So you often hear New Years resolutions and people coming into the gym with a goal of losing weight, getting healthier, being more toned, feeling better.
But what is their REAL reason WHY?
Honestly, it really isn’t to look better. Or even to get healthier most of the time.
It is to be more CONFIDENT!
I mean why do you want to look better? Is it really just for the sake of looking better? Or is it because you want to FEEL better about yourself – be more CONFIDENT in how you look?
Do you really want to get healthier? Or do you want to be MORE CONFIDENT in you health – know that when you wake up you will have the energy to tackle the day and won’t constantly be falling ill?
Yup…Underlying just about every health and fitness goal is a person’s real WHY – CONFIDENCE.
And while I would say this is definitely the case for women, I think it is also true for men.
Even high level athletes train to have more confidence. Yes, they train to get stronger…But they really train because they want to be CONFIDENT that they can win.
A healthy lifestyle is all about confidence no matter what terms you actually use to describe your goal.
That is why having a measurable goal, which is broken down into SHORT-TERM goals, is so important.
A big part of confidence is seeing progress – seeing SUCCESS…no matter how small.
When we accomplish something, there is definitely a feeling of pride, a feeling of CONFIDENCE.
I know that is why I make a daily task list. I love the feeling of success and accomplishment that I get when I cross something off of my to-do list!
Even if it is something small. Honestly, I usually even start with the easiest and smallest task for the day because it is the least daunting and seems quick and painless. AND it gets the momentum going because once I’ve finished something and see the list start to get smaller, I feel even more motivated to continue.
Usually getting the momentum going is the hardest part, which is why it is so important to start with something small. Easy to accomplish tasks present a lower barrier to entry…aka they make it seem less intimidating to get started on a difficult task.
So while your long-term goal may be something that will take months or even years to accomplish (and may seem incredibly daunting at the moment), your short-term goals should be things you can accomplish daily or even weekly.
You NEED to have easy to accomplish short-term goals, especially at the beginning because those quick and easy victories will get the momentum rolling.
And when you start seeing success, no matter how small, your confidence will build. And as your confidence builds, you will perform better, feel better, and even look better.
So if you want to accomplish all those more “superficial” goals like losing weight, getting more toned, being healthier, you first have to target the real reason you want all of those things – CONFIDENCE!
P.S. By superficial I don’t mean not important…your health is VERY important and does drive people to eat better or workout, but if you build your confidence, those other goals don’t seem near as intimidating or out of reach!
When we get it into our head that we want something, we usually want it NOW!
Not in two weeks, two months or two years…NOW!
It’s like we become a child again and our head is screaming “NOW!” “NOW!” “NOW!”….”I WANT IT NOW!”
Sorry….But you CAN’T HAVE IT NOW!
Success takes time. And sometimes pushing harder, faster WON’T get you there any quicker.
Sometimes pushing harder, faster actually hinders your progress.
At the same time, you can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen.
If you want to get stronger, perform better, lose weight, tone up or rehab an injury, you’ve got to give it your all WITHOUT becoming impatient (AKA pushing too hard too fast).
Two things I’ve found that have help me become more patient about accomplishing fitness goals are setting up a timeline and setting short-term goals.
When I say “setting up timelines” I mean that I outline how long it will realistically take to accomplish my goal and then I outline how much time I will spend potentially “testing” out ways to get there.
Let’s face it, if you want to lift a ton more weight or even lose a ton of weight, it isn’t going to take a month…it may even take a year. You’ve got to figure out a realistic timeframe in which to accomplish your goal.
And realistic means looking at what obstacles are in the way that may slow things down – it means planning out your timeframe based on the fact that there may be unforeseen plateaus!
Granted you can’t account for all setbacks, but the more you plan in a little extra time to deal with them, the more likely you will be to hit your goal on time if not early (which will make you very very happy…trust me!).
And setbacks can come in all forms. Unless you’ve had to work toward your specific goal before and already have a program in place, you are probably going to have to experiment a bit even if your friend/coach gives you a program that has worked for them and people they’ve known before.
Let’s face the facts…just because a program has worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. So how long do you potentially “waste” on a program that doesn’t work before switching (especially if you have a deadline to hit!)?
My rule of thumb is…”Give it 30 days.”
You’ve got to give a program just a bit of time. I know 30 days seems like an eternity when you want something NOW, but one week, or even two weeks, doesn’t really give you enough proof as to whether or not something really works.
Give it 30 days and then assess. Did you make any progress? What seemed to help? What didn’t?
THEN make changes!
If you learned something from that 30 days, then it isn’t really wasted time now is it!?!
Because if you learn more about what works for you to accomplish your goal, then you will always have that knowledge if you need to get back there or even build further!
