Three Systematic Changes to Make in 2020 - Pure Performance Training

THREE SYSTEMATIC CHANGES TO MAKE IN 2020

Many of us go into the New Year with high hopes and big dreams. 

  • “I’m going to lose weight.”
  • “I’m going to make more money.”
  • “I’m going to manage my stress.”
  • “I’m not going to miss a workout.”
  • “I’m going to write more.”

Motivation is strong the week of January first, but slowly, it dwindles to a small flicker within a few days or weeks. The energy spent trying to force ourselves to make new things happen becomes too taxing. And by the end of the month, we’re the same person that we were in December. Why is this so? Why does this cycle repeat itself every year across the country in millions of households?

There are three principal reasons for most of the failure. The majority of goal-setting people set outcome-based goals for themselves, not behavior-based goals. The ambiguity of an outcome such as “I want to lose weight” provides no action steps or clarity for the brain. Ambiguity is the path to zero progress. Secondly, most people don’t set up systems for them to succeed within. The kitchen pantry is stocked with the same treats as usual, no vegetables live in the fridge, and there’s just no time to cook dinner or exercise. The old system will produce the same old results. Lastly, most goal-setters don’t have checkpoints for themselves. Our brains avoid reflecting on progress or clearly defining the parameters of success and failure. If we don’t reflect at all, we avoid the pain of feeling like we failed. But if we don’t reflect, we can’t course-correct or determine what systems must be put in place. 

Because these three items are essential to creating change, they are the top three systematic changes to make in 2020:

  1. Create specific behavior goals, not outcome goals.
  2. Build the system. If you can’t change your habits, it’s because you don’t have a system built for new ones. 
  3. Setup time to reflect, consistently. Reflect on these 2 major questions:
    1. Will my current habits result in my desired future?
    2. Are my results showing me that my actions are the ones I desire?
Create Specific Behavior Goals

You’ve probably heard of the concept of “SMART” goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Many people might roll their eyes at this old standby, as it’s used often in work, sports, and life-coaching services with cliche, yet at its core the parameters are highly effective. The idea is to move people away from outcome-based goals and instead towards behavior-based goals.

Outcome goals are inherently weak and nearly useless due to their lack of specificity. They offer no call to action, no plan, no guidelines, no system, no evaluation, and no timeline. 

Our brains might enjoy the sound of the goal “lose 10 lbs” or “get to the gym every week” but those goals mean little by way of action. Additionally, what if the goal is not reached exactly? What if a person loses 8 lbs instead of 10? Are they a failure? Or what if they lose the weight in an unhealthy or unsustainable manner? Is the goal a success? 

Instead, more specific and detailed behavior-based goals that work towards a truly meaningful aim will give a person clarity and purpose. 

These might look more like:

  • I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily by prepping sliced fresh produce on Sunday.
  • I will go to the gym 3 times per week by making 3 scheduled sessions with my coach. 
  • I will meditate once daily using the Calm App at 6:30 am. 
  • I will get to bed by 10 pm every night by completing my work earlier in the evening and reducing TV watching by an hour.

These goals are not heralding specific outcomes, but the behaviors would undoubtedly carry someone towards improved wellness, healthy body weight, or muscle growth. Therefore, the action-based plan is more likely to produce an outcome than the outcome-based goal itself. 

The first thing you must do to prepare yourself for change in 2020 is to set clear behavior-based goals. 

Build the System

If you can’t change your habits, it’s because you don’t have a system built for new ones. 

How many times do you hear yourself or others saying “I don’t have the time for that”? The way we all speak about time is an insightful part of our language and patterns. We might not feel like we have time for the gym, but in the next breath we mention how good the most recent season of Stranger Things was. Or we might tell ourselves that we couldn’t possibly cook dinners at home due to time constraints, yet we spend over an hour a night on facebook. The truth is, we make time for what we value. There’s almost always a way to rearrange things in a day to squeeze something in–if it’s important enough to us. 

But the small voice that tells us we don’t have time is usually a protective mechanism. If we don’t have time, that means we don’t have to try. We get to stay the same. We get to conserve resources. We get to avoid possible failure. We get to stay safe.


That voice is one of the most dangerous voices we have. While its protective in many regards, its often the only thing holding us back from growth. 

That’s why questioning that voice is essential to change. We have to rearrange our schedule, change our timing, prioritize something over TV or social media, get up a little earlier, and find a way to add something important into the day. 

We do not rise to the strength of our goals, but instead we fall to the level of our systems. If our systems stay the same, we stay the same, too. Thus, its essential to change the system of the day. 

  • If your goal is to lose weight, you’re going to have to do a kitchen clean-out to get rid of trigger foods and start cooking dinner at home. 
  • If your goal is to build muscle you’re going to have to train consistently at least 3-4 times weekly. That means that something else in the day will have to go, and you’ll need to book sessions with your coach. 
  • If your goal is to heal your harmful sleep cycle, you’re going to have to block blue light, reduce screen time, and get the kids to bed earlier. 

