Motivation, Habits and Outcomes

I keep coming back to why I do the things I do.

In my early morning routine, I’ve tried to set up a series of habits and routines that I am using to get fit and stay fit.

Each morning I do this:

  • weigh myself – today was 150.4
  • make a coffee – about 25 years ago got rid of the sugar and about 4 years ago most of the milk. I occasionally use skim.
  • plug in my movband – to sync and to charge it
  • look at yesterday’s activity, my activity for the week and compare to my goals and formal exercise,
  • read my weight loss, maintenance, exercise blogs

Every other day:

  • weigh in and then put on my work out clothes
  • grab the coffee, fill the water bottle, grab a banana and a small spoonful of peanut butter
  • go to the gym and workout with a group
  • grab a drip coffee and drive home… loving that feeling of the endorphins.

In the summer – bike rides about 2 or 3 nights a week. In the fall, double up on the workouts.  Winter, ski and spin.  Spring – pull weeds in the garden. (No wonder I have trouble keeping the weight down in the early spring!)

I was weighing in with WW once a week.  Now that I’m lifetime, it only needs to be once a month.  And if you show up and you’re over your goal by 2 pounds, you pay.  That’s a real demotivator.  I find if I wake up spot on my goal, by mid-end of the day, if I would go weigh in I better have really light clothes on because the 2 pounds are back on plus from liquid and food.  So the answer is I have to be 4 pounds below goal to feel confident to go weigh in at WW. Because I don’t want to pay.  I made it in May, June and July.  But in July my card didn’t type in correctly and so they hit my credit card.  And if I go to a meeting, they want cash.  While WW was excellent when I was on the plan, the whole lifetime thing is the opposite of motivational.  Especially when I am staying at my goal where I want to be.

Other negative of my new habits/activities: I have a huge amount of laundry, more than double of what I had before. And sweaty.  I find that I want to dress in workout clothes more than work clothes and they have become my default “casual” play clothes.

I’m trying to figure out some new habits that will fix these two negatives and set some more activities that will lead to better 0utcomes.  Not sure I clearly understood that habits, routines, activities are the things that make the outcomes. I mean it only makes sense.

So instead of setting goals like: lose weight or get healthy, which are outcomes, I just need to set goals like work out every Saturday morning early, or swap out one vegetable serving for a carb serving at lunch. A blog – Less Wrong – I read on habits and goal setting this morning gave me some new insights into how I should maintain my weight loss.

Gotta focus on what I do… not on the goal.  The goal will come if I keep doing what I am doing.  That’s a phrase I used to hate when I’d get feedback on a review or from a teacher/coach.  Just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be fine.

What I should have realized is that my actions create the outcome.  You can’t work on the outcome, you just work on the activity.  Creating routines and habits make the activity more effortless.  Even desirable.

Bad habits lead to bad outcomes.  I guess that is obvious.  That little snack in the afternoon.  Okay if the cookie or treat doesn’t become a habit.  Or if the habit is a good habit, not a bad habit.

Wonder how often you have to do something to become a bad habit? or how easily a good habit turns bad? It’s definitely harder to turn bad habits into good habits.

I used to go out to eat with a friend of mine after WW.  Every Tuesday a different restaurant.  The fast food cheap restaurants were not good choices so we ended up at a couple of the Quick Serves where there were heart healthy things on the menu.  Chicken, broccoli, rice. No sauces.  The chicken was stiff, the rice too salty, the broccoli was floating in butter. Un satisfying.  And – bad habit – my credit card started paying the price!  Oh yeah and a glass of wine.

Then we graduated to nicer restaurants, more expensive. Ouch. My finances were getting hit hard.  So I stopped going out to eat afterwards. Funny but the friendship worn thin.My friend went the way of cooking at home with sauces and dropped out of WW.  I ended up going to the gym more. and more. Hanging with friends who were not doing WW but instead would sign up for 5Ks and extremely long bike rides.

The focus became more about fitness and endurance –  much less on points and not on restaurant food.  More potlucks with quinoa. (I never even heard the word until about 3 years ago and now I must eat it 2 or 3 times a week and search for recipes.) I tried to get the WW friend into the new group of friends, but it really didn’t jive.

Anyway, enough about the history.  More about the goals vs process.  I think you can work on the process but not on the goal. The goal is the outcome and the habits/routines/process/activities need to be set up to hit the goal/target/outcome.  You can’t work on the outcome. You can only work on the activities.

Gotta pick activities that are fun. Enjoyable. Want to do. Drawn to.

Activities and habits have to be in support the outcomes that I want.  Not the opposite. So when I get involved in an activity, I should ask myself – if this becomes a habit or a normal routine, will this support or detract from my desired outcome / goal?





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