If you never experiment and…for example…just starve yourself to lose the weight, you didn’t really learn about what it takes to truly lose the weight and keep it off (and you definitely aren’t any healthier!).
Anyway, the point is you have to figure that a goal you’ve never set out to accomplish before is going to take some extra time because first you have to establish a program!
So if you’ve set a realistic timeframe, you must have accounted for a bit of experimentation on top of setbacks such as unforeseen cheat days or sickness.
But by setting a realistic timeframe you won’t stress out about having to be at your goal NOW because you know exactly when it SHOULD be achieved! (Not to mention having a timeframe will help keep you on track when you want to cheat because you know you have a deadline.)
But once you have that timeline, the best way to keep yourself to that goal is to set short-term goals within that timeframe.
When we want something NOW, we usually overlook all the progress we are making because all we can focus on is the end goal, which in terms makes us upset and sometimes even depressed about the fact that we aren’t there yet.
So how do you get yourself to stay positive and not overwhelmed by the fact that you aren’t there yet?
You set shorter goals that allow you to see all the progress you are making toward you goal!
Having something to accomplish each week, each month, will keep you on track and even positive about your progress to a goal that will take you maybe even a year or longer to accomplish.
These goals can range from weekly weigh ins or performance measures to simply sticking to a meal plan or workout assigned for that day.
The point is that when you accomplish them they make you feel like you are getting closer to your goal. Accomplishing these short-term goals should provide you with confidence and keep you positive and motivated.
If you are confident, positive, motivated and feel like you are moving forward, even if it is small steps, you are going to be WAY more likely to stay the course no matter how long it takes.
So if you’ve been struggling to stay positive and accomplish your big goal, take time today to figure out what is a realistic timeframe to accomplish it. Then set out some mini goals that will keep you accountable each day, each week, each month…whatever works for you!
NOTE: You will also have to outline a clear program with a progression toward you goal based on your timeframe, but that is a different post!
When most people come into the gym, they come in because they want to feel better, but also because they want to lose weight.
I usually ask them how much they want to lose and why they want to lose that amount. Most of the time the weight people want to be is the lightest there were at some point in their life.
I then ask them about the type of workout program and diet program they were following.
Many times people will tell me that they were just trying to eat well. Most of the time men will tell me that they were active and lifting and just sort of fell off which is why they gained the weight. Most of the time women will tell me that they had been running while eating well and then fell off the wagon for some reason or another.
When I hear this, I usually believe that the men will be more likely to hit their target goal than the women.
Because I believe that in our current culture women become cardio queens and calorie restriction junkies to lose weight because thin is all they care about while most men don’t just want to lose the weight to be skinny. Guys actually generally have the opposite pressure on them – they should be strong and muscular.
Whether or not having either standard is right, is a discussion for another time. The point is that both standards exist and that both genders generally go about reaching their fitness goals in different ways.
Which leads me to usually state to women, “You know that you can’t just focus on that number on the scale right? With the addition of weights into your program, you may not lose all the weight that you want, BUT you may actually look slimmer and fit into that ______ that you want to wear even better!”
I then usually turn their focus to circumference measurements and body fat measurements. AND I usually only do these once a month…at most every two weeks.
BUT I definitely try to avoid the scale obsession.
While it would be great if we could all just focus on how we FEEL and how we PERFORM, wanting to look good is the reason why most people head to the gym.
So while you can check the scale, you can’t let it be the be all and end all. You’ve got to use some other measures.
And if you are going for aesthetic changes, circumference measurements and body fat tests can be great.
If you are dong circumference measurements, you need to make sure to measure the same spot each and every time. Here is a link that tells you WHERE to take measurements so that your measurements are consistent so you can actually track progress.
For body fat testing, there are a few ways to do it. Whichever way you do it, you will want to use this scale to find out what your body fat means. Please don’t set your goal for essential. Even the bodybuilders who reach that point DON’T maintain it for very long. At the essential level is where you get into health ISSUES.
And depending on the tool you use, there is some room for error, especially with tools like these handheld “electronic” measures or the scales that supposedly measure body fat. These tools are very dependent on hydration status so can be easily effected by how hydrated you are that day and whether or not you just worked out. If you use these tools, try to keep when you measure as consistent as possible.
Calipers are great too, but make sure you measure the same spot and really read up on how to use them. It is best to actually have a trainer who is experienced use them on you or at least teach you to use them.
The best body fat test is the dunk test or the bod pod. Both are more expensive, BUT if you really have an aesthetic change as your goal, why not use the most accurate measurement? Do one when you begin and then one every 90 days! It will definitely keep you from becoming obsessed each week with the measurement! (And you could still use circumference measurements just to see where you are at.)
