commit to exercising in the morning at 6 am (Min: 2 days for 30 min, Max: 6 days for 1 hour, Medium: 3 days for 60 min).  I will report back next week with my progress.

How about you?  How about posting here so that we can help you stay accountable?  Feel free to comment below! 

Posted on January 13, 2017 and filed under weight loss, Habit Changes, New Year's Resolutions.