If you’re anything like me, then you’re always focusing on that next target and it can be really easy to glaze over the progress you’ve already made.
This is an approach to goal setting that will systemise appreciating the progress you’ve made AND give you mini-wins every single day.
It’s not a bad thing to always be striving for more HOWEVER it is vital to ALSO appreciate everything you already have. I’m talking weight loss, business, relationships…. whatever.
Continue. Stop. Start. Is a process I’ve used for years to manufacture some time.
(I first heard about it via John McGrath – so kudos to you John!)
Times frames are whatever resonate with you, however I’m running with one month at a time as I find I can push really hard for a month – you can do anything for a month right? – and then at the end of the month the new habits will be formed AND you can assess whether they are worth continuing or whether you need to upgrade them.
So, to be clear you still have big, specific goals and the Continue, Stop, Start goals are based around actions that will allow you to achieve those big specific goals.
I imagine you have a good idea of some habits you’d like to stop and some you’d like to start to achieve your health goal? I definitely do with my business goals.
In one big unstructured mass floating around in your head they can feel a little daunting though right?
It’s easier – and more exciting – to just think of that big end goal, without actually breaking it down into the actions that will make it happen. You actually get a hit of feel good hormone dopamine just thinking about your goals.
However that doesn’t make anything happen.
Luckily, you also get that awesome ‘feel good’ hit at the end of a super productive day… and Continue, Stop, Start Action Based Goals allows you to feel that mini-win every single day.
Regardless of whether your clothes are feeling looser or your body is feeling tighter yet you can still feel satisfied and MOTIVATED to continue taking the actions that will get you the results.
In contrast to dwelling on how you want it to be and feeling disheartened that you’re not there yet… I genuinely believe we’ve been conditioned to expect instant gratification and our tolerance for taking the right actions for long enough to actually earn the result is lacking in the extreme.
So, let’s run through an example applicable to weight loss:
(I chose ‘3’ actions for each as that feels like a doable amount to me)
1. No processed carbs Monday to Friday.
2. Prioritising weights training 4 set days per week.
(2 set days is super ok too if that is more doable for you)
3. Getting up at 5am and getting to bed by 10pm.
1. Making excuses about that one action that you know would have the biggest impact on achieving your goal.
2. Red wine Monday – Wednesday.
(it’s good to not focus on restriction though so also decide what you can have/do instead that is more supportive of your goal)
3. Mindless TV/social media/web surfing before bed (or IN bed!).
(again, it’s not about restriction, so how can you better use your time that will fill your mind with positive thoughts / influences?)
1. Scheduling a set day, time, amount of time for what isn’t getting done consistently each week.
(for example cardio intervals).
2. One set block per week of time for meal planning/cooking.
3. Daily reflection on 3 things you’ve done well in relation to your health.
Remember this is ONLY for a month and then if you like the results you keep going.
If you don’t like the results – (and pop your rational/ability to delay gratification hat on here) then it’s time to choose new actions that based on the feedback you’ve just received you now believe are the best way forward.
Sound systematic and a tad laborious? Perhaps.
However, this former system fighter has finally come to realise that having systems is actually incredibly FREEING.
It removes the “will I won’t I?” factor.
You know, when you reason yourself right out of results by deciding it’s ok to leave that important action to tomorrow… and then to tomorrow Again… and then to tomorrow AGAIN!
I’ve become a really lazy thinker. By Volition.
I’m done with wasting time and energy thinking about stuff that does not need to be stressed about…
“Do I have red wine tonight and skip it Friday night… or maybe just a tiny glass tonight and a little less on the weekend? Should I do intervals after my weights tomorrow so I can have today off… or maybe before work Saturday? Or double next week?? If I have bread rolls now will I be able to skip them Saturday… maybe I could have them instead of lunch? But then I miss out on veg and protein – does it really matter if I have extra carbs this week as I’m not feeling my leanest anyway? I’ll start fresh next week!”
Surely there are more vital considerations and this type of energy-eating self-negotiation does not deserve any mind air time right?
Ok, over to you, time to decide on your Continue, Stop, Start action goals.
In the spirit of appreciating the progress you’ve already made please share your Continue goals in the comments below.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for action based goals this is one of my fav implementable posts: My Best Advice For Out-Smarting Weight Loss Overwhelm: