Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Foolproof Way to Increase Your Odds of Reaching Your Goals

woman meditating in the morningHi folks, this post comes from Erin Power, coaching director for Primal Health Coach Institute. Erin plans to post frequently to share the tips, tools, and proven strategies she’s used with her clients, students, and graduates over the past decade regarding motivation, inspiration, and achieving goals. Enjoy!

You’ve likely seen the stats. Up to 92% of people never get the satisfaction of achieving their goals. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Maybe your goal is to stick to a six-hour eating window. Or improve the quality of your sleep. Or stop consuming industrialized oils.

All fantastic goals.

But without the right approach, you’ll be joining the ranks of the defeated faster than you can say metabolic flexibility.

Why Accountability Is Key

You might be telling yourself, “I’ve always been addicted to sugar”, or “these extra 40 pounds just love me too much.” While those statements might have been true for you in the past, there’s a big difference between people who reach their goals (i.e. get off the sugar addiction rollercoaster or drop the weight for good) and those who don’t.

And that’s accountability.

Personally, I love teaching my clients to be responsible for their own actions, versus relying on me to hold them accountable. I provide the education and support, but when it comes to accountability, it’s best to be your own biggest advocate. That means taking charge of your circumstances by getting clear on your goals—and the reasons why you want to achieve those goals. There’s plenty of science behind this approach too.

In 1977, social cognitive psychologist, Albert Bandura proposed a concept he referred to as self-efficacy. It’s the idea that if people believe they can change their behaviors, they’ll be more successful at doing so. Dozens of studies have been published based on the topic, including this one that investigated the effects of self-efficacy on weight loss. During the study, overweight subjects were assigned to high or low self-efficacy groups and told to follow a weight loss program within the context of self-control. As you might expect, researchers found that the high self-efficacy group lost substantially more weight than their low-efficacy counterparts.

Another way to stay accountable is to have a partner—someone who has the same, or similar goals, as you do. Together, you commit to taking the necessary steps to lock in new behaviors, checking in with each other regularly and holding each other accountable. It could be in the form of a gym buddy, a co-worker you walk with at lunch, or an online group focused on intermittent fasting.

And I’m not alone on this theory.

In a study conducted by Dominican University of California psychology professor, Dr. Gail Matthews, participants wrote down their goals, then half the group was asked to send regular progress reports to a friend. The results showed that the group who had an accountability partner was 76.7% more successful at achieving their goals than the group that didn’t.

I’m actually using an accountability partner right now to make sure I’m up at 5:00 a.m. for gratitude practice and meditation. We call each other at 5:15 every morning to see if we’re awake and haven’t mashed the snooze button (we’ve also committed to getting to bed no later than 9:30 p.m. so we aren’t skimping on sleep). Because we have the same goal, it works beautifully.

My 5 Step Accountability Plan

Here’s a tool you can use to develop accountability on both a personal and peer-to-peer level. Create your plan by answering these five questions:

What’s your specific goal?

Rather than attempting to: “skip the banana and yogurt and instead break the fast with an epic protein-forward meal”, get more detailed by saying, “Tomorrow for my break-the-fast meal, I’ll fry up three eggs and one of those sausages I got from the farmer’s market.” Specificity makes it easier to know if and when you’ve reached your goal. Like I mentioned above, you can increase your accountability by partnering with someone who has similar goals as you do. (Maybe you think it sounds strange to have an accountability partner for breakfast, but in the name of achieving your health goals, why not?)

What new habits will you put into place?

To be successful, you have to identify the actions you’ll be taking—ask yourself what you’ll be doing and when you’ll be doing them. Using the example above, you’d need to figure out:

  • what time you’ll want to eat breakfast
  • whether you’ll need to set your alarm 15 minutes earlier to have the time to prepare it
  • whether you’ll need to run to the store on the way home from work tonight to pick up some eggs or butter
  • how you’ll track your progress on this goal.

How will you assess how you’re doing?

Check in with yourself regularly. Using a tracking app or journal is a great way to monitor your progress. These methods make it really easy to see if you’re being consistent with your actions, plus the act of recording your new behavior helps you feel successful as you work toward your goal. If you’re working with an accountability partner, you still can—and should—track your progress, but it’s also important to schedule regular appointments with each other to check in.

What’s your why?

You might discover that you’re not being as consistent with your actions as you’d like. That’s where finding your why comes in. Really thinking about why this goal is important to you and why that matters can help solidify your actions. It might also make you realize that your goal isn’t realistic—or it’s not as important as you once thought. Use my Whyx5 Method to help uncover your true motivation for change.

What are the consequences of not reaching your goal?

Behavior change can be hard, but often times doing nothing—or sabotaging your own efforts—ends up being harder in the long run. Visualize how you’ll feel if you don’t hold yourself accountable. And in contrast, how will you feel if you do?

How to Create an Accountability Plan

I can’t say it enough. One of the most common differences between people who reach their goals and those who don’t is accountability. Being responsible for your own actions is key if you want to be successful. And partnering up with someone who has similar goals is like the protein-packed icing on the cake. Got goals you’ve been trying to reach? Create your own accountability plan by following these five steps:

  1. Get specific about your goals
  2. Identify your new habits
  3. Check in regularly
  4. Remember why it’s important
  5. Consider the consequences
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A Weekend Of Sports

^^what a cute pair!

We had a sports filled weekend!

Thus is life with boys. I’ve always been athletic and into fitness, but I didn’t really catch on to sports until a combo of meeting Thomas (who is good at and watches everything imaginable) and Mazen getting old enough to join some teams. We had 2x basketball, 2x soccer, and our second ski trip of the year (which blended the weekend into Monday because Mazen had a teacher workday!) Next up in sportsland: golf lessons for everyone!

