2010: Year of ACTION. Do not tell me your goal, and you will succeed.

Why so quiet at Simpleweight?  Where are the blog posts that I love?  Where is the updates to the system?

Some answers to follow.

First off, Its January 18.  How are you doing on your 2010 resolutions & goals?  Have you given up hope?  I hope not.

Image: 'tuffo'
Image: 'tuffo'

If we think about the root word of resolution.  One who is resolute will be characterized by firmness and determination. If I look in the the simpleweight archives, back in 2007, I described Dalai Lama’s 7 steps to positive lifestyle change: Learning, Conviction, Determination, Action, Effort, Habit, and Eliminate Negativity.

Behavior and lifestyle changes require self-motivation, self-discipline, and Determination!  We must persevere through the difficult times in order to enjoy the fun and easy times.

For myself, I’ve labeled 2010:  the year of Action. I am going to “DO” in 2010!  If you think about it, in order for anyone to achieve their fitness goals,  They must ACT.  You must do!  You must move! Weight-loss or weight-gain will not happen on their own.  You have to act on your goals rather than just talk about your goals. So, what have I done?

I put a plan in place for exercise. Everything else must fit in around it. Weight Lifting (alternating muscle groups) six days a week in the morning prior to the kids get up in the morning.  Cardio (walking, running, and elliptical) six days a week in the evening after the kids go to bed.  Swimming when I can get to the pool which will likely be once a week for now. For the past two weeks, I have implemented that plan, and I have exercised more days than I have not.  It feels good.

If you have been following Simpleweight at all, you know that Food In = Food out.  I have increased my Food Out part of the equation.  That’s what I wanted to focus on first.  One Step at a time.  For the Food In part of the equation, I have tracked my food most of the days.  Although, I have yet to make a major change in my eating habits.

Why have I told you what I did rather than what I am going to do?  Mid to late December, I ran across Derek Sivers blog post titled:  Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them. This blog post contradicts what I hear from most self-help experts.  They say:  Tell everyone publicly what you are going to do.  It motivates you and makes you more committed.  Yet, when I read this article, a red brick hit me in the face. I recommend you go read it, but here’s a quick quote for those of you who don’t want to click through.

Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.

Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.


Here’s the abstract of the recent study  “When Intentions Go Public: Does Social Reality Widen the Intention-Behavior Gap?”

ABSTRACT—Based on Lewinian goal theory in general and self-completion theory in particular, four experiments examined the implications of other people taking notice of one’s identity-related behavioral intentions (e.g., the intention to read law periodicals regularly to reach the identity goal of becoming a lawyer). Identity-related behavioral intentions that had been noticed by other people were translated into action less intensively than those that had been ignored (Studies 1–3). This effect was evident in the field (persistent striving over 1 week’s time; Study 1) and in the laboratory (jumping on opportunities to act; Studies 2 and 3), and it held among participants with strong but not weak commitment to the identity goal (Study 3). Study 4 showed, in addition, that when other people take notice of an individual’s identity-related behavioral intention, this gives the individual a premature sense of possessing the aspired-to identity.

Now, that is powerful stuff. It contradicts everything I have thought of when it comes to the power of intention.

Let’s break it down in plain english.  You tell your friend you are going on a diet, and plan on losing weight.  You now feel satisfied, because you’ve done step one.  You’ve made your goal public like many experts state.  However, just because you have taken a step and made it public, you start to feel like you are already attaining your goal.  So, since you feel like you are already losing weight, you actually don’t work as hard to attain your fitness goal.

So, what can we do?  Well, if you are going to make your goals public, don’t state them as if you achieved anything.  Like, I joined a gym or I weighed myself today.  Make it more where the person you are sharing said goal with will actually motivate you.  For example, if I share with my wife that I want to eat less, I can say:  at dinner, please ask me if I am really hungry before I get up for a second serving of dinner.  Use it more in an active motivating process rather than a congratulatory process.

Currently, I am self-experimenting with this theory this month and beyond.  Instead of telling people, what I am going to do.  I just do it, and then tell them what I did.  I ACT.

Now, you know why I have been silent here on the blog. I wanted to do something first and then talk about it afterwards.  2010 – Year of Action.

I know that our simpleweight tools and the menu bar across the top has been intermittently working. I have nothing to announce right now.  Let’s just say, keep telling us about it, and tell us what we can do to help you achieve your fitness goals?

Remember:  Food In = Food Out.  Take Action to change that equation, and you will achieve your goal.

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