Image Description

Setting Goals That Stick!: Execute and Adjust

This lesson is a part of an audio course Setting Goals That Stick! by Dr. Heidi Cooke PT, DPT, ATC

If you're serious about wanting to make a lifestyle modification you need to be participating in these next 5 steps consistently to be able to implement something that's going to stick in the long term. This is the tried and true, actionable, and repeatable blueprint…the tool you can use over and over again to make any behavior change in your life.


And guess what…You did it! You did it and you did even know you did it!

SURPRISE! You’ve already completed the first 2 steps!


First, you LEARNED about yourself. You uncovered your “Why.” The deep motivation for making this change. Then you researched your own experience. You learned about your barriers and what was standing in your way.

Then you PLANNED. You developed a plan of attack. You planned HOW you were going to implement change in a way that was meaningful to you and your unique barriers. Whether that was by side-stepping and avoiding that barrier or smashing the root cause of that barrier like a whack-a-mole, you developed a killer plan!

Now it’s time to EXECUTE and ADJUST so that this can be a long term solution instead of a short term experiment that we're running with ourselves to see if it will last.

Remember in the last lesson when I said TRY IT OUT! THAT right there is your execution! THAT is your action!

I will say this quote every single day and never wear it out…“Your knowledge is only as valuable as the action you take on it.” AKA it does you no good to go through all of those self discovery exercises, learn all that valuable info and then sit on it. YOU HAVE TO TAKE ACTION!

Here is what I need you to do next: Decide on a specific period of time that you need to determine if a particular action or strategy is working for you. Is it 1 week? 14 days? You decide.

NOW, set a reminder on your phone for that time period! Do it right now!

Let’s look at an example. We can run off of our previous example of not getting enough exercise. Let’s say my solution I wanted to try was packing my gym bag and not coming home between work and the gym. I determine that I need to give this strategy a week before I check in and determine if it is working for me or not. So I set a reminder on my phone and every day for the next week I pack my gym clothes so I don’t have to come home.

On day 7 a reminder goes off on my phone and now I reflect and ADJUST my strategy as needed.

  • How has my behavior improved? Well…I made it to the gym 4 times this week instead of 1-2! Woohoo!
  • How am I feeling about the shift? Am I enjoying it? Do I feel better? I’m feeling so much better now that I am more active…but I’m still not very excited to go to the gym every day.
  • Maybe I’ll keep the same bag packing strategy…but instead of going to the gym, I am going to try a group barre class!
  • I set a reminder on my phone for another 7 days from now to check my progress and implement my ADJUSTMENT!
  • After I find a strategy that I am having success with and I am enjoying, it’s time to lengthen the check-in period! This time I will set a reminder in my phone for 1 month from now and stay the course!

This constant ebb and flow allow us to keep our sole focus in mind, and continue to redirect the car onto the smoothest path while always keeping the end destination at the forefront of our mind with constant check in’s and reminders! It’s like a little GPS telling us periodically to turn left, or continue straight for the next 30 days!