Saturday: Basketball

I started Saturday with my favorite workout class and then took a quick shower, slammed a Splendid Spoon smoothie and headed to Mazen’s last basketball game of the season. He has gotten SO much better and went from not touching the ball once (first game) to making a basket (last game!)

That afternoon I organized our messy desk and some of the playroom, which is coming to a blog post in the next few weeks.

Mid-afternoon Nona The Best Babysitter arrived, and Thomas and I kissed the boys goodbye and headed to the Duke v. UVA game! The rivalry was strooooong.

We had a few of T’s friends with us, and went to Vivace for a SUPER early dinner (at 4:30!) and happy hour before the game. We shared yellowfin tuna with risotto that was fab along with a wedge salad.

That was one close game!

I can never decide if I want Duke to win by one point or UVA to win by one point, but either way I’m glad it was a close game. A nail biter till the end!

Ben & Jerry’s at halftime!!!

Sunday: Soccer

On Sunday morning we fueled up and went to our outdoor soccer game. It was a beautiful day to play. I covered about six miles during the game!

Refuel sandwich.

We tidied up a bit during B’s nap. I always tidy up at the start of nap and the start of bedtime. It’s nice for the room to look put together if only for a few! Then we both took naps!

Sunday we roasted brussels and taters and T grilled some salmon. I headed out for my second soccer game of the day – our final women’s indoor game – and closed the day with almost 11 miles and super tired legs. It’s so funny to me how I wouldn’t set out to run more than 3, maybe 4, miles on a “regular” run but I sure can cover some ground in soccer.

Monday: Ski Day 2.0

You know what’s not smart? Going skiing when you have killed your quads the day before! But with Mazen’s teacher workday, we had to get up and go to squeeze one more trip to Wintergreen. While my legs were super tired after each run, it was still loads of fun.

Mazen did AWESOME! His first run down the bunny hill he got nervous when we were (gently) encouraging him to let down his guard a little. Knowing he and I share genes, I remember being pressured to do things I was scared of when I was little so I told him the same thing I would have wanted: you do you and I’ll leave you alone to practice by yourself for a bit (I was nearby just not right next to him). He figured it out in his own time (like 5 minutes) and then he was great! HE was beating ME down the mountain by mid-morning!!

A few updated tips to my last post about Wintergreen:

  • OMG don’t go on a Saturday!!! Last time the lines were insane and this time we didn’t wait more than 3 minutes for a lift and we walked right through the rentals area with ease. It was SO much better I will never go on a Saturday again. I felt like we had a whole theme park to ourselves.
  • Buy your fam these neck warmers. Mazen is obsessed with one my mom and dad gave him and so I knew he would love this set. I had T and M wear the neon colors and they were so much easier to spot!! You could use these for all kinds of outdoor sports that you might need to spot your fam in a crowd. You can wear them on your head as a headband, up on your face if it’s windy, or around your neck or as an arm band.
  • We made the epic mistake of not knowing you couldn’t buy a 4-hour lift ticket in the morning. We only planned to ski from 8:30 – 12:30 so we had hoped to buy a half day, but you can only buy 8-hour tickets starting at 9, when the slopes open. So we were forced to pay for a whole day even though we had to leave by 12:30. ugh. (We had our sitter with Birchie which is why we couldn’t extend the day). Aside from the expense, skiing from 9-12:30 was actually the perfect little half day trip.

And we got to spend some of it with my friend Meg who was up there with her boys!!

That’s a wrap for ski season this year. It was quite warm up there, but I’m glad we got in a few end-of-season visits. What’s the youngest you’ve seen a child ski? Think we can take Birch at age 3?

I’ll tell you one thing: today is a rest day!!!

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Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

This basic chicken stir fry recipe is easy to make and tastes delicious by itself or served over rice.

I do love a good stir fry, and better still is when the sauce or “glaze” is nice and thick and coats everything evenly. I’ve really taken to using arrowroot powder lately just for that reason. It’s wonderful stuff and does a great job thickening and creating that wonderful glaze we love on Asian-style foods.

I have served this over rice, over cauliflower rice, and enjoyed it by itself. Any way you serve it, it’ll be quite tasty.

You can substitute the arrowroot powder with cornstarch if you wish. I just prefer to avoid corn these days, so I never use it anymore.

The important this to remember is that you must cook the harder parts of the bok choy first. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a dish feels too undercooked. So make sure the stalks are well cooked first.

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CHICKEN STIR FRY RECIPE

Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Asian

Yield: 3 servings

Calories: 332 kcal

Author: The Gracious Pantry

Ingredients

  • 5 cups thinly sliced bok choy (about 1 large head)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chicken broth (no sugar added, low sodium is best)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (chopped into bite-size pieces)
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp. arrowroot powder
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • shredded carrots for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, combine the white (harder) parts of the bok choy and the onion with the chicken broth. Bring to a low boil and cook until they are partially soft.

  2. Add in the remaining greens of the bok choy leaves, the garlic, chicken and the coconut aminos. Cook until chicken is nearly done cooking. (about 10-15 minutes). Stir frequently.

  3. When the chicken is cooked through, there should still be at least a small amount of liquid left in the pan.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the arrowroot powder and water until the arrowroot is totally dissolved. Pour it into the pan and stir.

  5. If you feel like you don't have enough sauce to really glaze everything well, you can add a little extra chicken broth.

  6. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with carrots.

Recipe Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition Facts

Chicken Stir Fry Recipe

Amount Per Serving (0.33 the recipe)

Calories 332 Calories from Fat 54

% Daily Value*

Fat 6g9%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Cholesterol 145mg48%

Sodium 1274mg55%

Potassium 1274mg36%

Carbohydrates 15g5%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 51g102%

Vitamin A 5281IU106%

Vitamin C 65mg79%

Calcium 154mg15%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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