teleos – arriving at a goal or an inescapable conclusion

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Archive for January, 2009

Think different – do different – be different

Posted by telos on January 29, 2009

There ain't no Sanity Clause!

The Sanity Clause

We have known for several decades now that simply providing people with accurate, easy to understand information about exercise and wellness is no guarantee that they will actually act on this information. Never before, on the web and in the media have we had such a wealth of easily accessible information about paths to active, healthy living, and simultaneously never before have we had such a prevalence of inactivity and obesity/overweight in the US.

Clearly knowledge and education are not sufficient agents for behavior change and yet much of the approach in this area continues to provide the same information over and over again and continues to expect a different result.

Hold on a minute …. That reminds me of something

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Albert Einstein

Hmmm …time for a different way of thinking

I have posted some ‘thinking’ below which could perhaps be the start of a ‘different direction’. This is not an exhaustive list by any means but hopefully serves as starting point ‘options’. They are not meant to be guidelines or instructions. Some of these ‘options’ have been part of my thinking for a while and some came to me as I was thinking about and writing this article. They all have an evidence-based background. 

Different thinking vs usual thinking

  • Different: Adopt a positive attitude and approach to exercise and physical activity by emphasizing the achievement of goals. Usual: Once you have set your goal, think of all the obstacles that can get in your way and then think of ways to avoid or overcome them (HUH?). Research has shown that an “asset-based” (goal oriented) approach is consistently more effective than a “deficit-based” (obstacle overcoming) approach


  • Different: Focus on getting “more good” i.e. the positive benefits of exercise and activity (more energy, more alertness, greater self confidence). Usual: focus on getting “less bad” (reduce high blood pressure, reduce anxiety, stress etc). Was it Frank Sinatra that sang “Ac-centuate the Pos-itive… E-liminate the Negative”? That gentleman was ahead of his (wellness) time!


  • Different: Provide opportunities for clients to think about and clarify what is important to them about exercise. Usual: Expert stresses what is “good for them” about exercise. NOTE: this is not the same thing – think about it! 


  • Different: Consistently emphasize that heath related physical activity is easy to achieve and far easier than most people realize. It’s never been as easy as this to get active! Usual: typically “just do it” or “I just have to do it” or “I should do it”


  • Different: Consistently “reframe” exercise and physical activity (with lots of examples, case studies and research) so it is presented and viewed as an integral part of a normal enjoyable life. Usual: the approach and attitude to exercise is something that is external to the person and not particularly enjoyable. Something necessary that just has to be endured. What a drag!

Think about it


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Thinking S.M.A.R.T., timely

Posted by telos on January 5, 2009

Time passes

Time passes

NOTE: The SMART series of posts is best read from the first post. Start with and read from there.


Effective goal setting is conducted and expected to be completed within a specific time frame i.e. “How long will you give yourself to achieve this goal?”

While research has shown that a definable, pre-determined time frame is necessary for effective goal achievement , from an Intrinsic Coaching® perspective there are really two time frames

What is important to you RIGHT NOW (Timeframe #1) 

When will you commit to achieving that goal? (Timeframe #2)

An Intrinsic Coaching® approach to Time takes the goal setting process to a whole new level of  involvement.  Anchoring the goal commitment to a time frame allows the coach to ask something far more meaningful and far reaching than just “How’s it going?” A coaching approach to Time provides a valuable context for learning …

You didn’t make the goal in the time frame? What did you learn? What will you do differently? 

You did make the goal in the time frame? What did you learn? What will you do differently?

Applying a coaching approach to Time frames can also be an important part of Accountability (another ‘A’ that could perhaps have been included in this acronym – SMAART?) . For example by asking “How do you want to be accountable for the actions you have committed to over this period? or “How do you want to keep track of your progress?” In this way the Time aspect enables the goal setter to take ownership of the goal he/she has set. Any number of options could be appropriate for this – email, phone call, etc. Research has shown that when goal setters take ownership of the goals they set, such goals are far more likely to be achieved. The important thing here is that whatever the goal setter commits to will continue to elicit the all important ‘i’ response. This circles right back to where we started this whole series.


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Thinking S.M.A.R.T., relevantly (Really Importantly)

Posted by telos on January 4, 2009



NOTE: The SMART series of posts is best read from the first post. Start with and read from there.


Ok you probably noticed I added a couple of words here (with tongue ever so slightly in cheek) ‘Really Important’ – and here’s why. The “R” in this acronym is typically written as “Realistic” but the problem here is that this word is hardly any different from our  previous word “Attainable”. After all if something is “Attainable” it must, by definition, also be “Realistic”. Apart from these overlapping meanings “Realistic” is also, in my opinion, the “shakiest” of the SMART acronym. Here are some goal oriented meanings of “Realistic” I found when I Googled it recently. The goal must be an objective you are “willing and able to work towards” – It must be “sensible” – It must be “wisely planned”. These are all true of course though are so clearly self-evident and generic that it is hard to believe they could be of much help to the person seeking to set the goal

“Relevant” on the other hand has a different context – it has connotations with “important” – which brings us back to one of my earlier SMART posts   

So I’m going to part with tradition here and say that this ‘R’ should represent “Relevant” – something that has meaning for you, is important for you at the time of setting the goal. It has the added advantage of being able to be defined in terms of your current situation which brings us back to the ‘i’ we discussed in the first couple of posts on this topic.

So as you think about this ask yourself …

What is relevant to me about achieving this goal?  

Once you are able to answer this question honestly, you are well on your way to setting and achieving the goal you set for yourself.

So keep it relevant – and keep it really really important!


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