As we enter into the new year, our focus turns to our goals. And, when it comes to our health, we set some pretty big ones.
✔️ Lose those quarantine 15.
✔️ Finally improve our blood pressure.
✔️ Run a marathon, virtual or otherwise.
While having a desired end result is helpful, those plans tend to fade, fast…
By the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, we’re puzzled because those goals have completely fizzled away.
We’re no longer doing those things we so badly wanted to do.
We’re frustrated and we don’t. know. why.
The answer to that frustration = GOALS + VALUES.
We have to understand the difference and why values matter oh-so-much more than goals.
In short, having goals that are informed by values is the answer to lasting motivation and finally reaching the desired end result.
When Motivation Has Gone Missing
Have you ever found yourself completely unmotivated to eat better, to lose weight, or to get off the couch and walk around the block after dinner?
It could be because your connection to your values is a little bit shaky.
If you’re not making choices that align with your goals, maybe you’re trying to do something that you don’t value all that much.
The truth is that we only do what we really desire.
Tapping into values is the key to moving forward.
What Are Weight-Loss Goals?
That seems like a silly question. But it’s important to understand before we can move forward.
Goals are the places we want to go. But we can break that down further into two types of goals: outcome goals and behavior goals.
In my new coaching program, Platinum, we focus a little bit on each of these.
We talk briefly about outcome goals, which are the goals we typically think of:
I want to lose weight.
I want to get a master’s degree.
I want to run a marathon.
Those are the outcomes we hope to achieve.
However, as hard as we try, we don’t have a lot of control over our outcome goals. For example, you can’t make yourself lose weight or pass a test, no matter how hard you try.
We don’t hold that kind of power in our hands. So, outcome goals are motivating, but out of our direct control.
The action really happens in our behavior goals.
Behavior Goals are goals that target the things that you do day in and day out.
For example, if you want to lose weight, you may set a behavior goal to eat more vegetables, eat a little bit less at meals, or have more protein.
Those are things you have control over. That’s the daily stuff that’s going to lead, hopefully, to those desired outcome goals.
Maybe you want to graduate with your master’s degree. While you can’t will your college president to hand you a diploma, you CAN show up, study diligently, and prepare for the task. Those behaviors will help you reach the outcome goal of getting that degree.
Do you want to run a marathon? Your behavior goal is going to be getting up and doing your runs. Getting up at 4:00 am on Saturday morning to run 20 miles doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’re going to reach that end result. But it sure slates your chances to be a lot, lot higher
Understanding the difference between outcome and behavior goals is essential, because then you can put your energy where you really want it to be.
However, what if your outcome goal– the weight loss, master’s degree, or marathon– is not motivating you much? I mean, you want it but then you don’t do the daily things you need to do to get there. It’s so frustrating, isn’t it?
Well, there’s a really good chance that those goals, outcome or behavior, are not tightly tied to your values.
What Are Values?
Values are the things nearest and dearest to your heart. If I were to ask you what your top values are, you’d probably say something like “faith, family, honesty, integrity, etc.”
Our values are typically the attributes or characteristics that draw us to other people.
The attributes we admire in the Lord.
The characteristics that we see in Jesus.
And, they make our heart melt.
Our values are often seen in the ways we want to be remembered one day, when we pass…
We’re probably not all that inspired by visions of our best friend speaking at our funeral, sharing words of condolences to a crowd of tissue-toting mourners, saying… “Wow, she looked hot in her skinny jeans!”
No, we want someone to say, “She loved well. She served well. Her children rise up and call her blessed.”
Those are our values.
Think about your values and line them up on a sheet of paper.
On the top of my list is integrity. Following that is unconditional love and encouragement. Those are things I really value.
On the other side of the paper, list the outcome goals you want to reach. The marathon, the master’s degree, and weight loss.
How do the two sides connect?
They can feel really separated; and the distinction between the two is quite revealing.
If you have a hard time tying your goals and values together, that may be why you’re struggling to make those goals happen.
