Goals: Why and How

This article says that knowing why you want to do something won’t make you do it, as much as knowing how you are going to do it.  The study was having people reflect in a journal about losing weight.  One group was given writing prompts related to why they wanted to build healthier habits, and the other group was prompted to write about how they were going to build healthier habits.  None of them were asked to change their behavior, but just to write.  They weren’t coached on nutrition or exercise, just prompted to write.  At the end of the study, which I think was either 6 or 8 weeks long, the how group had lost an average of, like, 13 pounds apiece, and the why group had stayed stable.

I can’t find this article back to link to it!  🙂  I’m sure it was on msnbc.com, but it was a couple weeks ago, and now it must be gone.

The thing with losing weight is that we focus on the end goal of…losing weight.  If the goal was to run a marathon, that would be the focus.  If the goal was to reduce cholesterol for our next blood test, that would be the focus.  None of those focuses…foci?…are related to what you’re actually going to do to achieve that end goal.  You can’t just wish away extra pounds, or wish yourself down 26 miles of road, or wish your blood to flush out the cholesterol.  There is always action that must be taken.  But our focus does tend to be on why we should lose weight, or reduce our cholesterol, or run a marathon.  I think the why is very important.  I think that’s the first step.  You can’t move forward toward a goal unless you know why that is your goal in the first place.  But once you’ve worked out why, I think that focusing on how you’re going to accomplish it is the next step.  I’m not surprised that the how group lost weight without really being told what to do.  If I know why I want to lose weight, but I haven’t thought about how to do it, I’m going to go about my life, day after day, wanting to lose weight, and knowing why I should, but not taking any action to accomplish it.  Or whatever goal.  Personally, I think the key is reflecting first on the why, and then on the how, and continuing with the how day after day, month after month, until you accomplish your goal.

So my idea is, this week I’m going to use my blog to reflect on both the why and how of a few of my key goals.  More to come soon!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: