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By Jakaeden Frizzell, CPD Program Coordinator
Remote work is starting to feel like the new norm, and I am finding it difficult to continually follow through with my health goals. Luckily, I know that an ebb and flow in motivation is normal. Welcome to the second part of “Not Another Health & Wellness Resource”, where we explore strategies for you to maintain or even boost your work productivity through healthy choices.
In the first blog post of this series we discovered the concept of removing friction in order to support performance management systems. This post will discuss managing the motivation to follow through. It is important to understand that motivation will not remain constant. Like the stock market, it will rise and fall, but if it is trending in a positive direction, you will be set up to succeed. You can create an action plan by evaluating your current approach to a performance management system and then setting a SMART goal to help maintain your motivation and change your behaviour.
For example, if my performance management system is to incorporate exercise into my day but (1) I currently do not exercise regularly and (2) I know that once I’ve showered and am wearing clean clothes, I will not find the drive to follow through, I can create an action plan with those two things in mind. Using a SMART goal approach, I might do the following:
I will start by setting a general goal:
General Goal – I want to be more physically active daily
I will turn that general goal into a Specific and Measurable goal that I would like to achieve:
S – I want to be more active by going for runs and completing push-ups and sit-ups every day during the work week.
M – I want to run 5 km/day and complete 3 sets of 15 push-ups and 3 sets of 30 sit-ups on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Then I will consider how to manage my motivation by making this goal Attainable and Realistic::
A – I will make the following modified schedule:
Week 1: 1.5 km/day, 1 set of 15 push-ups, 1 set of 30 sit-ups
Week 2: 2.5 km/day, 2 sets of 10 push-ups, 2 sets of 20 sit-ups
Week 3: 4 km/day, 3 sets of 10 push-ups, 3 sets of 20 sit-ups
Week 4: I will reach my goal
*I set this attainable schedule because I identified that I currently do not exercise regularly.
R – I plan to complete my run in the morning before I shower. I plan to complete my push-ups/sit-ups right before I get ready for bed in the evening.
*I set these realistic times because I know that I am not motivated to exercise once I am showered and dressed in clean clothes.
Finally, I will set a specific timeline to achieve this goal. Remember that it does not need to start immediately: I can take time to prepare.
T – I will start this process on Monday, April 13 and achieve my goal on Friday, May 8. I will re-evaluate what is affecting my motivation on May 9 and set a new SMART goal to start again on Monday, May 11.
You can help further maintain your motivation by keeping yourself accountable. Consider posting your SMART goal somewhere in plain sight (like the bathroom mirror) and telling your family what you are trying to achieve. If you do not complete part of your SMART goal for whatever reason, please do not quit! Instead, continue following your plan or make up for what you missed later that day.
Now that we have the tools to succeed in implementing performance management systems, the next few posts in this series will outline suggested healthy choices from industry professionals that can be incorporated into your workday. These should help you remain productive and healthy in your new work environment. I encourage you to take the opportunity to plan out smart, manageable lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your work day, because good health equips you to deal with change – even unforeseen, unprecedented change – and thrive.
Jakaeden is an MSc candidate in Sport Psychology and a Registered Coach with the Coaches Association of Canada.