Anyway, try to experiment with these other two measures of “weight loss.” I mean shoot, you can even use pictures as a measuring tool. You can see changes when you compare pictures even if you become used to seeing yourself every day in the mirror. And if you see changes that you like, who cares what the scale says?
Along the way to looking the way you want, if you can throw in some performance measurements, you may just find that after a while you become less and less worried about exactly how your weight loss progress is going and more and more focused on working hard and sticking to your program.
And guess what?!? When you start focusing on performance, you may actually more easily look the way you want to look! You won’t be obsessed with each fluctuation of that scale!
So try to take the emphasis off the weight you see on the scale. I know it’s not easy, but it really causes more pain than anything else!
So before the weekend I wrote a post about you PUSHING YOURSELF – about you MOTIVATING yourself.
I wrote that you need to motivate yourself if you really want to get the most out of any workout that you do. I wrote that you don’t need fancy moves or to do things at break-neck speed to have a great workout.
But I didn’t get into HOW you motivate yourself.
Then this weekend I attend a Training for Warriors certification course, which was absolutely amazing. (I’ve honestly never enjoyed a seminar so much! Anyway, more about the course later…)
But one thing I really want to discuss now after my post last week is what Martin Rooney said about motivating yourself….He said you have to have a big enough “WHY.”
When you have a big enough reason as to WHY you should do something, you will do it.
So if you have a big enough reason WHY you should push yourself during a workout or WHY you should eat well, you are going to do it.
Which honestly makes perfect sense. Saying you want to be healthy or be in shape isn’t a clear WHY. There also is no TIMELINE in which you want to accomplish the goal so why work hard right now?
But a wedding or a competition or any other BIG EVENT is a great motivator because it does give you a reason, a WHY, you should be committed and work hard right now.
So then the question arises of, “How do you motivate yourself when there is no big event, BUT you still need to eat well and workout because you logically know it is the right thing to do and you want to live a long healthy life.”
How do you get that sense of urgency that a big event creates when realistically you are just trying to make healthy habits a way of life?
You create that big event. You don’t allow yourself to slack off and put things off. You set immediate and pressing goals that force you to get started!
They don’t have to be huge daunting goals they just have to be something that you can measure that have some sort of reward or consequence.
I know I definitely am more committed and focused when I have a “big” event. When I wanted to hit those VersaClimber mile-markers, I did everything I could to reach that goal. I stayed focused on working hard each and every workout. I made sure to do the proper recovery in between. I made sure to get enough sleep and to eat well EVEN when it meant not binging on Thanksgiving.
I had a big enough WHY. I didn’t just want to hit the mile-markers…I also wanted to be the first woman to do it at our gym, which meant that I couldn’t wait – I needed to start training and do it NOW.
I had a sense of urgency which made my reason for working out even more important – it gave me a big WHY that wouldn’t let me put off training and made me give everything I had each and every day.
So even if you don’t have a big event coming up, create one. Give yourself a real reason to do all the things you want or know you should do, but haven’t done.
Create “tests” at the end of each month to monitor your progress. Have weigh ins. Have performance evaluations. See if you can do better each and every time.
Heck maybe even add in a little competition. I know that when I’m competing against other people I definitely push harder!
Take a second and really hammer in WHY you should achieve some of the things you’ve been slacking on…like eating well or working out. You may just then get the results that you’ve always wanted!
On Saturday, another trainer from Innovative Results and I went to Santa Ana to train some of the OC Roller Derby Girls.
It was a ton of fun aside from the whole getting really really lost on the way there thing.
But it gave me and the other trainer a bit of time to talk when I wasn’t freaking out about being lost.
He would love to make the Olympics in rugby. He is a great player….the problem is he would have to make huge life changes in order to get there.
The question is…should he make those changes. Should he make a huge change and dedicated tons of hours to a dream that he isn’t guaranteed will happen?
There really was no answer I could give him. All I could say was, “Do you really want it?”
He said yes.
So I said, “If you really want something, than isn’t it worth the risk?”
The best things in life don’t come easily unfortunately. Sometimes you have to take a risk.
I mean any time you want to make a big change, any time you want to reach a goal, you will have to take a risk.
We risk “failing.” We risk falling short of whatever it is we hoped to attain.
But is trying but not attaining really worse than not trying at all?
I don’t think so.
Other than maybe some embarrassment at our failure, at least we tried!
I personally would rather take the risk and fail than never try at all.
I would rather throw myself into something whole-heartedly than always look back and wonder “what if.”
But hey…I don’t see “falling short” as true failure – it is just a learning experience.
True failure, to me, is never trying at all…
What do you think?
I hate this question.
To me this question means, “I don’t like to work hard and have given up in the past and want you to have some secret that will make me better almost instantly.”
Do you think I am reading too much into this statement.
Not one bit.