There’s no way around it. New inputs create new outputs. This means that you have to reflect on what you’ve been doing to determine what parts of the day might be holding you back. Tune-in to what you’re really spending time on. How much scrolling on social media? How many episodes on Netflix? How much time is wasted on less meaningful tasks? Could you wake-up a little earlier? Can you grocery shop on Sundays with a meal prep list? Can you ask your partner for help on a particular task/goal? 

Create a new system, because motivation and discipline cannot out-play the old system.

Setup Time to Reflect

Reflecting on where we are at in relation to where we want to be is an essential step in both planning and evaluation. If we don’t know where we are at, we don’t know where we need to go. And if we don’t know where we need to go, we have no aim. An aimless human being is an ineffective human being. It’s critical to have time to reflect. This can be setup daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. But it must occur. 

There are two major questions to focus on:

  1. Will my current habits result in my desired future?
  2. Are my results showing me that my actions are the ones I desire?

The first question explores the simple question of whether or not what we are currently doing will turn us into the person we want to be. Does my fitness routine promote muscle growth and wellness? Do my sleep habits make me a healthier person? Is my food nourishing and does it fuel a healthy weight? The answers here will be very simple. You will find that either yes, your habits are making you become the person you want to be. Or no, they are not serving you and must change. 

The second question is particularly helpful once behavior changes are underway. We are the result of what we’ve been doing. Therefore, what we’ve been doing is either giving us the results we want, or preventing them. Our current knowledge is the result of our previous learning habits. Our current weight is the result of our previous food habits. Our current level of fitness is the result of our previous exercise habits. What are they showing you? Are you starting to see some positive improvements? Or are they not quite helping you improve? 

This check-in system is essential for course-correcting initiatives that we’ve undertaken. The key is to be honest with yourself, and also to not be afraid of making some errors. You might find that you still haven’t lost a pound even after changing some of your food habits for the previous three weeks. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure, but it does mean that you’re still consuming more calories than you’re burning. This can help you make further adjustments! The beauty is that it’s ok to make a correction to your planning. The danger lies not in acknowledging a shortcoming, but in ignoring it. 

It’s essential to reflect in the short-term as well as long-term. These two questions will cover both. 

Be Bold Enough to Truly Try

A new year doesn’t have to be a cliche goal-setting opportunity. Fresh starts really can be a great time to try new things and work towards improving many areas of life. But the key to actually creating change is to build systematic changes into your lifestyle. To achieve, earn, or be something you’ve never been before, you will undoubtedly have to do things you’ve never done before. Thankfully, if you set behavior-based goals, build systems that facilitate executing those behaviors, and reflect regularly, you can absolutely create change. In fact, you might be shocked at what you really can achieve. 

THREE SYSTEMATIC CHANGES TO MAKE IN 2020

Many of us go into the New Year with high hopes and big dreams. 

  • “I’m going to lose weight.”
  • “I’m going to make more money.”
  • “I’m going to manage my stress.”
  • “I’m not going to miss a workout.”
  • “I’m going to write more.”

Motivation is strong the week of January first, but slowly, it dwindles to a small flicker within a few days or weeks. The energy spent trying to force ourselves to make new things happen becomes too taxing. And by the end of the month, we’re the same person that we were in December. Why is this so? Why does this cycle repeat itself every year across the country in millions of households?

There are three principal reasons for most of the failure. The majority of goal-setting people set outcome-based goals for themselves, not behavior-based goals. The ambiguity of an outcome such as “I want to lose weight” provides no action steps or clarity for the brain. Ambiguity is the path to zero progress. Secondly, most people don’t set up systems for them to succeed within. The kitchen pantry is stocked with the same treats as usual, no vegetables live in the fridge, and there’s just no time to cook dinner or exercise. The old system will produce the same old results. Lastly, most goal-setters don’t have checkpoints for themselves. Our brains avoid reflecting on progress or clearly defining the parameters of success and failure. If we don’t reflect at all, we avoid the pain of feeling like we failed. But if we don’t reflect, we can’t course-correct or determine what systems must be put in place. 

Because these three items are essential to creating change, they are the top three systematic changes to make in 2020:

  1. Create specific behavior goals, not outcome goals.
  2. Build the system. If you can’t change your habits, it’s because you don’t have a system built for new ones. 
  3. Setup time to reflect, consistently. Reflect on these 2 major questions:
    1. Will my current habits result in my desired future?
    2. Are my results showing me that my actions are the ones I desire?
Create Specific Behavior Goals

You’ve probably heard of the concept of “SMART” goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Many people might roll their eyes at this old standby, as it’s used often in work, sports, and life-coaching services with cliche, yet at its core the parameters are highly effective. The idea is to move people away from outcome-based goals and instead towards behavior-based goals.

Outcome goals are inherently weak and nearly useless due to their lack of specificity. They offer no call to action, no plan, no guidelines, no system, no evaluation, and no timeline. 

Our brains might enjoy the sound of the goal “lose 10 lbs” or “get to the gym every week” but those goals mean little by way of action. Additionally, what if the goal is not reached exactly? What if a person loses 8 lbs instead of 10? Are they a failure? Or what if they lose the weight in an unhealthy or unsustainable manner? Is the goal a success? 