You need to find the deep-seated reason in your values that will help you reach your goal.
Weight-Loss Goals and Integrity
If I really value integrity, how can I tie it into reaching my weight-loss goal?
How does integrity help me get to the place I want to be on the scale?
Well, integrity means my decisions are lining up with what I say is important to me. I feel I’m operating at a high standard, and that feels really good to me.
When I speak to my integrity in food choices, I’m excited! I don’t feel like a hypocrite, because I’m choosing something that is truly valuable to me.
Weight-Loss Goals and Honesty
Weight-loss goals also tie in with honesty. I want to be honest in my food. This outcome goal is something I want, and I’m committing to the Lord.
I want my commitments to be honest. And that…it really motivates me to say “no,” even in the times when it gets a little bit harder.
Weight-Loss Goals and Encouragement
As I mentioned, I really value encouragement. But, how can I tie that into my weight-loss goals?!
Well, I want to be able to genuinely encourage others to live their best life. When I feel better by making healthier choices and moving more, I’m a much better encourager (ask my daughter).
This also ties into my integrity here. In order to be an encourager to others, I have to make the decision myself, first. I have to “walk the walk and not just talk the talk.”
Weight-Loss Goals and Faith
One value most of us have in common is faith. Our faith is of supreme importance to us.
We love the Lord.
We love His word.
We long to live for the Lord.
And yet, how does our weight-loss goal tie into that faith value?
The common denominator comes down to glorifying Him. We want our actions to glorify God. Not so much the weight itself, but the actions that lead to the weight.
Maybe, just maybe, the weight loss isn’t what we’re actually longing for. We’re longing to have habits, actions, and integrity that speak to the fact that we believe God is worthy of our hearts.
We can also think about how our faith can be increased and shared– by the changes in our own well-being that come along with healthier habits. We display our faith better when we feel our best. And we’re better able to share the Gospel with others.
When we’re in better shape, we can run our race really well. Good health might even allow us to take a hike on a trip out to a missionary adventure!
That could be the thing that motivates us to push our plate away. It’s much more important than looking cute in a swimsuit– although that would be nice, too 🙂
It’s more about doing what deeply matters to you, because we only do what we want. We want to connect with what we really want.
Weight-Loss Goals and Family
Family is really important to us as well. That ties in, also, through our integrity. We want to be a good example for our children and to live out our calling as “mom” the best that we can.
When you eat well, aren’t you a lot nicer mom? It’s easier to be nice when you’re not wrapped up in all the food funk! You’re better able to minister to those around you, near and farther away.
You can be more pleasant, energetic, and able to run with the grandkids. You have more energy to stay up late and wait for your daughter to come home from a friend’s house.
When we frame a goal as something that’s really valuable to us, it gets a lot easier to push through those hard moments.
But, I’ll be honest with you– you’re not going to remember all these things in the heat of the moment…and that’s okay.
We’re not expecting perfection. You don’t align your goals to your values and then never overeat again!
But, if you can tie in “where you want to go” with the emotion associated with your value, you can really feel it.
And when you’re really feelin’ it, it’s going to get a lot easier to push away in those moments, because making decisions that do not line up with our values feels really icky.
Sometimes it’s not necessarily the food that makes you feel so bad, it’s the fact that you departed from what really lies in your heart. What really motivates you and what’s been woven into your being by your Creator.
Values matter more than goals because, without values, our goals are just hollow. Empty cisterns that leak water, if you will (Jeremiah 2:13).
They’re not going to hold up. But goals that are filtered through all of this important information that we have about ourselves, and what gets us up in the morning, are going to be really, really motivating.
If you’re struggling with this, it’s totally fine. Sometimes you just have to pray and think and journal about it. This is something even my Platinum girls have struggled with and we talk it through.
We just try to find a way to tie in the two. And if we cannot in any way tie our outcome goals to our values, then we may need to search for new outcome goals because they may not be that important to us.
So I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions about my six-month mentorship program, Platinum, you can learn more here and get on the waiting list!
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.