By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Have heard that old adage “if you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting”? It’s one of those, yup, #nailedit kind of insights. Yet, you still find yourself on the hamster wheel of the same actions leading to the same results resulting in continued goal failure? Gah, so frustrating!!! DreamChaser, I get it because I live it. Notice I said live it, not lived it? Because I am on the struggle bus with you on this one, especially when it comes to getting healthy. Ugh.
While listening to my current audiobook, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, I had an epiphany. It was so simple, just a different application of something I was already doing. It has been such a difference maker for me that I thought it might serve you, too. Tracking, but with a slight twist. I know, you were hoping for something a bit more glamorous, right? Stay with me, DreamChaser, this might be the piece you are missing to get unstuck in your goal-getting journey.
What do I mean by tracking? Writing down the actions and habits that you are doing as they relate to what you want to accomplish. Want to exercise more? Write down how much and what kind of activity you are doing daily. Want to eat better? Write down everything you put in your mouth. Want to save money? Write down every penny you are spending. Tracking is an awesome tool to use to measure your progress as you travel towards your goal, providing accountability to yourself as well as measurable progress from where you started to where you are now.
I love everything about tracking, which may stem from my love of lists. I love seeing the streaks of exercise minutes stack up, the water checkboxes filled, the body measurements change, hitting savings goals. I love them all! Here’s the interesting part. If I love to track, then why am I not making the progress on my health journey that I want?!? I’m hitting the weekly exercise goal. I’m eating out less. I’m avoiding the sugary coffee drinks. I’m eating proportioned meals. What is going wrong?!? How do I get off this hamster wheel?
Enter the epiphany! During one of the chapters, Hardy briefly mentions using tracking to bring awareness to his current habits and actions. Wait, what? Use tracking BEFORE you even start changing your behavior towards your goals?!? In all my goal setting and tracking it had never, ever occurred to me to use this tool BEFORE, during the preparation part of changing a behavior! Could this be the difference maker I had been looking for?
Tracking your current actions works by bringing awareness to what you are actually doing, not what you think you are doing. Let’s be real, our recall is typically poor and inaccurate. For this to work, you need to write down in REAL time what you are actually doing. Here’s a key, though, for this to work. You need to be honest about what you are actually doing! Remember, YOU are the only one that is going to see this. Being honest with what you are currently doing is the only way to see where your roadblocks are. Once you have awareness of the roadblocks, you can make course corrections in the action plan towards tackling your goals. For these goals you have continually failed at, this awareness of what you are actually doing, not what you think you are doing, might be the key to getting unstuck and making forward progress!
This was a huge realization for me! I thought I was eating well, not snacking too much, drinking enough water, and exercising appropriately. That’s what I recalled, at least. But, then why was my weight and energy staying the same?!? When I decided to take a few days to track what I was actually doing BEFORE trying to restart my healthy living plan AGAIN, I found the missteps I was unknowingly making. Turns out, it was the little snack here and there that was causing the issues, not meal times. With this new awareness, I catch myself before I mindlessly eat every time I get a snack out for my three-never-seem-to-be-full children! Instead, I stop and assess if I am actually hungry before I just grab a handful of pretzels, allowing me to intentionally choose if and what to eat. Whoa!
That, DreamChasers, is all I needed to do to get unstuck to achieve new results. It’s not fancy or glamorous. There were no bells or whistles. Like many things, it’s a simple tool that leads to the big realizations. Then, why DON’T we do this? This is also simple but might be hard to swallow. We often know what we are doing wrong but do not want to admit or acknowledge it. That choice is where the hamster wheel of same actions leading to the same results resulting in the frustration of continued failed goals starts. YOU have the power to change at any time. Give tracking your current actions a try and see if it’s your key to getting unstuck, just as it was mine. What do you have to lose?
You can do it, DreamChaser! Shine on!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.