As we approach the holiday season, many of us will start our fitness journeys with maximum intensity only to drop off right after Thanksgiving. While no one can put one hundred percent into the lifestyle all of the time — life can and will get in the way — the good news is you don’t have to. In fact, every now and then I encourage my clients to back off on the amount of time they’re putting into their training or the overall intensity of their workouts.
For long-term success, it’s important to stay focused on your goals, even when those goals temporarily end up on the back burner. At these times, it’s ok to slow down those fitness pistons as long as you don’t make a habit of sitting on the couch and bingeing on fast food and ice cream. Just be sure to keep your eye on the prize.
I think a big problem for most people is they do not have a true vision of what they really want. This mistake can destroy our chances of meeting with success.
The truth is, each of us has within us every thing we need to become what we’re capable of becoming. Incredible change happens when we decide to take control of our lives. This is the first step in a life-long process. Next, it’s time to develop a plan. Whether it’s a daily schedule or a long-term strategy or better yet, both, everyone needs a plan. Setting out on this journey without one is like starting a business with no idea what you’re going to sell or who you’re going to sell to. How can you be successful without some sort of plan? It just isn’t possible. As long as you do your best and stay focused on your goals you will stay on track. A slip up here and there is acceptable provided you bounce right back.
As a fitness professional, I’ve learned to set goals and develop plans pretty effectively for my clients as well as myself. It’s important to know exactly what each one of our days looks like. We should know what we’re going to be eating (for the most part) and what our fitness program looks like. The primary objective each day is to fulfill those short-term goals, as they are the building blocks of long-term goals. It’s not real wise to go into each day without a decent plan.
Yes, It’s hard to face the fact that the process can take up a significant part of your life and that it will require you to dig deep within yourself to find the physical and emotional strength to overcome daily obstacles.
The reality is it probably took a pretty long time to get where you are and it will probably take just as long to get out of the hole you dug for yourself. That is by no means a reason to not start, but if you think you are going to just wing it everyday, you will struggle to get to where you say you want to go.
Being prepared for each day is one of the best ways to ensure continued success. As Colin Powell once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
Instead of looking at the attainment of a goal as a grueling process, embrace the opportunity for growth and everything it has to offer. With it will come a physical and emotional transformation you never imagined. I have seen people completely change their lives. As the body improves, so does the mind.
The physical and emotional confidence that comes with being fit, healthy and strong is incredible. Achieving this takes a commitment to the lifestyle and discipline to make the right decisions even when life throws a curve ball or two at you.
One of the first rules of success is to write down exactly what you wish to accomplish. Start with a three year plan. If, like most people, you find it hard to look that far into the future, start with just one year and then work your way back to six months, three months, one month, one week and even one day. Yes, you need a daily plan of what you need to accomplish to reach your longer-term goals. This can be what and when you’re going to eat and when and what you’re going to do for exercise.
Putting your goals where you can see them every day is a great starting point. It shows your willingness to see the big picture so you can now commit to a process of change. It also gives you a starting point for your daily planner. Now you can plan what you need to do, day by day, in order to reach your long-term goals.
Setting goals like this is all that it takes for me to help someone create a strategy to reach those goals. Your next step is to devise a plan. This plan MUST include a solid nutritional foundation as well as a commitment to a daily and weekly exercise schedule that will have you making regular physical progress by overcoming self-imposed challenges. If you’re not making progress at the gym (or wherever you choose to exercise) it’s likely you’re not making noticeable physical changes either.
At Core Dynamics we do not look at fitness as a part-time endeavor. Contrary to how many people approach a healthy and fit lifestyle, we know the importance of committing to our goals on an annual basis. Setting realistic goals with a true-to-life plan that ensures constant progress is a surefire way to succeed. If you start with unrealistic goals and a crazy unmanageable workout program, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Think in the long-term but act in the short-term. Schedule your meals and your exercise just as you would schedule a meeting at work or a doctor’s appointment.
Planning workouts, meals and sleep are the main components to a long-term health and fitness plan. If the workouts are above and beyond what you’re capable of doing and so taxing that you feel worse instead of better, I would suggest a different approach because it’s likely that this one is not going to last. .
Ready to see results? Ready to stop talking about what you want and you’re ready to start working for it? Sit-down, grab a piece of paper and write down what you want to achieve physically in the next year. Determine approximately how long it should take to realize this goal. For example, if you were looking to drop pounds, weight loss, a realistic weekly goal would be about 1-3 pounds per-week depending on your current weight. Changing your body composition can be a bit more challenging.
Next, you need to develop a plan, or program if you will. This can be as simple as scheduling exercise and meals for each day. However, in order to reach your full potential, a well-rounded diet and progressive training program is crucial.
I said it was simple…not easy. In my next installment of this series, I will help you formulate a strategy to maximize your time and energy.
The right mind-set and a solid plan will get you on your way to accomplishing your goals rather than just riding the diet and fitness roller coaster.
Strength For Life.