When people ask this question, it means they really aren’t ready to commit to all of the hard work, dedication and time it will take to reach their goals. They aren’t willing to sacrifice or really change anything that they are currently doing.
I never ask how long will it take me. I sometimes think, “Ok how long should this take me or what is a realistic time-table.” But never how long will it take me.
The more I think about the question, the more I hate it.
And usually I respond back to the person, “Well how hard are you willing to work and how dedicated will you stay to the program when I’m not there.”
I usually get a whole bunch of “Uhmmmm” and “I don’t know” and “How hard will it be?”
Honestly, that to me means that you won’t achieve your goals unless we change your attitude.
Accomplishing any goal is HARD WORK. It usually takes time and a clearly laid out plan. It will involve a lot of ups and downs and times when you want to just give up.
I mean do you ever really achieve your goal and go “Well I’m done. Back to not working out and eating badly.”
I most certainly hope not!
Most health and fitness goals don’t have a set end date. They are ongoing.
So please don’t ask how long it will take to get you to your goals. Set and goal and lay out a plan. Work each and every day toward that goal in some small way.
And guess what?
You’ll get there when you get there but you’ll feel good every day knowing that you are working toward something that matters. You’ll feel good knowing that you were willing to sacrifice and work hard!
The Olympics have begun! Anyone else excited!?!
What do you think about skimpy workout clothes for women? Some women feel that they are more comfortable while others believe that skimpy workout clothes are negatively impacting the image of women’s athletics…Either way, the cold London weather may keep beach volleyball players from strutting their stuff in bikinis! Will ratings take a hit!?!
- I like this quote: “Even when the going gets rough, never forget why you started!” Sometimes I think we get so focused on our failure at that moment that we forget to remember why we are even doing any of it in the first place!
- Here is an interesting article about the Olympics. It is exciting to hear that more and more women are participating!
- This isn’t really good but it is an interesting article about why it may be harder to stay focused on your goals when you are stressed!
- I HATE hearing that someone penalizes him or herself because they don’t workout or stick to their diet. Don’t penalize yourself for a slip up! Everyone is going to slip up every once in a while. Instead REWARD yourself for doing the right thing! We want positive reinforcement people!
- I disliked this article from the very first couple of sentences. While it is a great idea to keep a food journal, never eating out and never skipping meals is just too unrealistic. The diet that people will STICK TO is one that is easy to fit into their lifestyle. You CAN make a diet work even if you do have to eat out or skip a meal! I actually think that the ability to eat out and even skip a meal is what makes Primal such a great diet and so easy to stick to!
The Simply Stupid
- TAKE SOME TIME OFF! Too often I hear people complain that they are run down or not getting the results they want when they are working their butts off. Most of the time it is because they never give their body a chance to recover. Your muscles grow when they have time to rest and rebuild! Recovery is an ESSENTIAL part of any training regime. If you don’t rest enough, all or your hard work won’t pay off as much as it could!
- Really!?! Decreases cellulite? Strengthens and increases flexibility?!?! And all you have to do is stand on it and it shakes!?! WHAT!!!! Oh but if that isn’t enough you can get the Power Step and do other moves that really have nothing to do with their supposed technology! AHHHH! And the worst thing about all of this was the trainer endorsing the system!
Uhm….Red chips serve as a stop sign to help people stop eating!?! I guess this could work…I mean it is way too hard to just take out a serving size or pay attention to the fact that your stomach is full….
Are we there yet?
How anxious are we all the time to be at our destination? To have reached our goals?
How often do we actually stop and enjoy the journey? My guess is not as often as we should!
We need to remind ourselves constantly that it is ALL about the journey.
I know I’m definitely guilty of focusing on the destination. At times I can even get upset because I’m not there INSTEAD of enjoying the fact that each day I’m working toward my goals and making improvements!
This weekend I realized just how often I forget to enjoy the journey. I realized that I NEVER fully relax and enjoy a cheat day. I always feel guilty and get worried about the damage I’m doing to the progress I’ve made toward the body I want. What I really should do is: a. not cheat if I can’t enjoy it or b. just enjoy it because I’ll get back on track the next day AND I won’t really have done damage after one day!
BUT instead of enjoying OR not doing it…I stress. I don’t enjoy the journey!
I do this with working out as well. I don’t always appreciate the fact that I’m getting to workout. Instead I dread it or get upset if it isn’t a good day. INSTEAD I should just enjoy the fact that I’m getting to workout and recognize that each workout WILL help me reach my goals.
There are times when I stress out and get upset because I haven’t reached my goals. BUT I shouldn’t! I should enjoy the journey. I should take pride in the fact that each day I’m working toward my goals.
ALSO, once I reach my goals, I’ll just set new ones…So are we really ever there?