Momentum is everything…isn't it? You hear about it in sports all the time and in physics class too... According to Newton’s first law, every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.
I think this law holds true for every facet of human life not just pure physics. One can measure force, mass and acceleration but inertia can also be qualitative. Take for example someone beginning an exercise program and taking the plunge initiating the ‘action’ stage of Prochaska’s Transtheoretical Model. There are so many forces acting against us moving forward and making sustainable behaviour change where exercise becomes something we can commit and adhere to over time. We’re talking about positive psychology where unless we change our behaviours we’ll always be doing what we’ve always done: healthy or not.
In comes goal setting…
The real beauty of setting goals and moving yourself closer to your ‘bigger’ goal is that if you set realistic, time-sensitive mini-goals, you’ll not only change your behaviour (for the better), you’ll achieve what you originally set out to. For most people, looking at the ‘big goal’ they’ve carved out for themselves is sometimes very daunting and simply intangible without a plan of attack. I’m sure you’ve heard someone say how they wanted to lose 50 pounds or go on a diet. Well imagine if you heard those same people say “I’d like to lose 5 pounds and then gradually increase it to 10, then…” Fact is, most people are so overwhelmed with where they want to go that they neglect the planning in taking the first step to see if they can make a change. Until we do something to initiate change (for the better) we’ll always be ‘stuck’ in our unhealthy behaviours trying to break free.
One small goal, that’s all it takes. Whether it is to lose weight, quit smoking, start eating healthier, reduce the amount of prescription medication consumption or cultivate an overall healthier lifestyle, all it takes is one single goal.
Wellness coaching is a process that educates and empowers the client through a series of mini-goals that ultimately address the ‘big picture’ goal. One of the many benefits in working with a coach is realizing your potential and tapping into it. It might be so long since you’ve felt your best that you’ve all but forgotten what it feels like. In small, palatable steps, a wellness coach will enable you and propel you into action by setting realistic goals that are specific, measurable and have a timeframe in which you’d complete them. Some examples of goals that I’ve had clients work towards are everything from weight loss to effectively managing stress and let’s not forget decreasing caffeine addiction from 10 coffees a day to 1.
As Newton’s law states, you’ll remain in your current state of motion unless an external force (and I’m not just talking physics) acts on you to change this motion. I would argue that the same holds true for behaviour change; that unless you make a concerted effort to change your way of thinking and current belief patterns, you’ll forever be ‘stuck’ having the universe work against you to thwart your ability to make a sustainable lifestyle change. Once in motion however, you need to keep going and this is where goal setting and Prochaska’s ‘maintenance’ stage of change come to play. Many of us find it far easier to work towards something and achieve 80 percent of it before we’ve concretely changed our behaviours then to sustain it for life. Does it make sense to work so hard to achieve a significant goal only to be sidelined because of circumstance and lack of planning? I would hope not.
Once you’ve achieved your goal (or are getting close), you should start looking at strategies that will keep you there once you’ve reached it. Life will always get in the way if we let it, so why not look at some potential challenges and obstacles you might face not only in the conquest but also in the maintenance of staying on-track and ways to overcome adversity when you’re met with it. It’s important to examine potential areas that might derail you because odds are, you’ll face something along the way that might prevent your momentum from moving forward as quickly as you’d hoped.
In the end, momentum is everything. If you do at least one thing each day that will keep you moving in the direction of your goals, you’ll be one step closer to achieving them for life.