Instead, more specific and detailed behavior-based goals that work towards a truly meaningful aim will give a person clarity and purpose. 

These might look more like:

  • I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily by prepping sliced fresh produce on Sunday.
  • I will go to the gym 3 times per week by making 3 scheduled sessions with my coach. 
  • I will meditate once daily using the Calm App at 6:30 am. 
  • I will get to bed by 10 pm every night by completing my work earlier in the evening and reducing TV watching by an hour.

These goals are not heralding specific outcomes, but the behaviors would undoubtedly carry someone towards improved wellness, healthy body weight, or muscle growth. Therefore, the action-based plan is more likely to produce an outcome than the outcome-based goal itself. 

The first thing you must do to prepare yourself for change in 2020 is to set clear behavior-based goals. 

Build the System

If you can’t change your habits, it’s because you don’t have a system built for new ones. 

How many times do you hear yourself or others saying “I don’t have the time for that”? The way we all speak about time is an insightful part of our language and patterns. We might not feel like we have time for the gym, but in the next breath we mention how good the most recent season of Stranger Things was. Or we might tell ourselves that we couldn’t possibly cook dinners at home due to time constraints, yet we spend over an hour a night on facebook. The truth is, we make time for what we value. There’s almost always a way to rearrange things in a day to squeeze something in–if it’s important enough to us. 

But the small voice that tells us we don’t have time is usually a protective mechanism. If we don’t have time, that means we don’t have to try. We get to stay the same. We get to conserve resources. We get to avoid possible failure. We get to stay safe.


That voice is one of the most dangerous voices we have. While its protective in many regards, its often the only thing holding us back from growth. 

That’s why questioning that voice is essential to change. We have to rearrange our schedule, change our timing, prioritize something over TV or social media, get up a little earlier, and find a way to add something important into the day. 

We do not rise to the strength of our goals, but instead we fall to the level of our systems. If our systems stay the same, we stay the same, too. Thus, its essential to change the system of the day. 

  • If your goal is to lose weight, you’re going to have to do a kitchen clean-out to get rid of trigger foods and start cooking dinner at home. 
  • If your goal is to build muscle you’re going to have to train consistently at least 3-4 times weekly. That means that something else in the day will have to go, and you’ll need to book sessions with your coach. 
  • If your goal is to heal your harmful sleep cycle, you’re going to have to block blue light, reduce screen time, and get the kids to bed earlier. 

There’s no way around it. New inputs create new outputs. This means that you have to reflect on what you’ve been doing to determine what parts of the day might be holding you back. Tune-in to what you’re really spending time on. How much scrolling on social media? How many episodes on Netflix? How much time is wasted on less meaningful tasks? Could you wake-up a little earlier? Can you grocery shop on Sundays with a meal prep list? Can you ask your partner for help on a particular task/goal? 

Create a new system, because motivation and discipline cannot out-play the old system.

Setup Time to Reflect

Reflecting on where we are at in relation to where we want to be is an essential step in both planning and evaluation. If we don’t know where we are at, we don’t know where we need to go. And if we don’t know where we need to go, we have no aim. An aimless human being is an ineffective human being. It’s critical to have time to reflect. This can be setup daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. But it must occur. 

There are two major questions to focus on:

  1. Will my current habits result in my desired future?
  2. Are my results showing me that my actions are the ones I desire?

The first question explores the simple question of whether or not what we are currently doing will turn us into the person we want to be. Does my fitness routine promote muscle growth and wellness? Do my sleep habits make me a healthier person? Is my food nourishing and does it fuel a healthy weight? The answers here will be very simple. You will find that either yes, your habits are making you become the person you want to be. Or no, they are not serving you and must change. 

The second question is particularly helpful once behavior changes are underway. We are the result of what we’ve been doing. Therefore, what we’ve been doing is either giving us the results we want, or preventing them. Our current knowledge is the result of our previous learning habits. Our current weight is the result of our previous food habits. Our current level of fitness is the result of our previous exercise habits. What are they showing you? Are you starting to see some positive improvements? Or are they not quite helping you improve? 

This check-in system is essential for course-correcting initiatives that we’ve undertaken. The key is to be honest with yourself, and also to not be afraid of making some errors. You might find that you still haven’t lost a pound even after changing some of your food habits for the previous three weeks. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure, but it does mean that you’re still consuming more calories than you’re burning. This can help you make further adjustments! The beauty is that it’s ok to make a correction to your planning. The danger lies not in acknowledging a shortcoming, but in ignoring it. 

It’s essential to reflect in the short-term as well as long-term. These two questions will cover both. 

Be Bold Enough to Truly Try

A new year doesn’t have to be a cliche goal-setting opportunity. Fresh starts really can be a great time to try new things and work towards improving many areas of life. But the key to actually creating change is to build systematic changes into your lifestyle. To achieve, earn, or be something you’ve never been before, you will undoubtedly have to do things you’ve never done before. Thankfully, if you set behavior-based goals, build systems that facilitate executing those behaviors, and reflect regularly, you can absolutely create change. In fact, you might be shocked at what you really can achieve.