Since last May, I’ve been part of a Vistage group. It’s a group of professionals who serve as a accountability and development community. A facilitated peer group, if you will. At the beginning of the year, we set new strategic initiatives. Well, blah blah buzzword blah blah blah. We set goals. Many set a personal health goal for which success is measured by the number on the scale. Below is my response. Opinionated? Yes, but I’ve been challenged to speak my mind with less hedging, so I did.
I’ve been reading through all the strategic commitments and see a lot of weight loss targets. There are compelling benefits to increasing fitness and health and weight is a straightforward, objective thing to measure. Few people are truly motivated by a scale and I’d suggest that those folks don’t need to set strategic goals with that measure because they’re already doing it. This isn’t to say that all of us couldn’t use our willpower to focus something we aren’t normally motivated to attend to, but willpower supply is limited.
In my experience, I’m better off focusing on goals in line with my motive structure, instead of a shrinking # of lbs. I’d bet I’m not alone in this challenge. What varies is each of our motive structures. Some people love setting a goal by signing up for an athletic event so he can express his competitive, goal achievement motive. Some people love an adventure so will plan big trips that requires physical preparation. Some people love building relationships with others so establishing a community of others doing a physical activity together is very motivating.
Measuring success. I sense that weight loss is a means to an end for all of us. If we chase weight loss as our success goal, it’s too abstracted from our personal motive structures to be a sustainable motivator for action. A smart person I know recently said that the key to success is a combination of leverage and compounding. He was talking about financial success, yet it’s true also for physical health. In this case, we leverage our natural motives and current capabilities. Compounding is the practice of doing something consistently. We won’t compound if it’s something that requires ongoing high levels of willpower to make it happen.
I guess the point I’m making is that some of us have an opportunity to rephrase our health/physical activity goals. Weight loss as a measure of success can work, but rarely does because of the reasons above. Rather, set a goal that is leveraging for you, personally, and something that you can and will compound.
Looking forward to seeing everyone later this week!
So, there it is. Thought I’d share so the post about TV shows wouldn’t be at the top any more.