Keep your eye on the prize“Keep your eye on the prize!” is something that gets touted as a way to maintain motivation.

It sounds good in theory but in practice – it just leads to disappointment, shame, and guilt.

When it comes to weight loss, we can’t exactly control the prize (aka outcome). What we can do is control the process (i.e. our behaviors that lead us towards the prize).

I bet this isn’t new to you. You’ve heard that behavior goals are better than outcome goals. Let’s take it a step further though. There are some behavior/process goals that are better than others.

The most common process goals I hear from expats is:

Avoidance goals: “I need to stop (bad weight loss habit), etc”

Performance goals: “I need to (achievement you want to reach.)”

Extrinsic goal: “My significant other says I need to get off my butt and move more.” (If your significant other ever tells you this, let me know and I’ll be down there with a shovel to help you bury the body – Just sayin’.)

While these might sound okay, these aren’t helpful goals. Let’s take a look at how we can make them more helpful –

Approach goals: “I’m going to (positive modification to a negative habit)”

Mastery goals: “I will learn (skills being working on)”

Intrinsic goals: “Getting healthier is important to me so I’m going to (behavior to change).”

Little changes in language and how we approach something can make a huge difference in how we feel about the goal and our ability to have motivation to pursue it. We want to try to lead with positivity whenever we can. There’s nothing wrong with trying to Keep your eye on the prize – but it’s not the best approach. 

 

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